This was my message walking with Christians at Pride on the Pride parade last weekend – surrounded by others holding up sign with similar messages:
God Adores You
Christian, Gay and Proud
You Are Amazing, You Are Loved
Love Never Fails, Love Wins
Proud Christian Parents
God Loves Everyone
God is Love
If this is not the Good News being preached, then what is?
God was celebrating on Saturday. God was joyful. The Spirit was moving in and through all of us, powerful, unrestrained, unconditional. Changing lives there and then, and nobody could stop it. There was room for the Spirit to move, and hunger for change, hunger for God.
It is the people in the churches at the moment who stand up to be counted, more and more of us. Change is happening, despite – and even because of – church politics and agendas. Leadership has moved away from where one generally would expect it to come from. God’s love will have the last word, through all of us. Every single voice counts. Every single voice can make the difference between love and fear in someone else’s life, between depression and fullness of living, between suffering and wholeness.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendour.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”