you ask me why

I am almost there, I am really. I am beginning to get in the swing of things, to jump on to that boat of optimism and hope. Yes, this election was historic, and amazing, and beautiful – filled with photos and snapshots in time capturing the best of who we can be as a country.

As previously posted, it was also silently, oh so quietly without faces, hidden in our darkest voting booths, a very sad day for queer people.

But you know what gives me hope? My church. There, I said it. My beautiful, broken, sometimes a pain-in-the-worlds bottom church. I offer you an amazing reflection from 2 of the most beautiful, prophetic voices in the Episcopal Church.

After Prop 8, Love Endures

Written by Bishops Marc Andrus and Steven Charleston

Photo courtesy: http://flickr.com/photos/sylvarFear
is a pendulum in the human heart. It swings with the movement of
change. When we are confronted by things that make us anxious, it can
take us from one extreme to the other. Fear can move us to decisive
action. It can also freeze us into immobility. In this election, we saw
that pendulum swing in both directions.

Fear for the future of
our nation, for its economy and its place in the world, galvanized
millions of Americans into decisive action. Rather than standing still
in the face of growing dangers, they opted to vote for historic change,
for a future that overcomes fear. The election of Barack Obama was the
result.

Fear of human sexuality, of those who are totally vulnerable but who
have been presented as dangerous, caused thousands of Californians to
do just the opposite: to withdraw from change into the imagined safety
of prejudice and injustice. The passage of Proposition 8 was the result.

Because
so many of us supported change, we have reason to hope now for a much
less fearful future. But because too many of us in California succumbed
to fear, we will consign countless numbers of our neighbors to an
immediate future of life without hope.

The election of Barack
Obama should be a cause for celebration among all of us who want to see
Americans come together in unity, respect and common cause. But it is
hard to celebrate when millions of us are left out of that invitation
to justice.  As long as our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers are
denied their basic civil rights as equal citizens of this society, the
real winner is not the new African American president, but the ongoing
fear that makes us look away while our neighbors are stripped of their
rights.

This pendulum swinging back and forth, though, has some
unreality built into it. It would be easy to assume that between the
two points of the arc the pendulum describes there is no alternative:
either we choose fear that paralyzes us into inaction and
retrogression, or we choose fear that kicks us into positive action.

The
Christian faith informs us that fear is ultimately not a way forward at
all. Love and fear don’t exist in the same dimension, and while fear
will come to an end, love goes on for eternity.

As bishops of
a community that offers all people a fear-free zone in which they can
live with justice and dignity, we invite others to join us in praying
with our GLBT sisters and brothers who will mark this election not as
an historic victory, but as a reminder that when it comes to fear, some
things never change.

Things never change with love and hope,
too. We’re giving you James Weldon Johnson’s words to what has been
called the African American national anthem below to remind us all that
as we travel faithfully the path of justice and reconciliation, God,
who is Love, walks with us. Truly, we are shadowed beneath God’s hand.
The Episcopal Diocese of California will continue to seek to be a place
of hope, of love, an instrument of God’s sheltering, over-shadowing
power. This Love is what will finally endure, finally prevail.

Lift ev'ry voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list'ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast'ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered.
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might,
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop
Steven Charleston, Assistant Bishop

Amen.

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