While it is hard to look beyond our current crisis, there remain other longstanding causes in which Christians have a large role to play. The Human Rights Campaign fights for equality and justice for the LGBTQ+ community, and their Lenten series reflects this theme. Today’s selection is a very personal reflection that asks us to remember, in this “dark” period of Lent, that God loves us for who we are:
A Call to Worship and Obedience
O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.” Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.” – Psalm 95:1-11, ESV
Psalm 95 calls us to do something contradictory to the season of Lent — to sing and “make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” As a Baptist Minister of Music’s kid, this is easy for me. I grew up singing my faith–learning the theology that would come to shape my life from the songs I sang before I even understood what their words meant.
When I came out as a lesbian in my early twenties — a time when I never doubted if God loved me, but doubted daily if God’s people did — I often found comfort and joy in returning to the songs of praise I learned in my childhood. I may not have been welcome in the church sanctuary, but no one could keep me from worshipping God through song. Whether singing “How Great Thou Art,” “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” or “ Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” I found myself able to rest once again in the love of God I knew deep in my soul.
Songs of praise kept my heart open to the wonders and holy mysteries of God’s work in this world and in my own life in ways I may have missed otherwise.
As LGBTQ people of faith, we must reclaim and redefine the joy of worshipping a God who loves us just as we are. Whether your “songs of praise” are hymns or the harmonies of voices on the front lines of actions for justice and liberation, may you find ways to lift your voice in praise this Lenten season for the gift of the deep love God has for us all.
Political Director, Faith in Public Life Action Fund