Yesterday I heard a wonderful sermon at the Carmelites on the tradition and the living tradition of the church and I thought that it applied perfectly to LGBT people.
The priest explained how over the centuries traditions have built up and brought us to a deeper understanding of God and our faith but that this process of learning and discovering is ongoing and this is what is called the “living tradition” of the church.
He went on to warn us of the risk of getting so attached to the past traditions that we may become blind and closed to the new things that the Holy Spirit is doing and teaching us and what better example of this than LGBT.
Those against LGBT ministry often bring up this point and claim that they are faithful to the tradition of the church and to the teachings of family and sexuality while we are not. The reality is that these people are faithful to the tradition and afraid of the living tradition while we are faithful to the tradition and to the living tradition as best we can!
When we consider all the new things we are learning in medicine and science, what really is the big deal that human sexuality and gender identity are more complicated than we had previously imagined and that Jesus had a unique and different plan for LGBT people!
It’s not like we are telling straight people to become LGBT or trying to kick them out of the church, we are simply making a space for LGBT people in the church too with their lives and pastoral needs.
This is and should be seen as something both wonderful and exciting because everyone knows about the suffering and exclusion of LGBT peoople in the church up to now.
In reality it’s actually wonderful and exciting to be part of the ‘living tradition’ and being used by the Holy Spirit to move things forward in the church for generations to come.
The Holy Spirit is a creative spirit who is constantly at work renewing, reshaping and sanctifying and while of course we must be prudent about change and discern what is from God and what is not, we must not be stubborn and obstinate and block the Holy Spirit from bringing about the good changes that he sees.
So let us not be afraid of LGBT and the rainbow flag but rather let us pray and let us be part of the living tradition of the church that future generations will look back on with gratitude and love!