A Pastoral Message from Rev. Abel Arroyo Traverso

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________ Pride

 

It’s hard to qualify Pride this year. The symbolic void where an impulsive “happy” should go weighs heavily on me today.

I would love to go with our usual greeting. “Happy Pride!” I want to scream Happy Pride from the rooftops and platforms -virtual or otherwise- and assure every single person in our community that this is the month when we can let our colors fly and we can show up as we are, even for a day, a moment, under the sun.

However, the realities we live in political, ecclesial, and socioeconomic, bluntly point back to that void where the “happy” should be.

Pride.

We all encounter Pride in different ways, in different spaces, and in different times as we grow, live, love, age, come out, come together, grow apart, move on, and stay. We find Pride in the quiet affirmations of chosen family keeping us safe, and by ourselves in our closets, in the whispers of promises that things will get better.

We find Pride in pool parties and harnesses, haircuts, nail polish, brunch, church, dungeons, and homes. We find Pride in the multitude of our talents and gifts. In our galaxy of genders. In the multiplicity of our love, care, and attractions.

I find Pride in the embrace of our community and identities, hopes, goals, and dreams. However, I can’t say that this is exactly happy.

Many of us still struggle with representation, care, and community. Many of us struggle living a public life, free from fear of harassment and harm. Hell, many of us struggle just staying alive.

Pride.

Beloved child of God, I invite you to meditate on what Pride means for you today. How would you qualify Pride?

Throughout the history of our faith, we can see this impulse to collectively qualify figures and events to speak to a hegemonic majority in the best of cases, or at our worst, to actively oppress, marginalize, and exterminate the cultural, ethnic, and religious other.

Yet here we are. Queer, trans, bi, sapphic, Aro/Ace Christians. Poly, kinky, vanilla, Lutherans.

We understand how our faith confession can be both liberating and condemning. We live, and live into this ambiguity, this queerness if you may, every day.

I would struggle to call it one thing, let alone good, facing all the evidence of what has been done in the name of Christ and the church.

Yet here we are.

Confessing and believing that the composer of creation wrote us, specifically us, as part of the symphony of the cosmos. 

I believe that this is the case for our community too. We are not here as an accident or by chance, but by choice. We are all, in our difference and diversity, part of this community to make it whole, beautiful and powerful. Like Esther, we were called for such a time as this.

ELM community, this is a hard, complicated, messy time, and even though we can’t all claim “happy”, I hope and pray that we can definitely claim our Pride.

Subversive, chaotic, powerful, and confessional.

Embodied as it is. As you are.

We make Pride what it needs to be, and what we pray it will become. So today as June starts my prayer is that you can claim the Pride you need. That you can find your co-conspirators and your strength in our communities. That you rage and meditate and share the Pride that is, knowing that the Pride we all make will be even better.

So beloved, I wish you a Pride. Make of it what you must. We trust that the God who was with our queer elders though history will keep showing us the way towards happiness, but more importantly, towards justice.

 

Rev. Abel Arroyo Traverso (they/he)
ELM Board Member 

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