|Giving thanks for His mercy endureth|
(1 Chr 16:34 NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
President Obama kick started the Thansgiving season in America by pardoning a turkey. Her fellow turkeys are not so lucky. According to the US Dept of Agriculture, 248 million turkeys will be slaughtered. The Thanksgiving is happening in a season of great challenges in America where the unemployment rate remains high above 10%, yet the gap with the rich gets bigger. The Wall Street has hardly fallen and 80% above its lows in 2009 (DJI @ 11231 versus 6626). Hence the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) calls for greater equality.
Thanks giving is a great challenge for many. How do one give thanks to God when there is continuing grave social injustice perpetrated by people of faith. In Singapore, 377A with its jail terms on gays remains in the statute due to pressure from the mega churches with its mega influence. In Malaysia, religious zealots are stirring their moral indignation to persecute gays.
Yet thanksgiving is more significant and profound when we are able to make a decision to give thanks in the midst of adversity. In the US, the current thanksgiving tradition started in 1863 in the midst of the deep ravages of the American Civil War. It brought them back to the roots of the "First Thansgiving" in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation where the New England Pilgrims gave thanks to God for bringing them safely to the "New World".
The Thanksgiving dinner begins by giving grace.
The GLBT Christians have framed it as an issue of social justice, a new reflective Queer theology, and a call for social involvement. The reconciliation of our Christian Faith and the 6 clobber verses is a current preoccupation leading to the push for inclusive churches such as MCC in 1968 which became a denomination by itself for the GLBT community. We are reminded to give thanks for God's grace to the GLBT community.
Our focus has been outward in the area of our mind and reasoning rather than inward into our Spirit and Soul. And for many Gay Christians in Asia/Africa where the laws are still anti-gay, the sense of rejection and lost becomes profound for which an intellectual reconcilation alone between our sexuality and Christianity may not be sufficent.
We also suffer from 4 levels of loss:-
Our lives are lost and with so much taken away from us, we can be possessive, defensive, critical, hostile, vocal, and self centered - not willing to loose anymore. We are loud and provocative - because we are hiding a hurt and disillusionment within.
The label of inclusive alone is not enough to call Home. Preaching based on a intellectual theology is not sufficient by itself neither is repeating the sermons of the biggest and best mega churches, insightful and deeply spiritual it may be.
We have been focussing outward, when we should be spending time inward. The loud debates of the liberal versus conservative divide or social justice versus evangelism are good but hides our running away from our inward focus.
When no one is around, when we are alone with God in that flickering candle of light, are we able to stay still and steady to listen and dwell on the small quiet voice of God amidst the raging storms of despair, lost and rejection in our lives. Are we able to forgive and give grace to those who have caused harm in their religious hatred and bigotry against gays knowing that God's mercy and grace is so generous in our own lives.
Can we connect back to God whence we once were as an innocent child at Jesus' feet, just enjoying and dwelling in the sweet presence of God. No demanding words are spoken, no prayer requests made to ask God to fulfill a long shopping list, but a return and a connection and embrace with the living God of heaven and earth. Do we see Jesus holding and embracing us, taking our hands to continue on this journey of life when the lost and rejection is far beyond our mind, spirit, soul and Christian faith to bear?
In that still flickering light of our burning candle amidst the cold and darkness of life outside, are we able to smile and give thanks to God.
Home becomes a place where we can meet God, a place of God's incredible love, grace and mercy, where we can forgive others, learnt to accept our loss putting our lives in the hands of Jesus, and beginning to utter that sacred and precious word of thanks to God for creating us as Gay person.
In giving thanks to God, we reconnect ourselves with Jesus, and in that sweet time of tears and humility, giving God thanks for the grave season of trials and tribulations that has filled our lives and probably will not leave us. We are innocent yet persecuted. It is no longer about the mega church pastors repeating their religious self righteous indignation about gays, but whether we could ourselves do the opposite and give thanks and grace to God for being gay when everything is taken away from us.
When loss overwhelms us, when everything taken unjustly, when we are empty and naked at the Cross persecuted by the "bible believing" religious zealots, nothing really matters anymore. Just as Jesus asked God not to take account of the grave sins of the Jew to crucify God Himself, as we quietened ourselves from the voices of our accusers, there is only left our naked selves and Jesus. In that Holy and sacred place, let us give thanks to God for God is and wants to be good to us.
In that place of giving thanks to God for being gay, we too will start to receive all the fullness of God's goodness and mercy to us and appreciate life and for being alive. Then go out with rejoicing, and the let the joy of the Lord be your strength in thanksgiving for God is good and His mercy to us is forever more. Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, for He is so Good
(Psa 118:1 NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.