When Christ was asked what is the greatest commandment of all, he replied to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and to Love your Neighbour as yourself".
Christ himself declared that to Love is the most important thing to do, practice to develop, and the basis for our lives. All of the other Laws and Guidelines, Religious Practices and Rituals, all of them fall to the wayside behind the simple directive to Love the Lord your God and Love your Neighbour as yourself.
This is certainly not the message the LGBTQIA2S+ community has heard from the church over the eons. Loving your Neighbour as yourself starts with self-love and self-acceptance. In rigid Christian traditions where the only way to Heaven was to follow narrow, confining, repressive doctrine, individuals are brought up believing that they never measure up, they are constantly failing, constantly falling short of that which is desirable. The idea that we are born into sin and for the rest of our lives must strive to atone leaves very little room to consider diversity, individuality, uniqueness.
In reaching out to show acceptance and Love for the LGBTQIA2S+ community, we step onto a path of enlightenment and wonder as we allow ourselves to experience the beauty of diversity in all aspects of life.
We learn not only to see the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity but we see the wonder of diversity in all peoples.
Reaching out to the LGBTQIA2S+ community with intention makes us better followers of Christ. It enriches our own lives as it gives Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to everyone we encounter. In learning to seek and welcome diversity, we see the importance of a range of ages in our community, the humour the children bring, the wisdom of the elders. We come to value the importance of a range of economic perspectives as we realize the struggles of the poor and the rich. We appreciate the blessing of new voices in our leadership and recognize the comfort in the clarity of the voices we have heard before. We delight in the brilliance of the mentally challenged with their simple joys and understand that sometimes the wise can’t see clearly. We appreciate our range of talents and look for the gifts others have to offer.
As we pass through this particular season of Advent, may the Love of Christ pour down around you like the rain of North Vancouver, restoring, refreshing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating you, and may each of you in return pass that Love onto the neighbours around you even in this time of pandemic isolation. For with God, there is no isolation, only and forever Love.