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Welcome to Sunshine Cathedral. This is a house of prayer for all people. All are welcome here. Whoever you are and where ever you are on your spiritual journey you bring special gifts to share. And we pray that you will find spiritual nourishment for your journey here.
Call to Worship for National Coming Out Day
We are grateful for the gift of our lives and the gift of other people in our lives.
ALL: Each of us is created with dignity and worth.
We are called to love one another and to do nothing to others that we would find hateful to ourselves.
ALL: We honor the many ways that people live and love.
Our common life is enriched when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens can live and learn without fear in their schools, homes, and communities.
ALL: True justice flourishes when all people can live with authenticity and integrity.
We repent of our silence in the face of cruelty in our schools, our workplaces, and communities. Our silence leads to death.
ALL: We weep at this senseless loss of life.
We suffer when persons are oppressed, excluded, and shamed by religious people who overlook the fundamental call to justice in our scriptures.
ALL: Love does not exclude. We are all worthy.
May we work to build a world where all people, no matter their perceived differences, are celebrated and loved.
ALL: We celebrate sexual and gender diversity as a blessing that enriches us all.
Gracious God, you love all that you have created, and you celebrate the diversity of your creation. Throughout your history with your people, you have reminded us that those whom the world sees as the least are the greatest in your eyes. We ask that you give us the grace to celebrate with our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers as we choose to live authentically in the world this National Coming Out Day. Teach us to honor and celebrate our gifts, and help us to create a world in which all people are loved, accepted and celebrated. We ask this in your many names. Amen.
(based on resources from http://www.religiousinstitute.org/worship-resources-for-national-coming-out-day)
From the Wisdom of Harvey Fierstein
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
From the Wisdom of Fran Lebowitz
“If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would pretty much be left with ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’”
Amos 5.7, 10, 12b, 14
There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground. There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Almighty will be with you, just as you say God is.
Click on the audio bar below to hear the audio.
“I’m Coming Out”
Today we celebrate National Coming Out Day in the United States. The commemoration was founded in 1988 on October 11. That was the one-yearanniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. On this day, twenty-seven years later, LGBT people enjoy the right to marry who they choose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the US, and in many other countries around the world.
Things are very different today than they were when I graduated from high school over 40 years ago. And although it may seem like these rights have come at a glacial pace, the enormous social, political, and cultural changes necessary have come in an historical flash. This kind of change usually comes over centuries, not decades. The relatively short time that has been required to cause this tectonic shift got me thinking about other ways we as people of faith to “come out” to the world.
So today I’m coming out. Today I’m here to tell you that even though I’ve not always acted in loving and generous ways, although I have sometimes hidden the love in my heart with harsh rhetoric, and in spite of the fact that “nice guys often finish last”… today I’m officially coming out as a person who desires to live her life in peace, in harmony, and in love.
Now to some of you this may sound silly. Perhaps you’re saying to your self, “well of course you want to live in peace, harmony, and love…. Doesn’t everyone?” The simple answer is no. There are many people in our personal, professional, and political lives that want nothing but money and power over others. But for those of us don’t necessarily feel like we need to dominate others, we still have along way to go to get to living a life that promotes peace, harmony, and love. THAT requires real work and real sacrifice.
Coming out as an LGBT person can still be risky. We’re not always protected in our work, in laws that regulate loans, housing, and we certainly continue to suffer in most churches, synagogues and mosques. Coming out as people of faith who value justice over privilege and love over power is risky as well. Maybe we have to go against the grain of cultural norms that expect us to always want bigger and better “things.” Maybe we have to set boundaries at work, get enough rest, and change our eating and exercise habits. Peace, harmony, and love require a lot of us.
Coming out to the world and living our truth may have some of our friends and family raising eyebrows and calling us names. We might be called naïve. Some people may take advantage of our honesty. There’s no doubt some folks will talk behind our back and say we’re not normal. Fighting against mass incarceration, welcoming the strangers who come to our countries, valuing relationships over things, spending more time with family and less time at work may not make us the most popular person in our jobs or in the eyes of the world. Coming out always means we have a price to pay.
But just like coming out to others about our gender identity and/ or sexual preference, coming out also brings us a sense of empowerment, a sense of self, and the support of people we often could not anticipate. And just like equal marriage seemed utterly impossible to attain in 1974, a world at peace, loving neighbor as ourselves, caring for the stranger, and taking care of the environment seems like something not attainable in our lifetime. But let’s look at what is possible.
Harvey Milk said in 1978, “Gay brothers and sisters, you must come out. Come out to your parents. I know that it is hard and will hurt them, but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives. Come out to your friends, if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors, to your fellow workers, to the people who work where you eat and shop. Come out only to the people you know, and who know you, not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths. Destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake.”
Today I say the same thing to you as people of faith. Come out for justice, peace, harmony, and love. Come out to your parents, your cousins, your brothers and sisters. When you hear friends and family bashing the poor and the immigrant, come out to them as a person who follows the teachings of the Rabbi from Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth, the one who brought to life justice and love in how he treated people and in the choices he made
Come out when you hear hate being spewed. Come out when others speak of war and violence as a tool for change. Come out in support of doing whatever we have to do to repair the environment and care for the earth. Come out against long prison sentences for small offenses. Come out for erring on the side of love. Let it be known, just to the people you know, that you care deeply for all of creation.
Who knows… if enough of us come out, maybe we can see the tables turn in our own societies toward justice, toward living in peace and harmony. Maybe, just maybe, we can change the world one person at a time, one day at a time, in the relationships we have with others. We don’t have to come out to everyone in the world. We don’t have to become an acclaimed leader. All we need to do is come out to the people we know and let them know we need their help.
May it be so that all of us live in justice, peace, harmony, and love. For this we pray this day and always. Amen.
Music suggested for today's service.