I’ve read much of the Bible hundreds of times, particularly the gospel texts—the recollections about the life and ministry of Jesus—in the New Testament. And not until today had I realized that Jesus actually references Pride—i.e. the occasion where queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people proclaim and celebrate the uniqueness of their createdness!
Ok well, not literally. But I offer this verse for your consideration:
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your [God] in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14–16, NRSV)
When I heard this verse this morning, I heard it anew, as if with fresh ears.
You see, I have long heard grumblings against the celebration of Pride and its designation in the month of June. Yet once I emancipated myself from the bondage of socio-religious-imposed heteronormativity and gender performance, it did not take me long to understand why queer people finally burst into a 51-block march, dubbed the “Christopher Street Liberation Day” some 47 years ago.
One cannot, it seems, be proud until you have first been liberated. And Pride—the month, the parade, the march, the feeling—is first and foremost about liberating yourself, about refusing to any longer hide your beautiful, God-created light beneath any bushel or behind any closet door.
If we indeed believe that each human being is “fearfully and wonderfully made” as the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah proclaims, then it is easy to read the prophet Jesus’ words beyond evangelizing others to first being true to your authentic self and embracing your own light within.
My friends, regardless of whom you love or how you express your gender and particularly those of you who are a part of the rainbow family, be proud of who you are created to be and let your light shine boldly and fabulously. In this way—whether at a Pride parade or march, during Pride month, or all year-long—you are living out the words of Jesus to let your light shine so that the world has no doubt in a God who both created the rainbow and the children of the rainbow.
So let that light shine, glitter, or sparkle family! And trust that if Jesus were around today, he would be marching right along, letting his light shine, and singing the words of another prophet, Sylvester: