Happy Monday, Friends! This week we continue our series of turning to the Gospel canticles for inspiration and we are beginning to look at the Song of Zachariah (Luke 1:68-79). Zachariah was a member of the priestly class and served at the Holy of Holies, the room in the temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. This room was considered so sacred that the priests would be bound round the waist so that he could be forcibly pulled out if needed. One day Zachariah was the appointed priest and upon entering the Holy of Holies he is told by an angel that he will have a son and his son, John the Baptist, will be a prophet. Zachariah then loses his ability to speak until John is born. Regaining his speech, he proclaims this song.
Zachariah begins his song with these words: “Blessed be the God of Israel,for they have looked favorably on their people and redeemed them. God has raised up a mighty savior for usin the house of their servant David,” (Luke 1:68-69). Having just encountered the glory of God in a profound and prolonged way, Zachariah begins by praising God with his own prophetic voice speaking of a savior from the house of David, the great Jewish king.
Last week we celebrated National Coming Out Day on October 11. The experience of coming out is close to Zachariah’s moment of speech. We’ve held on to this secret about ourselves for so long and now we can tell someone else. Queer people come out many times, but for some of us coming out does get easier. As a career Queer, pretty much everyone knows that I’m gay, but I still have to come out to people. The first time I came out, I was nervous. I was so nervous a few months later when I came out to family members that I ended up sending emails and letters. I can understand Zachariah’s explosive declarations. What he says, though, is not only about himself, its also about the people who are listening to him. It is a holy and sacred thing for someone to come out to you. You have been selected specially to learn this important information. The person coming out has worked through how “safe” you are and whether you need to know and if you deserve to know. Once they’re ready to tell you, your reaction and what you do with the information should be just as thought through as the person’s decision to tell you.
There is tremendous debate about whether K-12 teachers and school administrators should out students to their parents. People who support outing students argue that parents have a right to know and that they can act in the best interests of their children if they know. Opponents of these measures state that outing students put those students in danger because some parents assail their children with conversion therapy and other forms of mental and physical abuse. To say nothing of how unethical and immoral it is to out a person without their consent. The fact is that whether parents are eventually supportive or condemning, whether they will support their child without question or withdraw all support, the choice to come out to someone must remain with the Queer person.
Have you ever come out? Has anyone ever come out to you?
Let us pray: God who created us Queer, bless our comings out. Bless the people we choose to come out to and bless the people who know we are queer. Strengthen the hearts and minds of the people we tell that they will honor the trust we place in them. Help us make it easier for LGBTQIA+ to come out and live as their authentic selves in our world. Amen.
Blessings on your weeks, my friends. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.