Matthew 21:1-6 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that their master needs them.” He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.” The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
Jesus’ last week with his disciples started with a protest. He knew exactly what he was doing when he asked his disciples to untie that colt in Matthew’s Gospel. More than just finding transportation for his tired feet, Jesus was staging a counter-demonstration, paving a road of disruption as a direct response to the terror being wrought by the Roman Empire on the other side of Jerusalem. This Holy Week we are reminded of the power of our own voices as people of faith in resisting and protesting the devaluation of marginalized bodies and working for a resurrected world where we truly treat one another as God’s beloved children. We are asking you to raise your voice with us by participating inGive Out Day.
A few weeks ago, the More Light Board and staff gathered in Austin with clergy and religious leaders who are part of the Texas Freedom Network. We filled the Texas capitol rotunda with the sounds of our voices lifted in prayer and song, holding signs proclaiming that our faith does not discriminate. “We are marching in the light of God,” we proclaimed.
Unfortunately, later that day, the Texas legislators ignored the voices of those who testified, prayed, and sang, forwarding a bill that would allow anyone with a state license (including lawyers, physicians, barbers, pharmacists, etc.) to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people for religious reasons (yes, it’s that horrifying). Texas isn’t the only place where such atrocious legislation is being debated; LGBTQIA+ people still lack basic legal protections in most states across the country. While some states have been making progress furthering protections for LGBTQIA+ people, other state legislators have made attacking vulnerable populations with restrictive legislation their full time job.We have been living in a season of Lent for too long, fearing for our own mortality as many religious and legal systems debate the value of our lives.
Despite the attempts to further enshrine discrimination, there are spots where signs of resurrection are breaking through, and our resistance is critical. In Tennessee, pastors and religious leaders from More Light churches were front and center joining over 100 other faith leadersdenouncing 12 bills targeting LGBTQIA+ that are so awful they’ve been called the “Slate of Hate” In my home state of North Carolina, More Light Presbyterians joined a coalition of organizations to launch the Born Perfect NC Campaign, introducing a law banning “conversion therapy,” which is still legal in North Carolina.
For the last 40 years, More Light churches and faith leaders have stood on the front lines to push back against measures seeking to restrict LGBTQIA+ people’s lives. These acts of protest serve as counter demonstrations to the vitriolic hate being peddled by legislators who seem hell-bent on rolling back whatever progress is made towards a world where LGBTQIA+ people are protected under law.
At More Light, we hold fast to the promise of resurrection. Tomorrow, on Give Out Day, we are asking you to join with us to create a glimpse of an Easter world in the midst of a long-suffering Lent. Tomorrow we will share stories of where we witness resurrection in the hope and trust that it encourages others to roll away their stones of silence, denial, inaction, or disassociation. Join us with your voice, your prayers, your actions, and your money. Be part of this resurrecting work with us.