A Sermon Preached by the Rev.
at Pride Services in Ontario in
June and July of 2003
See what love God our parent has given us, that we
should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The
reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not
yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when Christ is
revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as
he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
Well, it?s been an interesting Pride Month, hasn?t it?
About a month ago, June 10, the Ontario Court of Appeals
unanimously set aside the heterosexual-only definition of
marriage, and ruled that same-sex couples have an equal right
to marriage under Canada?s Constitution and Charter of Rights.
The court ordered that the legal definition of marriage be
changed to "the voluntary union for life of two persons to the
exclusion of all others," effective immediately. AND, as of
June 17, 2003, Jean Chretien announced that the government
wouldn?t appeal of the ruling. So the ruling stands, and now
here in Ontario, at least, those of us who want to can marry.
And lots of folks are doing it, too! As of the end of June,
over 250 Lesbian and gay couples had obtained marriage
licences in Toronto alone. Anne and I have finally worked out
enough details to set a date -- October 26, in Toronto. I?m
just unreasonably happy that we can actually get legally
Not to be outdone, the Supreme Court of the United States
issued a ruling this week finally declaring that sodomy laws
that make gay or lesbian sexual relationships illegal are
themselves an unconstitutional denial of due process under the
law. Mind you, this came a mere 35 years AFTER Pierre Elliot
Trudeau declared in Canada that "The State has no place in the
bedrooms of the nation." It?s been said that the wheels of
justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.
Reading the U.S. Supreme Court decision actually
resurrected a little bit of my ex-lawyer?s heart, which I had
thought was completely extinguished. Because it's not just
that it made queer sex legal.... it basically told the country
that we have a fundamental, constitutionally recognized, right
to BE! Which, may seem fairly normal to y?all up here, but
believe me, is an astonishing leap for American jurisprudence!
The liberty language in it is stunning, considering the
source, and provides a precedential foundation for further
legal gains, I think. By acknowledging gay relationships as
legitimate, the Supreme Court gave gay rights in the States a
new credibility in debates about marriage, partner benefits,
adoption and parental rights. And what really stunned me was
that the decision understands that gay sexuality is not just
about sex, it?s about intimacy and relationships. It
acknowledges a real respect for our relationships, for the
families that we?ve chosen and created.
And families are what I want to talk a about tonight. Not
just the families that we?ve chosen and created, but the ones
that God has offered us. The scripture that was read"O look
at the love that God has shown us" ? literally there, what
love the Father, the Parent has given us ? "in letting us
be called children of God. And that?s not just what we?re
called, but what we ARE! The reason the world does not
recognize us is that it never recognized God?s own Firstborn.
Dear ones, we are already the children of God, but what we are
to be in the future has not yet been disclosed."
You know, I think all too often, we don?t feel like
children of God. I want you to imagine something for a minute.
Imagine yourself getting up in the morning... If you?re like
me, you?re pretty groggy.... You stumble into the bathroom....
And -- Oh my God! there?s the mirror!....
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Your mother?s
eyes? Your father?s nose? Your great-uncle Herb?s big ears?
Your maiden aunt Maude?s little mustache? Do you see someone
good-looking, or do you have some other image of yourself? Do
you see your gifts and talents, or your shortcomings? Do you
see your successes or your supposed failures?
When a baby is born, everyone vies to see who she or he
looks like. Often, as a child grows, the resemblance to
parents and siblings just becomes more and more apparent. I
experienced some of that a few weeks ago, when I went to my
family reunion. Someone said to me that they had trouble
recognizing some of their more distant cousins, when they only
saw them every 3 or 5 years or so. And I said, don?t worry...
we?re all getting to the point where we look like our parents,
so just look for people you think are your aunts and uncles,
and that?s your cousins now.
There was this article in the Globe and Mail a couple of
months ago, with the headline "Gayby Boom." It was mainly
about Gay fathers adopting kids, babies, or having babies
through surrogacy. And it was about creating families through
You know, in spite of the recent landmark Court rulings,
gay families still face a lot of legal hurdles, both here and
in the states. But still, that old saying is true... Love
makes a family. Nothing more, nothing less.
You know, it?s funny... Even in families where kids are
adopted, have you ever noticed that the parents and kids
sometimes begin to look alike? And even in families that kids
are born into biologically, there can be some amazing
differences. Of course, part of that may be that almost ALL
babies initially look more like Winston Churchill than anyone
in their immediate family. But even when there?s no genetic
tie to make us look alike, it?s the things like mannerisms,
and the way we move and talk, and the shared history and the
shared family jokes, and the affection, that make us begin to
So, if love makes a family... and God loves us... And God
calls us children of God.... do we resemble God in any way?
When we look in the mirror, do we see someone godly? Do we see
the love that made us family? Do we see any family resemblance
between us and God?
We ought to. Today?s reading began with God?s genuine love
for us. "Look at the love God has shown us, that we should
be called children of God; and that is who we are." That?s
who we are. God has made us family. God is our father and
mother. We often speak of being closer, sometimes, to our
"chosen family" than our families of origin. And God has
chosen US for family. So that?s how we can think
Often, we think of this in terms of "adoption." And that?s
a beautiful metaphor for the way God chooses to love us. But
when John writes about our becoming children of God, it goes
way beyond that. It?s something even more amazing and
profound. John?s talking about a new birth, a new family, a
new relationship. A tie closer than our DNA. Not only does God
choose us, but then we?re BORN into God?s
family. If I were adopt a child, I couldn?t cause that child
to be born again, to carry my genetic make-up. I could simply
choose to love that child just exactly as he or she is. I
love, and I influence with my love, but I cannot get into the
very nature of the person and change that. God can. God?s done
that for us. And it?s something no one can ever take away from
us, anymore than they can take away our DNA.
John tells us "Beloved,look at the love that God has
shown us in letting us be called children of God. And that?s
not just what we?re called, but who we ARE! The reason the
world doesn?t recognize us is that it never recognized God?s
own Firstborn. Dear ones, we are already the children of God,
But what we are to be in the future has not yet been
In other words, God imparts something of the divine into
us, so that we take on a family resemblance. And what we will
become in the future, has not yet been seen. God has great
things in store for us, God?s children. We ain?t seen nothing
yet! So as we grow in faith and maturity, we begin to look
more and more like God. So... when you look in the mirror...
who do you see?