From Death to Life: An Easter Reflection on LGBT+ Loss of Life
I write this on Easter Sunday when we celebrate the joy of Christ risen: He has risen indeed. “Good” Friday is the day of contemplation and Sunday is the day of exaltation. But what happened on Saturday? Where was the dead Jesus? The Creed gives us the answer: he was in hell. He went there for us so that we could embrace his victory over death and share in that triumph. Christ has removed that sting and won for us eternal life.
As we prepare to remember our LGBT+ siblings at our upcoming Memorial Service and honour their sacrifice on the altar of a world that has ears but does not listen and has eyes but does not see, it is too far a reach to compare their deaths to those of Jesus? They have suffered and died on their own individual crosses; they have lived through their own personal hells and in paying tribute to them on April 23rd may we proclaim them risen in our hearts and in our hopes for a better future for all genders; all identities ; all people.
They have bought and paid for eternal life when the wider path would have been far easier. They have broken their hands beating on the doors of the uncaring churches of this world. They have stood for themselves in a lonely world. They have done this and died for us so that we can pick up their crosses and hold them high proclaiming with St. Paul “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal (the Message)”.
I went to chapel last Sunday. It was the first time that I had attended a service since I walked away from the Church of England, that had ceased to be my church over a year ago. The attendance of my daughter and I swelled the congregation by 50%. The chapel was Welsh Baptist. We were welcomed and a hymn was sung in English for the benefit of my non-Welsh speaking daughter. God was there and Jesus sat with us.
When the day of judgment arrives, the four ladies who comprised that congregation will be ushered into the new Jerusalem because we were strangers and they took us in. The door to paradise will be barred to those who did not take in the strangers and the strange; they will be left outside watching the host of LGBT+ persons they rejected sitting secure and safe on the right hand of God.
So, on the 23rd , let us join in remembrance in the certain knowledge that we know who the sheep are and who will be the goats.
By David Owen, Trustee