This past weekend, our family was invited to meet up in DC with some friends from California. They were attending the pride parade that afternoon, so we decided to meet them for a late lunch and then join them for as much of the parade as our little ones could handle. We did not tell the children much about the visit – just that we would have lunch with friends and watch a parade. Our oldest had already been a part of a pride parade with my husband’s work last year. But everything would be new for our youngest. It would also be my first pride parade.
What struck me about DC that day was the prevalence of invitations to love. That may sound simple, obvious, or overused. Perhaps we have become desensitized now that “Love is love,” has become a motto of sorts. But as I watched all those gathered that day, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. This is a community which has every reason to embrace defensiveness, anger, and a sense of righteous indignation. The LGBTQ community has been the victim of judgment, oppression, prejudice, violence, anger, ostracization, and emotional abuse. They have been the victims of laws that limited their ability to not only be in relationship, but even to be in committed, monogamous, legal marriages. They have been denied jobs, housing, adoptive rights, and patient rights. They have every reason to be a community that reflects the hatred they have experienced.
And yet, I felt nothing but love that day. I felt nothing but a celebration of love, care, and community. And I cannot tell you how powerful it is to have your children surrounded by strangers who exude that kind of love. My heart was warmed and I felt humbled by the community’s ability to show love in the face of hate. As a person of faith, and as a pastor, I was hoping to see the church out, making the LGBTQ community feel welcome. But after our day together, I wondered if the movement perhaps needed to be in reverse. Perhaps the Church needs to be inviting the LGBTQ community in to teach us more about the love Christ talks about. The love I felt that day was nothing short of the kind of love Jesus teaches throughout his ministry. I was grateful for the wonderful witness of the LGBTQ community. I just hope the Church can catch up and follow their example.