Bishop Hughes says, "It is a heartbreaker this week that the news came out from another denomination that somehow our siblings who are lesbian, gay, trans, queer – that somehow they were less worthy of the sacrament of marriage than others. I suspect that for most of them all they heard was, 'You are not good enough.'" (Time: 4:59.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. I am an Episcopalian. I imagine that comes as no surprise to anyone who is in our diocese or to any other Episcopalian that I know. I haven't been any other denomination, I’ve only ever known the Episcopal Church, but I have this incredible appreciation for the numbers of people who come into our church from other denominations or other faith traditions. Because they had to make a choice, and they made a choice based on something that drew them, and so often it is this sense that God loves all people. And I think that is what I love the most about being an Episcopalian, this theology we have that God who created all, loves all that God has created.
There are two holy books for us in the Episcopal Church, one being scripture, the other being the Book of Common Prayer. And both have at their very center this knowledge that God loves all of humankind. I am known for constantly bringing us back to Genesis. Back to God bringing creation into being. And as god brought lands, waters, rivers, oceans, sky, stars, moon, plants, animals, fish – all things into being – as God created each one God said this is good. Except when it came to humankind. When God brought humankind into the world God said, "This is very good."
And in my holy imagination I have always thought that every single time a person is brought into the world, at the birth of every person on the planet, that God takes the time to say, "This is very good." Meaning that I’m very good, all of my family is very good, my sister, my brothers, my cousins, my parents and that you and all of your family are very good. That all people on the planet are created by God. And as part of God's creation they are very good. We hold that at the center.
It is also at the center of our prayer book and the place where I see that the most is in the Baptismal Covenant. That set of promises that we make that talks about the way that we believe in God but also talks very particularly about how we will love and respect those who are created by God. That we will seek to know love and serve Christ in every single person. That we'll hold up the dignity of every person and seek for justice in every person. Because we know how much God loves those people, we cannot help but love the same people that God loves, just as much. No one gets left out. Everybody is in. And all really does mean all.
It is a heartbreaker this week that the news came out from another denomination that somehow our siblings who are lesbian, gay, trans, queer – that somehow they were less worthy of the sacrament of marriage than others. I suspect that for most of them all they heard was, "You are not good enough."
I can't speak for any other denomination. I can speak for mine. I want you to know that in this church it's not just that you are welcome. In this church it's not just that you are good enough. In this church is that God looked at you the day you were born – God looked at your gay self, your trans self, your lesbian self – God looked at your queer self, God looked at you exactly as you are, and God said, "This is good." And at this church we recognize your goodness and we are delighted that we are all part of the same denomination: looking for God, celebrating God, sharing God's love.
Another part of our baptismal promises is that when we have good news that we will go and share it. I invite you to share this good news. Let somebody know that needs to know that they are beloved by God. Do it today. You are good.