My goodness you are in fine voice tonight!
Now, I know it’s Christmas
And what do we do at Christmas?
We go home.
And that’s why I’m here with you tonight.
I wanted to be at home with my family at Christmas time.
I wanted to say a big thank you to the LGBT community for the love and support you’ve showered on me since I wrote my piece in the Irish Times.
Up until May 2015 I never knew I had such a wonderful family
(I certainly never knew they had such beautiful singing voices!)
And for you and me, it’s all been about voice; hasn’t it?
You and me; we’ve shared a common journey.
We had to find our voice
We had to find our inner truth
We had to find the courage to speak it
To throw away the masks
To be real.
To be true to our selves.
It took me a long time to find my voice but I am so glad I did.
Because as Martin Luther King said:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”
We shrivel up as human beings if we don’t speak our truth; if we don’t speak from our conscience and for me as a person of faith, conscience is the voice of God that echoes in the depths of each one of us.
Our truth comes from the God within us; not from any institution.
And if God doesn’t have a problem with us, why should anyone else?
Last year the people of Ireland threw their arms around us and set us free
to be equal citizens with everyone else.
It was a magnificent act of love.
And it is all about love
We come from love. We are love. We go back to love.
God is love
It was love that first prompted me to speak up because I believed our love is as good as anyone else's love
Love is love. There is no inequality in love
And that’s why it saddens me that the church I belong to and love has yet to accept us the way the Irish people have.
It is important for our flourishing as human beings that we have a vibrant faith community that welcomes and loves us; a place where we can be ourselves without fear or constraint. A place where we are affirmed; where we’re told we’re ok.
We need to hear the good news of the Gospel in a place that totally respects us for who we are, exactly as we are.
We need to look after one another.
Over the years, thanks to the Unitarian Church here on Stephens Green; to you Reverend Spain and to wonderful Catholics such as Brian Glennon and others, the LGBT community has been trying to grow its own faith community to meet that need.
You have kept the candle burning in the darkness.
But I have a dream that one day all the churches will fling open their doors to their LGBT brothers and sisters
That a blaze of warmth and love will welcome us home.
That we will be granted equality in marriage and treated the same in every respect with others in the church.
That we will be accepted and loved in our wholeness as human beings
That anything that divides the people of God, even labels like “Gay” and “Straight” will be replaced by brother and sister.
Because we are all one
Just like our love.
We are all the same in God.
Unitarian Church, Stephen’s Green, Dublin. 10th December 2016