Rev. Rona Tyndall
---- — The Lord works in mysterious ways, his wonders to behold!
Is it irony or grace that the end result of last week’s Midweek Musings column condemning the flying of a rainbow flag at Grant Circle actually amplified our city’s voice in a resounding welcome of all people to Gloucester?
The men and women of Gloucester spoke up. In their thoughtful letters to the editor, conversations and words from the pulpit, I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 19:40. “I tell you, if the people were silent, even these stones would cry out!”
Of course, Gloucester’s people were right. We are all precious in God’s sight, made in God’s image, beloved and beautiful and treasured. God loves all of us.
In ancient Israel, there was no concept of a committed gay relationship. Any sexual act that “wasted” what was believed to be a finite resource for the procreation of children was condemned because it was vital for the nation to increase in numbers and strength.
Now thanks to science, we know that sexual orientation is physiological. Gay or straight, most people want to find someone special to make a loving home with.
The Apostle Paul condemned homosexual acts, but he was specifically referring to Roman and Greek cultic prostitution and sexual abuse and slavery. He was not referring to respectful, loving, romantic expression between adults in a committed relationship.
Jesus said nothing — not one word — about homosexuality. However, he had much to say about receiving all people with compassion and love. He ate and prayed with and touched those whom the religious establishment deemed unclean and unworthy; lepers and tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans and menstruating women. The radical inclusivity of his gospel of love bought him a death sentence, but in his resurrection, he conquered death once and for all.
The result of last week’s Midweek Musings column was that what started as a welcoming gesture by just one woman — our mayor —has become a truly communal welcome.
The letters to the editor, comments on the Gloucester Times blogs and word from the city’s pulpits raise the glad shout; Come, one and all. You are welcome here.
I hope that the end result of all of this is that the Gloucester City Council takes a vote to fly the rainbow flag all year round, so that residents and visitors alike know that there is room at the table for all of us and there is a place saved here just for you.
The Rev. Rona Tyndall is pastoral care coordinator of Hospice of the North Shore.