“All One In Christ” (Part 1) – “Holding on to Hope” by Luke Dowding
Hope for me is often something that is neglected – I can often choose not to hope because it can seem futile in the face of all that must be done.
Hope feels abstract, unsubstantiated, naïve.
I believe this is the case for many LGBTQ+ siblings, because when we have hoped, we have often been let down or betrayed. Our hope has been used against us, to encourage us to belong to communities which have then not been as we wanted them to be, or as we had been led to believe. This is particularly relevant in Christian communities where many people believe they are inclusive and affirming, yet don’t sacrifice their privilege and power to truly include “the other”.
And yet, here many of us are – remaining, however close to losing our grip on the edge we might be. Our churches are becoming abundant in their queerness, in the revelation of the multitude of queer identities who are slowly and steadily finding safety to come out, to be who God created them to be.
I have been challenged by this passage recently, and particularly its use by the Revd. Dawn Cole-Savidge in her bid for the role of President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain in May 2020. Dawn uses this text in her deliberate and imaginative inclusion of all people in her ministry, and I am inspired by that and by the hopeful message the passage shares.
Our churches, institutions, and organisations may attempt to prevent us from fully belonging, whether that is through ordination as in my case, marriage in many of the circumstances of my Anglican siblings, or the recent and devastating blow delivered in the US United Methodist Church.
Yet, we should have hope.
Hope, not in that which is created by those themselves who are created beings, but in the promise of a future glory in which all are gathered before the Divine and embraced in love.
And such a hope begins now – with every one of us, as by our presence we are building the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
God of hope; encourage us to seek you and to put our faith in the promise of a gathering of all the diversity of creation, not just those who retain power and privilege today.
Build us up in love, bind us together in truth, deliver us into hope.