Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Pulse: Massacre in the City Beautiful

Weeks ago, I planned a sermon series on the marginalized people in scripture. Today was the day I planned to preach on Jephthah's Daughter, one of the most notable "texts of terror." I've been dreading it. 

Then we awoke to the news that the deadliest shooting in US history occurred at The Pulse, a popular gay bar in Orlando. 

Today at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church, we rang 51 chimes for each of the deceased. We prayed for the victims, the shooter and their families. And, we listened to this dreadful text, which suddenly made sense in the wake of this terrible act. 

Jephthah's Daughter was sacrificed on the altar of her father's insecurities and fear. Fear is what cripples us. Fear is the way we limit God. 

No longer can the church be afraid to stand up for the rights of LGBTQIA people. We can no longer pretend that this community isn't the subject of great harm. We are no better than Jephthah if we continue to use our privilege to permit the destruction of the lives of others. 

This was a targeted act of hate against the LGBTQ community. This isn't an issue of religion or even a matter of lax gun control laws. This is a matter of homophobia, and it's beyond time for the church to do more, shout more, advocate more. Love more. 

We have work to do, because the Body of Christ is broken, and only love can heal it.

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