Our Labor Day Turn into the Hard Labor
Labor Day, for me, means the start of the new school year. The late summer days in September, with their slanting light and thin, spent warmth, still give me a sense of hope and anticipation for new areas of study and challenge.
As I reflect, I am grateful for this week’s rise in hopeful energy. The challenges before my church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), during this next year are large ones. And unlike the challenges that made my heart quicken when school started, these are serious concerns that weigh heavy on my spirit because they have real, lasting consequences for peoples’ lives.
Today, I bring one of these before you for your prayerful consideration: the ordination vote.
Between now and May, 2011, every presbytery in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) must vote on Overture 10-A, a revision of G-6.0106b in the Book of Order that would restore the standard for ordination to the historic standards of faith, gifts and calling. A “yes” will open ordination to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) candidates for ministry.
Since 1997, when this section of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Constitution was passed, there have been four opportunities to delete or revise it. In 2001 the overture to delete G-6.0106b lost by 35 presbyteries. In 2009, the revision overture lost by 9 presbyteries.
This progress gives me hope that the birth of a new day, one in which our LGBT faithful will be just like all other Presbyterians within the church, is near.
However, change takes hard work. When I gave birth, at a certain point I knew the baby was coming and I also knew that a good deal of hard labor was needed on my part to make that happen. In the PCUSA, as a community, we have been heading toward this birth for a long time and these years have had all the pain and weariness of a difficult labor.
Rev. Janie Spahr’s trial, earlier this month, was another labor pain. And in the months to come when we are reaching out to our fellow Presbyterians to vote “yes” on Overture 10-A, I expect there will be many others. Like a mother in the final throes of birth, we can be heartened all along the way by the promised outcome.
When this voting season concludes, may we have delivered the church into the new day we all know Christ has in store for us and for our next generation of faithful Presbyterians. Our LGBT deacons, elders and ministers will witness among us all to Jesus’ loving embrace. And the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will shine with Jesus’ love, transforming the world.