Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coming Out To Intimacy

Title; “Coming Out To Intimacy”
© Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, 11th Nov 2007.
Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria.

Preached at achurch4me MCC Chicago USA.

Hallelujah, Glory to God.
V I have had many moments of coming out.
V Most of them good, relieve, great, some are painful, shameful, stigmatised linked with denial, rejection, isolation etc
V But when we live in the hope of the almighty God, we are destined to know the truth, see the light, and breathe the air of freedom, liberation and validation.
V And the only way we can do that is to arrive at the truth, the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ, which has no boundaries or restrictions or conditions.

We can boldly say “We fight the good fight of faith, laying hold of the eternal life to which we are summoned we confess the good confession before many witnesses” 1 Timothy 6v12.

The Title of my message this morning is Coming Out to Intimacy

Please, Bow your head and let us pray;
Loving God, the most excellent God, we are grateful for our gathering today, a day you have made, anointed and blessed, a day you have set aside for your name to be glorified, your name to be magnified, for us to fellowship and share in the inclusiveness of Jesus Christ and the love of our eternal God.

Someone say Amen, I invite you all friends, members and visitors of achurchforme and Sankofaway in Chicago to say Amen. It is good to be in Chicago again, last I was here in June, dancing on the Gay Pride. I want to acknowledge other ministry gifts, the music from Free Spirit, Drum DIVAS are Divinely inspired Victoriously Anointed. Amen.

I want to thank your Pastor Rev Kevin Downer a dear friend of mine and his partner Toby and the board members for the invitation to preach today, Also many thanks to Rev Deborah Lake and her partner Terri. I am a man under law and a mission, I know I have been given the privilege of a few minutes to talk to you. Just before I do that, I also bring you greetings all the way from House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria. Where I believe God is doing new and great things, someone say Amen.

The reading today is an interesting story for the lesbian and gay community Ruth 1v14-18.

A whole family moves from Bethlehem to Moab because of famine, the father dies, the sons marry Moabite wives, ten years later, the sons die and three women, Naomi, the mother in law and Ruth and Orpah are left widowed and childless.

There are only two ways a woman could be valued in this society, as an unmarried virgin in her father’s household or as a child-producing wife in her husbands, nothing has change with the expectation of society today. Naomi recognized that they have limited options for relationships and places of security in such a society, she tells her daughters in law to go back to their homeland and find new husbands. Just imagine the stigma, the shame, the rejection and isolation. Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye, but Ruth Clings to her. It was at this point that Ruth Comes Out and declares her true feelings for Naomi.

We must find a point to declare our true feelings for our relationships, to be honest and true.
We must find a point to declare our love for God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
We must find a point to declare our love for each other and our neighbors
We must find a point to declare our coming to express and live the inclusive love and gospel of Jesus.

Ruth speaks to Naomi;

‘Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God. 17Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!’18When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

This is the great coming out to intimacy moment, I am sure many of us have had that experience or that journey, Coming out as who we are is revolution and a victory, coming at work and to our families are just important, but coming out to yourself first and reconciling spirituality and sexuality is paramount.
Ruth chooses against the odds to stay with Naomi, one worthless woman joining herself to another and in her choosing she refuses to accept the status quo of a society that limits and defines their existence as worthless, empty and marginal based on marital status or reproductive ability.

Ecclesiastics 4:9-12 says Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ruth is our queer ancestress, she has gone before us and so offers us an example. In her own way she knew that silence equals death. After all Orpah says nothing, she simply kissed Naomi and said goodbye.

Micah 6v8 “O ye mortal, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and walk humbly with your God?”

Ruth courageously name and affirm our relationship in the face of insurmountable odds. This is doing justice and loving kindness. She provides us with an example of self determination, refusing to accept a marginalized status based on heterosexist patriarch definition of marriage, family and procreation.

After all the bible remind us in 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,* in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Psalm 23 is my Coming Out passage and Rev Troy Perry the founder of MCC wrote a book titled The Lord Is My Shepherd And He Knows Am Gay. Here we need to learn to rewrite our history into the scriptures, here we are standing on the inclusive love, promise and gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ruth’s words to Naomi 1:16 are words for our community.

I am not sure how many people know about Nigeria or of Nigeria. Currently to be homosexual is a crime and there are laws to prosecute, imprison anyone convicted for up to 14 years. But we have a church. We speak the words of Ruth to Jesus. The church started in September 2006.

We have held regular worship in Nigeria in just over one year and there has been no disruptions of any kind by hoodlums or the authorities.

We have grown in numbers; over 1,500 people statistically have attended all our programmes.

We have exceeded 300 on our main contact database.

In the last six months we average minimum 60 to almost 90 people in attendance with about 20 to 25% new people in attendance.

I want to invite all of you into a Ruth Naomi relationship with the congregation in Nigeria.
Support our mission to help many Nigerian gays and lesbians reconcile sexuality with spirituality.
18 men stand trial in my country for charges ranging from sodomy to cross dressing and impersonating women. Last June on the pride march I wore a shirt with an inscription L.I.F.E, living in fear everyday, this is happening here in Chicago and in Nigeria right now.

Prophet Isaiah said in Chapter 41v10, “I fear not, for God is with me. I do not look around in terror and be dismayed, for God is my God. God will strengthen and harden me to difficulties, yes, God will help me, yes, God will hold me up and retain me with God’s right hand of rightness and justice”. Prophet Isaiah like many of us today had something to say, make a note of these proclamations, and have faith in God.

God Bless You all. End

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