"Intro to Pride Month" by Pastor A.J. Houseman
In May and June, there’s a lot of talk about family with mother’s day and father’s day. In our gospel lesson for this morning, Jesus also talks about family. Giving us a new definition of what it means to be family.
See the word here that gets translated as family in the beginning is actually three Greek words, hoi par autou, meaning “those belonging to him”. And in our new definition of family from Jesus this morning, its about more than just blood.
Its about the way that we love and support one another. The first time I heard the phrase blood is thicker than water was at my grandmother’s funeral. It’s something I can’t unhear a relative saying. But the thing is…. For many people… this just isn’t true.
Some people come from biological families where they have been treated badly. Some people just don’t have them at all. Some people are adopted and have the most beautiful families that are not connected by blood.
Because here is the other side of it, blood also doesn’t give someone the right to treat you badly.
Coming up in June is the celebration of Pride month. Pride month is the celebration and remembrance of the beauty created in LGBT persons. A celebration of being who you are and not what the world wants you to be. And a remembrance, yes, a remembrance of those who have lost their lives and their biological families from persecution, from hate crimes, from families casting out their children. Many LGBT persons are not welcome with their blood families just because of who they are.
Seems kind of backwards, because to me, a family are those that belong to us, that love us and respect us no matter what. That celebrate us and cheer for us, that are there for us when times are good and when they are bad.
But believe it or not, the entire celebration of Pride is about family.
Deacon Julie Stecker said to me this weekend that, “humans need family. We crave this kind of love and affection. It’s natural. And if we don’t get this from our blood family, we will seek out these relationships in a chosen family because we need that to survive.”
Much of the LGBT population has gone in search of this kind of chosen family. From people who can love them and support them in ways that maybe their own parents could to a family of friends in the LGBT community.
And in marriage. Marriage is probably the epitome of chosen family in our culture, where we choose who we want to marry because of love, because of mutual respect and admiration. This weekend was my wedding anniversary. A day when we stood up before our other friends and family, and God. And we declared that we would love each other and support each other through sickness and in health, through good times and in bad, when rich or poor, we would stand together as family.
Pride month is the celebration of the ability to love. The ability to choose your family.
And the Pride community was not created as a club for people with similar interests of people just want to have parades and wear bright clothing. Its much deeper than that. This community manifested into existence out of the love and support that each person needs to survive in this world, because as Deacon Julie reminds us, we all need that.
Honestly, it’s similar to a church community. We are brought here not out of a common interest in Jesus, but out of the innate human need to love and be loved. We come together to love and support one another through thick and thin, through good times and hard times. We do this with a little Jesus to help. But this is the kind of family that Jesus redefines. That family, “those belonging to him” is about love not blood.
Do many people get that from those they share blood with? Absolutely! But, take it from Jesus, this is not the only kind of family. We talk all the time about going out to share love with others, but we also have to remember to love our families, whether that be your blood family, your church family, or just your chosen family. Let us celebrate the family that is around us and share in the gift of family, whoever that is for you.