In God I take refuge. Psalm 11:1
A Word of Hope
Today is the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a day we celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally of the LGBTQ community. In honor of that day, I’m writing a love letter to LGBTQ people and allies who have not come out. And I’m writing to the parts of everyone else that have yet to come out. That may be a feeling, a problem, a concern or perhaps a development that you are not making known in part or in whole. This is a love letter to all of you and to those yet-to-come-out parts of you.
In Psalm 11, David responds to voices that are telling him to hide, to run away to the mountains. It is not clear what these voices are. They may be inside him or from other people, they may be real or imagined, they may be individuals or institutions. At any rate, these voices told David that he should be afraid. There was imminent danger and it was about to explode all over the place. It’s going to get real messy, they warned, and people including David were going to get hurt. Run away!
The Message translation of this Psalm has David tell the voices: I’m going to be ok. I’m counting on a God that loves me, that knows what’s really going on and on a God who will put things right. I’ve already run for dear life straight to the arms of that God. So, I’m going to be ok, David says.
Today I invite you to consider voices that tell you to be afraid, to hide some or all of you, to distrust people’s reactions to every part of you. These may be voices – real or imagined – coming from others or welling up inside of you. They may even be the institutional voice of the church. I invite you to know again or perhaps for the first time that God loves you. God loves every part of you, even the troubling, ugly, inconvenient and fearsome parts of you. Run for dear life to the arms of God. God promises to put things right.
We think the phrase “coming out” means coming out of a closet of fear. But the phrase was originally borrowed from the practice of young ladies “coming out” to society. These debutantes would attend balls and parties, announcing their ‘eligibility.” Before the 1960’s, when gay men would start attending drag balls or told other gay men that they were gay, they were said to have “come out.” They were not coming from fear, they were coming to a party, to joy, to a community of support and love. There’s a party waiting for you (or the remaining parts of you) on the other side of coming out. There’s a community to join, a community that can be God’s love to you. You can count on God’s loving arms to put things right.
Spirit, lead us to people who love us for who we really are, all of us. Give us courage to give everyone we love the chance to be those kinds of people. We’re counting on You to make it right. Amen