Our world is in a seemingly never ending season of violence.
Death, fear, and loss are constant invaders of our sense of security. There is hate for so many groups, minorities, and religions. This hate continues to heat and boil, until it overflows into acts of violence. The Orlando shooting is no different. 50 lives were lost, with another 50+ injured. Whenever I think about it, I struggle to breathe, as I process the devastating loss of brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, and friends. And with this absolute devastation, as terror fights to reign and control and intimidate, we have a call as the Church to respond. To be a voice calling out amongst the mourners. TO BE THE MOURNERS.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15
Church, we cannot be silent. The outcry over this tragedy has been of a quieter nature in comparison to the attacks on Brussels & France. In talking to others, I am not the only one who has perceived a difference in the way Christians have responded to other tragedies, and the way they have responded to this one. Why is there silence? I believe this silence exists because we are uncomfortable or unsure of how to lovingly enagage with a group we spend so much time disagreeing with. This silence only serves to widen the chasm that separates the LGBTQ community and the Church. This chasm should not exist in the first place.
As I struggle to even comprehend this discomfort or hesitation, I want to shout from the edges of the roof top that all human life is of equal value. To your discomfort & silence, I say we are called to love above all else. To love without conditions or merit or qualifications or judgement - to love when we disagree or when it is hard. Loving like Jesus, means loving without limits.To be uncomfortable is to not understand love itself.
There is no condemnation in love. How do we grasp this kind of love? Because we have been changed through the life-giving love experienced at Calvary, that while WE were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) We know love because it's the very breath that filled our lungs as we were made alive in Christ - once dead in our trespasses only to be resurrected to a new life. Dead people made alive. Yes, we should know love, because it is the very thing that raised us from the dead.
We have a responsibility to stand for truth, but that must be tempered with love. Condemnation pushes no one towards grace - but love does. To understand truth, one must first understand the love of God. Be bringers of that love.
50 lives were cut short and the loudest voice of comfort should be the Church. The most brokenhearted should be the Church. The quickest hand to extend out and exclaim with urgency "how can we help", should be the Church. Love is our narrative, and now is the time to prove the validity of that narrative.
Church, we cannot be silent. To the LGBTQ community - you are loved and you are not alone in your sorrow.