October 11th was National Coming Out Day. Like many of you, I grew up in a very conservative Christian church tradition. And maturing in my faith journey over the years, I’ve come to know that many things they taught me about God and how God interacts with humanity is just not true, especially on issues of sexuality.

I’ve watched in horror as misinterpreted scripture has been the vehicle religion often uses to lead parents in abandoning and disowning their LGBTQ children. I’m thankful this was not so for me. My conservative Christian Mother responded to my proclaiming to her “I’m gay!” with “Well, am I supposed to love you any less?” I know what that moment of incredible grace did in influencing my life for the better. While it has gotten better over the years, I’m sad that every parent can’t see through religious dogma and respond to their LGBTQ children the way my Mother did. Yet, it seems religion has indoctrinated many to read the scriptures and default to any negative interpretation to be found.

The assigned gospel text for this Sunday is the story of a wealthy young man who is challenged with holding on to his possession or following Jesus. Every sermon I’ve ever heard on this text turned in guilt, condemnation and blame. But as I read it with fresh eyes this week, I looked beyond the easily assumed negative connotations to see the hope, love and acceptance from Jesus. Yes, Jesus did challenge this man’s attachment to his things; but prior to doing so, it says, “Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him.” Afterwards, Jesus says to him “And come, follow Me.” The point of this story is Jesus’ invitation to a life of love, hope, forgiveness and acceptance.

Thursday was National Coming Out Day. Join us Sunday for a day of coming out to worship with us and an invitation to find love, hope, forgiveness and acceptance. My sermon will be “And Come, Follow Me” based on Mark 10:17-31