On my way to church, I saw the news, some nightclub named the pulse had a terrorist shooter, 20 dead. It wasn’t until RIGHT before we got there that I found out that this was specifically “Gay Club” (inclusive of the greater queer community, but known locally and colloquially as a “Gay Club”).
It wasn’t til after church that I learned the shooter used the same terrible weapon that has been used in so many mass shootings. Not until I was home on the couch, did I understand that the shooter may have been an extremist ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacker. Not until late afternoon did it become known to me (and no doubt others) that it was Latin Night.
And, the more I learned, the more I lamented.
In the Bible, Lament is about justice, a specific Injustice….one that provokes the question, how long!
Sarai lamented her infertility and asked how long…
Esther lamented her people’s persecultion and asked how long….
Job lamented his life of misfortune and asked how long….
Lament is powerful, because it is the reaction to a specific injustice.
It neither minimizes or generalizes the issue. It does not speak of a general crime against humanity. It bespeaks a particular brokenness that the world needs to address.
Lament is for those issues only God seems to be listening to….
Madeline L’engle is very wise about the importance of a God who loves us and calls us each by name. I keep thinking how important this is in the LGBTQIA community. The importance to be able to identify themselves by their gender & sexuality. I think of the importance of not dead-naming a trans individual. To call them by their true name, instead of miscasting who they are. I think of the importance of my sister to change from Nathaniel to Noelle (the name we would have given her had she been a girl and SURPRISE turns out she always one).
Madeline L’engle cites how Evil works through erasure, Un-Naming and ignoring people and issues. Language is as much a part of their business as war and hate is.
““I think your mythology would call them fallen angels. War and hate are their business, and one of their chief weapons is un-Naming – making people not know who they are. If someone knows who he is, really knows, then he doesn’t need to hate. That’s why we still need Namers, because there are places throughout the universe like your planet Earth. When everyone is really and truly Named, then the Echthroi will be vanquished.”
― Madeleine L’Engle,
Jesus laments, God laments. God weeps with us individually. Not saying “That’s happened before” or “Life just sucks” or “That’s not important in the grand scheme of things”
and so We Lament, because its an act of reconcilation, its an act of Naming, its a cry to change things.
My siblings. My trans-sisters of color, my gay friends who love to dance, my bisexual colleagues. I lament.
How long will people preach hate as the word of God? How long will violent people have easy-access to terrible weapons? How long will we “other” people? How long can we teach hate instead of hope? How long O Lord? How long will the suffering of the LGBTQIA people be tolerated and accepted? How long will kisses be rationalization for violence? How long will I have to explain to my children that this kind of hate exists?
I lament that LGBTQIA community was targeted on Latin night, that they were targeted, hurt, murdered and have been emotionally gouged and ripped apart. I lament.
My soul hurts, my heart wails, my words fail, so I lament, and then I get to work on this specific injustice.
I’m campaigning for safe spaces for the queer community, I will speak against homophobia. I will work for queers in relationships to be able to give blood and against access to automatic weapons. I will work for love and against hate, even as I continue to lament, because lamenting is part of the work.