In Luke 10, a lawyer who wanted to justify himself asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus’ call to love our neighbor is at the root of our observance of Pride Sunday, when we support our LGBTQ friends and neighbors.
Pride Sunday, in my mind, has two meanings.
First, this occasion allows all of us to honor a group which has been dishonored, excluded, and persecuted in many ways historically. When this happens, special focus on the plight of a particular group is appropriate and needed. The abolitionist movement focused on enslaved citizens of our country. The women’s movement focused on gender issues. The Church of Christ was often complicit in the unjust, unequal treatment of minority groups and disadvantaged populations. To its credit, our Church has explicitly renounced its early support of slavery, racial segregation, and discrimination against women. When a wrong has been done, it is necessary to be vocal in the repudiation of that wrong.
The civil rights movement focused first on racial discrimination, then on persons with disabilities, then on those with differences in sexual orientation and identity. Slowly, the American people have responded to the call – from Jesus and from many others – to be a society that welcomes and values all kinds of people.
The second meaning of Pride Sunday is broader. We can all be justly proud of ourselves and our society when we lift up our baptismal promises and realize them in our society. Our baptismal covenant includes the vow to “strive for justice and peace,” and to “respect the dignity of every human being.”
Jesus focused his earthly ministry on people who were excluded and marginalized – the leper, the Samaritan, the blind and lame – people who were thought to be defective in some way. Jesus named them, spoke with them, touched them, and included them in his movement of love. I believe we who follow Jesus are called to go and do likewise. JBM