Sermon for June 30th Gay Pride

Today is Pride Sunday. 50th anniversary.

So many years ago, those who were different, who were not like others were ostracized, made fun of, locked up – in the name of the law. 

And sometimes in the name of God.

God’s creatures, God’s children – treated horribly.

Because they were – DIFFERENT.

 Things have changed in these 50 years, at least in some places.  And today, siblings from around the world have come to NYC to celebrate freedom and love.

Last week we acknowledged Refugee Sunday – and had Nancy Tomicic tell her moving story of when she was a refugee – so many years ago.  

(Some of you were not able to hear her – so we are working on possibly getting copies of her remarks.)

Why do we recognize Refugee Sunday?  Because today, in so many places around our world, and even here in the USA – even in our own city! –

People who are different, who are not like others are ostracized, made fun of, locked up – in the name of the law.

And in the eyes of some – even in the name of God.

God’s creatures, God’s children – treated unfairly.

Because they are – DIFFERENT.

In our Gospel lesson today, Jesus is calling people to follow him into his mission and ministry.

Because he is a practicing Jew, he “sets his mind and face toward Jerusalem, knowing that he must go there to complete his ministry – to die for the sake of the world.

He is different from the Samaritans in which he finds himself. 

He is DIFFERENT from them.  So they don’t receive his ministry or acknowledge him.

What do some of his followers do?

SHALL WE COMMAND FIRE TO RAIN DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND CONSUME THEM?

What does JESUS do? Rebukes his followers for even thinking of such an act.  God is not about condemning those who are not ready to follow.

In commenting on our 2nd lesson from Galatians, Pastor James Klockau states:

Paul spells out the mission before us. Last week, he pointed out the power we’ve been given through our baptism. 

Now he explains that with the Spirit of God within, our lives should be different.

Paul tells us: 

22: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is 

love, 

joy, 

peace, 

patience, 

kindness, 

generosity, 

faithfulness, 

gentleness, 

and self-control.

We who follow Jesus, who answer the call, are challenged to live differently than the world.

We are called to be accepting, of all, and especially of those different from us.  But not only accepting, welcoming. 

And not only welcoming, but also seeking what is best for them.

For all are children of our Loving Creator God.

The message of the ancient covenant is clear:

Take care of widows, orphans and the strangers in your land.

Be a voice for the powerless.

The prophets called the Children of Israel to be faithful to their calling:

Seek justice.

Show mercy.

Walk humbly with God.

My friends, the task of following Jesus is not costly – for us.

But for God it cost everything.  It cost Jesus his very life.

Being light, 

bringing hope, 

living love 

is not THAT difficult.


It just means that we live a bit differently from everyone else.

We find ourselves in another political season.

Well, come to think of it, when are we NOT in a political season???

And candidates are promising everything under the sun for us.

Different folk have varying visions of what is best for our country.

Some emphasize one thing; others another.

And honestly, some are filled with hate.

Is this the best we can do?  Is tearing down those with whom we disagree the best that we have to offer?

And let’s be honest, President Trump is not the ONLY one that likes to tear down opponents.

It seems to me that God has a different reality.

That God has a different vision for us.

That the prophets called God’s children to a different way of living.

That Jesus came for a much bigger, deeper, broader purpose.

I don’t know whether those folk who protested at the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago could have imagined a world that would accept them for who they are.

I don’t know if the first followers of Jesus had any idea that the world could be a different place because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I DO know that WE can make a difference in this world.

We can live differently.  We can dream differently.

On Pentecost Day, Peter, in speaking about what had happened with Jesus – and he pouring out of His Spirit, quoted the prophet Joel who says:

I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

THIS IS WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO BE.

THIS IS WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO ENVISION.

THIS IS WHAT WE ARE CALLED BY GOD TO BRING TO LIFE!

 There is a wonderful movie, one of my recent favorites:

The Greatest Showman.

The story of PT Barnum and how the circus began.

I love the music; so many wonderful songs.

Perhaps my favorite is A Million Dreams.

While all of the words don’t exactly fit with the vision of the church, of Trinity, for me – so many do.

Words like: it feels like home.

And

A house that is filled with things from far away (our diverse international family right here at Trinity and in Astoria!)

And

Special things to make you smile within that house:

The Word. The Sacraments. Our children. Our elderly. Our outreach to the community. 

God is giving us a vision for a brighter, better world. For those who are like us. And for those who are DIFFERENT from us.

I finish the sermon today by letting you listen to this amazing song. The words are found in your bulletin on pg. 22.

I close my eyes and I can see
The world that's waiting up for me
That I call my own
Through the dark, through the door
Through where no one's been before
But it feels like home

They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy
They can say, they can say I've lost my mind
I don't care, I don't care, so call me crazy
We can live in a world that we design

'Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make

There's a house we can build
Every room inside is filled
With things from far away
The special things I compile
Each one there to make you smile
On a rainy day

They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy
They can say, they can say we've lost our minds
I don't care, I don't care if they call us crazy
Runaway to a world that we design

Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make

However big, however small
Let me be part of it all
Share your dreams with me
You may be right, you may be wrong
But say that you'll bring me along
To the world you see
To the world I close my eyes to see
I close my eyes to see

Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
A million dreams, a million dreams
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make

For the world we're gonna make

Songwriters: Benj Pasek / Justin Paul

Are you ready to dream big? Are you ready to share in God’s dreams for the world?

Amen

Paul Milholland