We Are God’s Work Of Art.
By Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay
In the city we are accustomed to seeing many art works on display, some of us have artworks in our homes and we see them in the market places, in art galleries all over the world for some art lovers.
God is an artist, who built humankind to God’s pleasure and taste, God works ceaselessly and tirelessly and effortlessly to shape the work of art, that work of art is you, and me, we are molded and built according to God’s purpose.
An artist work with tools, different types of artists different types of tools, imagine the craft artist making a life like object, imagine the potter carefully molding from clays, and the ceramic artist putting the final touches on the paint work, imagine the portrait artist completing the replica of a family photo. We have seen artist at work trying to draw a portrait of a person and often we recognize the person through the work of the artist.
The bible tell us “All things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being, what has come into being in him was life and the life was light of all the people” John 1:3-4
Similarly when an artist is working on a project, it never comes to life until the last paint is dotted or wood has been peeled. Often there is a ceremony to unveil the beauty of the artwork. And then people who see it will be amazed. And then they will come closer to view and make comments on the beauty, the dedication, and the hard work of the artist producing perfect results.
Lets us pray.
Loving God, Holy artist, we are your work of art created in Christ Jesus. Help us to live the good life you intended for each of us and for our community, we know that God sees through the heart of all matters and to the heart of our matters. Like an artist who believe in their work, God, please express your confidence in our creativity through this scripture, as I bring your word to your people, let us acknowledge that we are good and that we are capable of doing good, and all the Divas, (divinely inspired victoriously anointed) say amen.
“You were dead to trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world…”
Following the course of this world, many of us who are not heterosexuals have been forced to conform to the world, we marry the wrong gender and make their lives miserable, we try to please our families, conform with culture and popular faith traditions, often like the wrong artist’s tool we don’t fit in, we try to blend in but often we fail awfully. We were dead through the trespasses and sins of trying to be who we are not, trying to be butch when we are effeminate, trying to be effeminate when we are butch, we come up with fancy walks by putting our hands in our pockets so we can conform to walking on a straight line, but often we fall, darling divas, we are divinely inspired and victoriously anointed, so we can walk with our heads high and relax, show the attitude and beauty of the holy artist, who made all the curves and the contours.
Our lives as heterosexuals or what society wanted us to be is over, tell someone “its over,” the bible says “once lived” but now that we are in Christ, now that we are on the way to reconcile sexuality with spirituality, we can understand 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says “so if anyone is on Christ there is a new creation, everything old has passed away; see everything has become new.” We are a new gay or lesbians Christians, we are able to tell people that God is the incredible artist that spent immeasurable time creating us.
We don’t have to pretend to be who we are not.
You can stand in front of the mirror butt naked and admire the beauty of God, you can feel your heart beat when you acknowledge the beauty of a man or woman that walks pass you, I don’t mean lust after them, you can say that you spent the weekend with Joseph who you are madly in love with and not Josephine the fictitious girlfriend who is often absent at the office Christmas party, “well oga she go village”.
Let me tell you when we work in disobedience we say to God I don’t like the way you created me, the bible tells us that this is a spirit that is at work among those who are disobedient.
We are by nature children of wrath because we live in the world, but we don’t have to be like the people of the world “if the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you, (Jesus declared to his disciples) if you belonged to the world the world would love you as its own, because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world therefore the world hates you” John 15:18-19.
We don’t have to do the things the world want us to do, if we become strong and bold and say we are gays which means God Accepts You, then our family and cultural heritage will have to understand. Often we are afraid to tell people the truth, the bible says and you shall no the truth and the truth shall set you free.
I Peter 2:9-10 “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people”
We belong to the holy artist, if we are rejected by the world we live in, then don’t be surprise because they don’t know us, but let me tell you, don’t expect the world to love you, until we proclaim the mighty acts of our holy artist, who called us out of the darkness of homophobia, the violence and victimization, the rejection and ostracism, the mental slavery and spiritual bondage into relationship and light of Jesus our redeemer, comforter.
Verse 4-5, Ephesians 2, “But God who is rich in mercy, out of great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved”
The artist who owns the brushes, the paints, the colors, the tools, out of passion and love for us created us gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgender, and some heterosexuals, if I told you that the real minorities are heterosexuals will you believe? This is a fact, there are many more same gender loving people, if they will acknowledge and admit, but how will they when they live in world that hates them. It is the love of God that enable us to reconcile sexuality with spirituality and not be judged or condemned, Romans said and “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (8:1) also said “but God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” I tell you, out of that great love we are called dearly beloved, out of that great love we can say we are divas.
Verse 8-10 “for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast, For we are what God has made us (LGBTI) created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand to be the way of life.”
Finally, We can run but we cannot hide, we are God’s treasure and the bible is clear, we are what God has made us, we are LGBTI people, prepared beforehand to be the way of life, we only need to come to the throne of grace and mercy, because we have been saved through faith in God, it is not by power nor is it by might but the gift of God, not the result of our hard work. God made us and we are wonderfully made, created in Christ Jesus for good works, that is why 1 Peter 3:8-9 tells us “Finally all of you have unity of spirit sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart and a humble mind, do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse, but on the contrary repay with a blessing. It is for this that you are called, that you might inherit a blessing”
Tell somebody you are blessed, if we go by the measure of hatred we experience from our families, neighbors, employers and general public, we will be subjected to everlasting pain. However, we are considered a blessing and we are Divas (divinely inspired victoriously anointed). Every negative headline and media campaign against our church we consider them a blessing, because I believe and I hope you will join me by faith that we would rather be a blessing to our community than gather evil or insult against their bigotry.
We are God’s work of art, regardless of how the world sees us, but we can display the beauty of God’s work by taking time to walk the walk and talk the talk of the beauty of the Holy artist in our lives. Tell somebody you are God’s work of art. Amen
Thursday, 10 February 2011
The Ineffable Love Of God
By Rowland Jide Macaulay
House Of Rainbow Fellowship
4th and 9th February 2011
Psalm 139:13-14 “For it was you (God) who formed my inward parts (the parts of me I have no control of, such as my senses, feelings, my thoughts etc); you knit (made, formed, mould, construct) me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works (creation including me)”.
King David spoke these words in Psalm 139 v 13-14, I cannot but imagine the love of God for all people, for you and for me, for many people hiding from God and truly afraid to be themselves.
How many of us can truly imagine what we would do without God, how would our parents feel, knowing how much God loved them that he formed us, made us, moulded us in our mother’s womb? How many of us can say that we know ourselves well and what we are capable of doing? How many of us are willing to allow God to take control of all of our anxieties and pains?
How can we be assured of the ineffable love of God? For many Christians it began with the love of God to the world, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”. John 3:16-17.
At the purification ceremony of Jesus, Luke made a further clarification of the love of God which was witnessed by Simeon and Anna in the Gospel of Luke 2: 30-32 (paraphrased) “... Simeon said for my eyes have seen your salvation, (Salvation brought by the extent of the love of God) which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, (an indication that all are called to share in this Salvation, without prejudice or discrimination) a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Romans 9:19-21, “You will say to me then, ‘Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ 20But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is moulded say to the one who moulds it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use?”
I believe today that God has created us for a very special use, to liberate the world of its ignorance of marginalised minorities, it is the same God that helped Black people to overcome discrimination on the grounds of their race, it is the same God that delivered women from sexism, and I believe the same God will deliver sexual minorities from the pain the world has caused us. (AMEN).
Who can resist the will of God to be who they are, Just as they are? What are the challenging that you are facing, the burdens that you bare? God can handle it? Many of us have complained to God, why have you made me Black or White?, why am I jobless, why am I going through all these problems, many of us have spoken against God in our moments of desperation, but you know I believe God knows best and that is why the Bible says who can resist God’s will?, who can argue with God? If he made you straight then you are straight, if he made you gay then you are gay? If you are Nigerian nothing can change that, What we do with what God has given us and where he has placed matters most, the gift of God for us is for a reason.
Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw everything that he had made and indeed, it was very good” ofcourse that includes Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans and Intersex people, it includes healthy people and those very ill, it includes people of all race, sizes and religions, from every part of the earth.
Today, I want us to focus on the ineffable love of God, unimaginable, immeasurable, unbelievable love of God goes beyond human understanding, it goes beyond the love of parents or family.
Today we may struggle with our human identity, let us pray for our families, our friends and those who also face prejudices because of us, let us hold them in our thoughts.
I cannot end this short talk without a mention of our friend David Kato who was murdered in Uganda last week, he was a fine man, a fighter, a man who was not selfish but stepped out of the shadows to speak out, he stood up for the equal rights of LGBT people, he spoke against the Nations media and against the anti-gay bill, he spoke so loud that it cost him his life. In Micah 6:8, Micah spoke to the persecutors and the persecuted, he said. “Hear what the LORD says:...O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”. I believe that David Kato dedicated his life to do justice, love kindness and walk with God. What are you prepared to do?
God’s ineffable love is evident, and we need not worry anymore, Romans 9:25-26 “Those who were not my people I will call “my people”, and her who was not beloved I will call “beloved”. And in the very place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”, there they shall be called children of the living God.”
The ineffable love of God goes beyond human comprehension and I want us to rethink what our definition of love is, when we say we love God do we really mean this, are we able to express such unimaginable love to God through the people around us?
The love of God is recognisable in Isaiah’s prophesy, “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness”, God’s love can also be recognised through our actions to share each other’s burdens and in our deeds to speak out for justice and show that we care.
(SLOWLY) “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister* whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen”. 1 John 4:16b-20.
Give God a chance and accept that he loves you unconditionally, GAY means God Adores You, God Accepts You, God Affirms You, God Accompany You, it doesn’t matter if you are heterosexual, married or unmarried, if you are LGBT, if you are healthy or ill, if you are wealthy or poor, if you live in the city of Village. What we do know is that God loves you because he knew you, formed you from your mother’s womb. God bless you all. Amen.
Friday, 4 February 2011
A prayer for David Kato, for LGBTI people, friends, allies, relatives and families.
We are free to worship God without fear; Holy and righteous all the days of our life.
God of glory and unquenchable Spirit,
May your Son direct us afresh to the fire of your presence
Where nothing may amaze us more than your love
Nothing may inspire us more than your forgiveness
And nothing may dazzle us more than your beauty.
Disclosed to us in your world, your story and your Son Jesus Christ our Lord and also in our understanding of same gender love, a refreshing path to reconcile with you just as we are.
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord
Whom to know is eternal life
Whose service is perfect freedom
Defend us your servant, whom you called Beloved
From all assaults of our enemies
That we, surely trusting in your defence
May not fear the power of any adversaries
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Tender God, gentle protector in time of trouble.
Pierce the gloom of despair and give us, with all your people, our friends, allies, families, at home and abroad, The song of freedom and the shout of praise
In Jesus Christ our Lord.
God, remember not only the men and women of goodwill but all those of ill will. Do not only remember all the suffering they have subjected us to. Remember the fruits of our solidarities and campaigns, our comradeship, loyalty, humility, courage, generosity and the greatness of heart that all will be inspired. Amen
Lighting of candles to remember David Kato and those tragically killed, maimed or injured because they are LGBTI.
Followed by the Prayer that Jesus thought us, “Our Father who art in heaven”.