Spiritual Affirmation

God’s Children Include Our LGBT Sisters & Brothers

by Rev . Dr. Denise Donnell

We were sitting in Arby’s when it happened—a song played through the speakers that deeply touched my mother.

She dropped her fork, closed her eyes, and began to sway back and forth.

I had never before seen her behave this way. I dropped my fork and stared. At some point, still rocking in meditation, my mother confessed that she loved this song. I paid closer attention to it.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on stormy seas. I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.

I filed that in the back of my mind. As soon as I was alone, I scrambled to find the title and the artist. It’s Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.”

It was 3:00 pm, and I was at Starbucks with a friend, waiting to catch up on life inside and outside the church. 

While he paid, I scanned the area. It was right there, sitting on the counter. There was no way one could miss it: a Josh Groban CD. I gasped, picked it up and flipped it over, all in one fluid movement, in search of my mama’s song. It wasn’t there—the wrong cd.

I couldn’t help but notice, though, that the names of the songs sounded secular rather than spiritual. I asked my friend if he knew this artist. He did. Not only did he know the artist, but my friend also knew that Josh Groban is not a primarily Christian artist. I was shocked.

The lyrics to “You Raise Me Up” scrolled in my mind. Not once does Groban mention Jesus, God our Savior. I was speechless. I thought about my faith journey and the people I have met along the Way.

Working at HRC, I am joining hands daily with more and more friends from the LGBT community—the very ones some deem unholy, unrighteous, unfit for the Kingdom.

By holding their hands in mine, I have come to learn that those who some of us view as unworthy have a rightful place not only in society but also at the very foot of the Cross.

Jesus calls us all to sit in His lap, to find rest in His arms, to know in our hearts that all of us have been redeemed by His Sacrifice. According to a recent HRC survey, half of LGBT Mississippians surveyed are people of faith, but more than one in five experience harassment monthly or more at their respective houses of worship.

I challenge you to take the bold step of building a relationship with people from the LGBT family. Listen to the beat of their heart. Feel the rhythm of their pulse. Hear their stories with open ears.

Then, confess—as I have—that sometimes it is easy to get confused about what is God and what is not.

God is love, and that love extends to all.  Join us as we worship God together and feel God’s love bind us together with cords that cannot be broken.

Originally published by the Human Rights Campaign; Photo via flickr user Makena Zayle Gadient