Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. – Ephesians 6:9 (KJV)
Dear Gather Family and Friends,
Recently a longtime Gatherer and I were mulling over recent setbacks to women’s and LGBTQ rights—just two of so many issues that bear watching. In the current reactionary climate, when it seems like progress that took decades to achieve is being systematically undone, discouragement mounts easily. When you are, at heart, a good person a student of Jesus who intentionally lives out his teaching caring for the least in our society is how we show love for God, it’s hard to conceive how so many folks around us are consumed with denying rights of others and depriving people of what they need. And then there are the myths and lies and suspicions that fuel such uncaring and ungodly behavior. If it only seems to get worse, what’s the point?
Doing good is a long-term commitment. As the Early Church learned, as our LGBTQ ancestors also discovered, there is always a backlash when you lay claim to freedom. The first-century Jesus Movement not only faced opposition from without; they also faced opposition from within, as their synagogues excommunicated them, and their ranks often became infiltrated with false teachers and impostors. The same can be said of the LGBTQ movement. Of course, there was steep climb to overcome systemic homophobia in the larger society. But our struggles have also been complicated by inter-community conflicts and name-calling and hierarchies of privilege. It’s enough to make anyone in the fight real tired.
As we enter Pride Month, we should listen closely Paul’s advice to the Galatians. We simply can’t get tired. We can’t give up—not as members of Jesus’s movement or as people who support equality across-the-board. Setbacks are inevitable because the world is not easily amenable to profound change. But if we stay in the fight—if we “faint not”—we shall reap a harvest for our efforts. The progress we’ve made is the fruit of our ancestors’ tireless labor. We must offer the same witness to those who come after us.
Hang in there. Hold to hope at all costs. When you feel yourself getting weary, call a friend for encouragement. This month is about Pride going forward, not just Pride of our past. Let us not be weary in well-doing.
Peace, with much love—and Happy Anniversary!