This weekend, a man walked into a Latin gay nightclub in Orlando and killed fifty people. The response, as with all of this shootings, is an outpouring of grief, and a call to prayer and mourning. And this is good. We ought to turn to prayer in times when we are overwhelmed by the world. We ought to mourn the holes left in the fabric of our lives when such horrific violence is unleashed. But it is not enough. In prayer, we name things that have power over us, whether they are things we wish to have power over, or things from which we wish to be free. By saying things out loud, in the open air, we can be honest with ourselves, with our desires, with our weaknesses and our strengths. In our prayers for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, let us say aloud that it was not a coincidence that they were LGBTQ people. It is not a coincidence that they were Latin LGBTQ people.
We have long made Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer people out to be other than full, loved, children of God. Churches have often done the work laying out exactly why and how LGBTQ people don’t quite fit into the realm of God’s beloved children. This is something we need to challenge. This is something we need to stop. As we name the things that have power over us in prayer, let us name our barriers to seeing other people as the loved children of God they are. Let us name our discomfort with the implications of loving one another fully. Let us find strength to engage in listening and hearing ideas that are challenging, leaving ourselves open not only to the words of other people, but to the still-speaking voice of God.