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Yep, that’s right, PRIDE is a Christian Holiday!
What authority do I have to make that pronouncement? About the same authority the early Christian church did when they proclaimed Jesus was born on December 25th, which also happened to be the rival Sun-God’s birthday. I also claim the same authority the early Protestant church did when they regularly celebrated Reformation Sunday at the end of October. The question isn’t really if I can decide PRIDE is a Christian holiday. The question is: Why don’t all Christian churches celebrate people as their authentic selves? Why do some Christian churches still force some members, whom God knows and loves perfectly, to hide their authentic and beloved selves?
In progressive churches, people can be their authentic selves. And at Grace Community Boston, PRIDE Sunday is a big celebration every year. This is why we celebrate PRIDE!
#1 WELCOME! Jesus offered radical hospitality to everyone. For Jesus, there were no insiders and outsiders, included and excluded, pure and impure. There were only people, and he loved them all, including: tax collectors, lepers, sex workers, and Samaritans. At Grace we want to extend a LOUD & CLEAR welcome to folks in the LGBTQ+ community as they are. Pride Sunday is one way of communicating Jesus’ radical hospitality to everyone, especially those who have often been excluded.
#2 LGBTQ+ are God’s BELOVED! The vast majority of Christian churches in America condemn people in the LGBTQ+ community. @GCBoston we make a bold stand as progressive Christians on PRIDE Sunday that LGBTQ+ individuals are beautifully and wonderfully made. We are all God's beloved and we are each an integral part of God’s beloved community. Every year on PRIDE we serve rainbow communion (usually cookies decorated in all the colors) to express clearly that there is room for everyone at the table: gay and straight, non-binary and cis-genered, tall and short, rich and poor, documented and undocumented. This is the splendid, various, diverse body of Christ that Paul described in Romans 12 and Corinthians 12.
#3 PRIDE is about MORE than LGBTQ+ issues. PRIDE is about extending God's radical love to all people. Just as the 1960s civil rights movement was about more than racial integration, PRIDE is about accepting everyone for who they are instead of placing everyone in the same narrow social box. You are who you are, and that is who God made you to be. PRIDE reminds us that God doesn’t want us to be anyone else, so we don’t have to fit into any preconceived identity. @GCBoston, PRIDE expands our hearts to celebrate all the variations of God’s creation in our community. And that is healing to all of us.
#4 We are queer. Grace Community Boston isn’t a bunch of straights trying to be hospitable to a bunch of queers. We’re already diverse, a mixture of sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities and colors and complexions. We’re a diverse community that loves the diversity of God’s creation.
At Grace, we follow Jesus and we are confident Jesus would be decked out in rainbow colors if he lived amongst us now, embracing all those who have been shunned simply for being who they are. God made us who we are. Jesus loves who we are. And Grace welcomes who you are.
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.