Dear Friends in Christ—
What counts as a holiday? What counts as holy?
Historically, religions have been the arbiters of the calendar. Holidays—literally, holy days—are
times set apart because they tell us something about God. We pause on Christmas, or on
Easter, or on any number of saints’ days, because those days tells us something important
about what it means to be human in this world.
But most cultures also have secular holidays—feasts that have to do with commercialism, pop
culture, or simple habit. I tend to resist these. Like most clergy I know, I get grumpy about
Black Friday (If any Friday is black, it’s the one that falls before Easter, not in November). I want
our religious commitments to define the way we engage with the present moment, not the
other way around.
Like most of my convictions, this one has notable exceptions. Last week, I got a message from a
parishioner, asking me what we are going to do about Pride Month. And I realize that to me it
counts as a holiday, because in my mind it is a holy time.
Unlike so many of the other yard-sign causes that tug at us, Pride is not about a particular
agenda or outcome. It is simply about affirming the worth of every human being as God made
them. This is a moment when the church can lend its particular voice to the larger voice of
culture and say that not only is being queer good, it is also—as part of God’s creation—holy.
Our national church has many resources to celebrate LGBTQIA+ people in the church. A decade
ago, what received a lot of attention were marriage rites. What’s new since 2018 is a rite for
renaming, useful for anyone whose life circumstance has caused the adoption of a new name.
It includes this prayer:
Blessed are you, God of growth and discovery; yours is the inspiration that has
altered and changed our lives; yours is the power that has brought us to new
dangers and opportunities. Set us, your new creation, to walk through this new
world, watching and learning, loving and trusting, until your kingdom comes.
We’ll be using this prayer during the month of June at the close of the Prayers of the People. I
hope it will serve as a reminder of the journey of discovery that all of us are on, a journey for
which queer and especially trans people have given us an especially brave example.
Yours in Christ,