By Father Casey

I’ve enjoyed a wonderful few days of déjà vu. This week, General Conference of the United Methodist Church overwhelmingly decided to remove old restrictions on LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage. It is a remarkable new day for our sister church, one long-hoped-for by many. Reading the news, hearing from Methodist friends around the country, and seeing images of exaltation among our Methodist siblings, has brought me right back to our own joy in 2016, when the Episcopal Church took similar actions toward full inclusion. It is always a great day when Christians widen our embrace, and choose to honor the God-given goodness and equality of all.

I know that more than a few never thought this day would come. The division in the United Methodist Church was thought to be too great, and the opposition to LGBT inclusion too strident. More than a few were unwilling to wait any longer for change and chose to leave their parishes. I thank God that some of them were led to us at Transfiguration, for we have been blessed immeasurably by their gifts and faith. But I also grieve all those who left the church entirely, for whom the hurt of being excluded and rejected was so deep that they could no longer trust the Church at all. The spiritual harm done by Christians against vulnerable, marginalized people must surely make our Lord weep, for as we will hear again in the gospel for this weekend, it is our duty to love one another as he loves.

One of my favorite posts about the decision was made by the Queer Methodist Clergy Caucus, who posted the message, “They tried to bury us. They did not know we were seeds.” Dozens of names in rainbow-colored letters form the outline of a beautiful flower. It is a poignant symbol of how, in spite of decades of hostility, seeds of hope, love, and devotion have finally blossomed.

So I hope you’ll pray in thanksgiving with our Christian siblings, and take heart for all the work that still remains in making the Church, as well as the world, more loving and accepting. For as wonderful as this is, and as hard as countless people fought for this victory, we cannot rest. Until all are treated with equal dignity and respect, until all enjoy the fullness of liberty and justice, until all know their absolute belovedness by Jesus Christ, there is still work for his followers to do.

Fr. Casey+

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