Leading up to the Special Council on Human Sexuality in April, the Reformed Church in America has published a series of 21 devotionals to help the denomination and participants prepare. We encourage all Room for All supporters to sign up to receive these devotionals via email and follow along as we pray for the church and particularly those LGBTQ people who are participating.
In addition, Room for All has commissioned a series of 21 Inclusive Prayers and Devotionals written by supporters and friends of Room for All to coincide with and complement the RCA’s series. We will publish those here on OUTsights over the next 21 days.
These readings and prayers are solely the words and opinions of each guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Room for All, their staff, or the board.
A Reflection from Rev. Dr. Tricia Sheffield
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in the Lord’s works . . . (Psalm 104.31)
I finally got to visit Deep Cut Park a few weeks ago. It was a chilly, yet sunny morning. The sky was a deep blue, and the colors of spring just beginning to peek out from a long winter’s rest. Our first stop was the greenhouse. When we opened the door, the damp warmth hit our faces and the jackets we had on were too much for such a tropical-feeing place. Looking around, I was astonished at all the plants crowded in together: cacti, orchids, ferns, and some plants whose name I couldn’t pronounce if I tried. I remarked to my friend about the diversity of the plants and their variations. Some were prickly, others smooth; some had deep, rich colors, and yet others were drab in their appearance; some were short and stumpy, whereas others were long, their leaves reaching high towards the sun. Despite their variety, they all shared a common ancestor that united them as plants. Reflecting on their diversity, I remembered the final line said by Lola Cola from the documentary film, Southern Comfort: “Nature delights in diversity. Why don’t human beings?”
I’ve been reflecting on that greenhouse moment as our denomination prepares to host a Special Council to discuss a constitutional way forward regarding the full inclusion (or not) of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Indeed nature does delight in all of the manifestations of creation, and in the Scripture above, the Psalmist notes the rejoicing of God in God’s handiwork. It’s not just plants that are diverse . . . humans are too. We come in all hues of skin, some dappled with freckles and others completely clear; our heights range from tall to short to medium; some of us are able-bodied, and others of us are physically challenged. Our hair is straight or curly or both; our noses . . . so many shapes for noses, and let’s not forget our lips, eyes, fingers, and toes. And we are made with varying forms of sexual identities and gender expressions too. We are straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, intersex, transgender, gender non-conforming, and cisgender. We are God’s greenhouse of love. No matter what we’ve done, where we’ve been, whom we love, or how we look, we all share a common “ancestor” who made us fearfully and wonderfully.
God delights in diversity. Why don’t human beings?
May we continue to hope and pray that the church universal will add its voice of celebration to nature’s delight in God’s works of diversity, and extend God’s generous grace and inclusion to all of God’s people.