Friday, January 29, 2016

A Prayer for Metropolitan Community Churches in a Time of Great Need

My prayer for the movement (Metropolitan Community Churches) to which I have given half my life so far. It represents my heart only. The movement has barely more than half the churches it had a decade ago, and morale within the movement seems to me to be at an all time low. This is a pivotal moment for the movement; all heart-felt prayers are needed at this time:

Goddess of Justice, Lord of Love, Healing Presence, Guiding Light:

In this blessed moment we pause to give thanks for MCC Founder Troy Perry's vision, his courage, his willingness to affirm the sacred value of all people. Through him, you opened doors that had been closed for far too long; through the movement he launched, many of us found a home, a family, a purpose, and a reason to celebrate who you called and created us to be.

MCC told LBGT people that they mattered. MCC was the embodiment of healing love during the worst of the AIDS crisis. MCC let people in the pews realize that "God" is not a boy's name. MCC changed the world.

But somewhere along the way, we collectively stopped believing that we were uniquely called to do a new thing. Somewhere along the way, we decided we wanted to "fit in." We were tired of fighting, especially after surviving and even winning so many battles. We longed for validation from the "mainstream." And increasingly, we got it. Our righteous indignation which fueled holy Queer activism softened, and as our passion waned, our effectiveness began to wane as well.

In a time when religion is being questioned and old attitudes are being challenged, we had a chance to be something different, fresh, beautifully radical. But instead, we turned our fears, frustrations, and uncertainties into internal battles. We fought for internal recognition. We fought for privilege within our diminishing ranks. We fought to protect the status quo. We fought for the thrill of fighting rather than to achieve any noble purpose, and when the thrill was gone, we continued to fight out of sheer habit. And now, the once compelling vision is buried and we see no angel to roll away the stone to let the vision rise to new life again.

The question so many ask today is, "What shall we do?" And that question seems to have many answers. Some will stay in a declining movement. Some will become radically ecumenical and join multiple organizations, not giving 100% of their devotion and support to any. Some will simply slip away. Some will end their relationship with MCC and start new relationships. We see these options being embraced already.

We have worshiped the deity of the past, the golden calf, Apis the bull-god of yesterday, and now our dreams and hopes are scattered; our tomorrows will be beautiful, but also dispersed. What we have known and devoted so much of our lives to is fading before us, and it is impossible to go back, and we seem to lack the courage and vision to be new again as a movement, so we must be new as individuals and as separate parish communities.

Where we failed, forgive us.
Where we allowed fear to win, forgive us.
Where we allowed personalities to trump possibilities, forgive us.
And whatever the future holds, help us to make the most of it and to thrive in the new day.

Bless Troy, your anointed prophet who changed, and in many cases, saved our lives. Bless those who will continue moving forward. We may never again be the MCC slaying the Giants of homophobia, parting the waters of terror in the age of AIDS, turning the water of discrimination into the wine of marriage equality, and showing the world that worship can be prophetic, energetic, empowering, and ridiculously fun, but let us also never forget that we were that MCC, and whatever we do or become next, that history is part of us and will be part of all future successes.

The days ahead cannot be known to us today, but what we can know is that individually, we still have work to do, and in our communities of faith, we still hold a sacred vision, and we know that as we remain faithful to our highest and best understandings, to our deepest and strongest hopes, to our truest longings to be your love in action and your healing hands touching people in this world, you will continue to work through us and lives will still be changed and blessed, and the world will be better because of our faithfulness.

In your good time, heal our grief, but let us not wait so patiently to do good in the world. We'll embrace healing as and when it comes, but we can't wait for healing to continue to build communities of hope, celebration, and Justice-love. So, let us be about our divinely appointed work, help us do it well, and fill our tomorrows with blessings that are better than any we've known so far. That will be a great miracle, but we believe in miracles. And so it is.

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