As an eastside Manhattanite, I’ve never been a fan of NYC parades. Call me a parade curmudgeon as the summer season unfolds in cascading weeks of public disruption. I suppose I’ll rediscover their charm from a grandchild’s point of view in years ahead, but for the moment, the most generous description I can muster is “incredibly inconvenient.” Not to say I don’t recognize the utility of public demonstrations of affirmation and celebration. But, selfishly, these come at the expense of those who live in proximity of the cherished routes. I know how this sounds… please forgive…
I report this as a confessional backdrop to my decision to join the Pride Parade on Sunday the 26th right after worship. I’m breaking my own life-long pattern as a personal need in response to the Orlando massacre. I invite you to join me.
The parade’s timing is too coincidental to ignore, too obvious an opportunity to demonstrate support for the LGBTQ community. Regardless of the ultimate motives of the gunman, he chose to vent his rage and hate on a historically vulnerable community that continues to battle for acceptance as equal members of the human family. Their fragile sense of safety and community has been shattered.
I feel the urgent necessity to stand with these sisters and brothers, especially as an ordained representative of a conflicted Christian denomination that struggles to understand the breadth and depth of this phrase: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
So I’m going to join the parade! If you’re in town on the 26th, I hope you’ll consider walking behind our banner with me. Bring a friend or two. Make it a family affair. Stretch your arms in a wide embrace, as wide as the astonishing diversity found in God’s imagination.
Details to follow, but after the spiritual fortification of our 10:30 a.m. service on June 26th, interested persons will make their way to a designated gathering point. Let us know of your interest here.
In the meantime, let your prayers continue on behalf of those who lost their lives, those who loved them, and for a nation in a dark season of turbulent unrest. Remember, it was a year ago today that another hate-filled man raged through a rain of bullets against a group of African Americans assembled at church for Bible study. Bible study!! Both men were homegrown. Notwithstanding the appeal to the terrorisms of the wider world, we evidently have shards of broken community here in the United States. Hate is no respecter of national boundaries.
Clearly we have work to do. For those who follow after Jesus’ path, we proactively stand with him in #solidaritytolove, or should I say, march…
Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman