Given By Rev. Madison Shockley October 15, 2017 at Pilgrim UCC in Carlsbad CA

On this coming out Sunday, we receive inspiration from both today’s coming out story and the reading from the first letter of John. Our church has offered, and will continue to offer, leadership in the fight for the rights of all LGBTQ individuals. Churches should lead this fight because we have the greatest resource, God. God is love. Jesus was constantly working with those who had been cast out or on the margins of society. He defended, helped, protected, and fought for them. Today, the LGBTQ community is under attack by our own government. It is trying to reverse the gains from the last 30 years. This is being done in the name of religious freedom. When the government start to enforce religious liberty in favor of only one perspective of one religion, that is a constitutional crisis.  This is why we should continue to lead this fight, not out of a political foundation but from our faith foundation. John reminds us the those who abide in love, abide in God. That is what Jesus taught us. When a person confesses their belief in Jesus, they become our brother or sister. We must accept them.  God abides in them. There is no fear in love. These laws are filled with fear and punishment. They have nothing to do with God’s love. God’s words tell us that those who say they love God but hate their brothers or sisters, are liars. The only question that matters is how can I love you.