This past Sunday, I attended and led two roundtable discussions at the Unity Church of Madison. We have been working with this remarkable faith community since early May to involve their congregation fully in our campaign. In addition to my after service discussions, the Rev. Ken Pennings preached at both services. Pastor Pennings is the executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, and a member of First Baptist Church in Madison.
In his sermon, Pastor Pennings relayed the story of the apostles Peter & John healing the lame man at the gate called Beautiful leading into the temple in Jerusalem and then defending their actions before the Sanhedrin (the ruling religious council of the time). I won’t recount the whole story right now, but encourage you to read it.
Pastor Pennings related the story of the beggar being placed outside the temple to the lives of gay and lesbians persons, and the people who support them, as people whom the church and the establishment powers of today wish to keep outside and keep silent. It was a powerful metaphor. The true power of the story comes from the very fact that the powers of the day couldn’t find fault with the actions of Peter & John to heal the lame and bring the man into the temple. Just as today, the church cannot honestly find just cause to keep silent and exclude gay and lesbian people and those who support them.
This was a bold statement against established thinking and authority for Peter and John to make. Bold statements require courage and faithfulness. As many of you hit the streets and talk to voters and your friends and family about the ban, know that we are praying for your boldness, your courage, and your faithfulness. I am going to do it right now with the same prayer that the faithful people prayed after Peter and John took a bold stand.
“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
BE BOLD, for in being bold, WE WIN!