In our creeds we begin by confessing that God is the creator of heaven and earth. As we begin to become increasingly aware of the rich diversity of God’s creation, it staggers our imagination.
In our awe, we can become so overwhelmed with terror that we become afraid of anything that we cannot understand. Or we can become filled with wonder, falling in love with creation, opening ourselves up to discover more about this diversity.
When we react out of fear, we try to define the world on our terms, limiting what we will accept based on what we are like, what we know personally, desperately trying to control our small part of creation.
When we react out of love, we take risks and dare to encounter as much of creation as we are able, based on a willingness to accept what God declared during the act of creation; that it is very good.
Ten years ago the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada adopted the Human Sexuality Statement. We declared that we would permit same-sex marriages, the ordination of queer clergy, and allow our congregations to welcome members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.
In a collaborative effort, seven of our members share their reflections about what that has meant for them and for us, through our feature Queerly Beloved. It is an account of celebration and lament, of welcoming and not being welcomed.
Sadly there is still a risk when people like Shuby Bhattarai, Finn Boehm, Danika Jorgensen-Skakum, Rev. Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum, Rev. Margaret Propp, Hannah Wingerter and Rev. Ralph Carl Wuschke publicly discuss their experiences as they have in this article. They deserve our thanks and our support, as well as Heather Howdle who shares some of her story on p. 25.
There is a great deal more that still needs to be done. Our church’s position has yet to be fully accepted among our membership and in our congregations. Some faith groups, including some of our ecumenical and interfaith partners, reject our theological stance and openly oppose it.
To reveal that you are LGBTQ2SIA+ can result in rejection and may include violent abuse, verbally and physically in our communities. Homosexuality is still considered illegal and subject to imprisonment and death in many countries.
As those who put this feature together write, “Wherever you are on this path of affirmation, we encourage you to continue the journey we began as a family of faith a decade ago exploring what it might mean for you or your congregation to name in worship, word and witness LGBTQ2SIA+ children of God as beloved.”
I find myself revisiting Planting seeds (p. 31) as it invites study of Jesus’ parable of the sower and asks us to consider the opportunities for growth for all that comes as we plant seeds of hope.
Have you noticed that the Eastern Synod has begun a series about 45 years of ordained women serving in our church (p. 29)? It also celebrates the first ordination of a deacon in our church (p. 28).
Kenn Ward, Editor