I am not fond of admitting it, but occasionally.. I make I mistake!?! (Okay.. so we all know I make as many mistakes as anyone...). In this case, though it turns out that while technically, it was only a grammatical mistake, the consequences could be said to be significant.
You see the problem was that when I first accepted the call to Bread Of Life, I thought that the phrase describing our designation as a congregation open to, advocating for and intentionally welcoming of people of LGBTQIA2S+ community (or more fully all people of diversity in identity, orientation & “status”) was.. “ReconcilED in Christ”. My thought/hope being (I think) that in that word “reconcilED” there was a celebration of what you had accomplished and that our doors were finally OPENED in such important ways. And while that is worthy of celebration – that Bread Of Life was ready to speak (out loud) their intention to be people of grace and compassion.. it is not actually true to suggest that our work and our growing will ever be truly finished... certainly not as long as there are any people in the world who are still afraid of the treatment they will receive from people who call themselves Christians.. certainly not as long as people are still being judged and dehumanized for any reason.. certainly not as long as there are still such systemic and subtle prejudices infecting our church and our world.
No.. rather quickly.. what I came to realize is that the phrase is instead.. that Bread Of Life is a “ReconcilING in Christ” church!!!! And though that is only a difference of a few letters/a grammatical tense.. the difference is critical. For indeed, as a ReconcilING congregation.. the tense of the word assumes IN- completeness.. assumes that while steps may have been taken, the journey is nowhere near over. And of course, that is considerably more true.
This week, as we come together to celebrate 10 years of being a “ReconcilING In Christ” congregation, we do give thanks that we have come this far. We do give thanks for the growth we have shared together – all the ways expanding our community has lead us into new life. We do give thanks for the unique family/community we have begun to nurture as a congregation (and as ELCIC Lutherans in Regina/SK/Canada).
In the same moment though, this is a perfect time to remind ourselves of how much work and growing there is still ahead of us. And in remembering that, may this also become a time for us to recommit ourselves to that. May we continue to be ready to face our past brokenness and the ways we have deeply hurt people – confessing and repenting as we need to. May we continue to find ways to learn new things about the wonderous diversity people we are blessed to share this life with. May we continue to challenge ourselves to meet one another with compassion and understanding as we strive to bring in “God’s Kin-dom come.” And may we forever remain committed to our work of being “ReconcilING” people following Christ in humility and love.
Be well.. be safe.. BE HOPE!!!
- Pastor Stewart – June 2/22