Remembering Matthew – 10/12/13

This was originally posted this day in 2011. As I begin to ponder my homily for All Saints Day, I remember Matthew.

 

October 12. 2011
No Tears for Queers

Remembering Matthew Shepard
December 1. 1976 – October 12, 1998

History teaches us that eventually things get turned upside down. During their lives, saints are often misunderstood. When will we learn to be thoughtful about who we label saint or sinner? Pay attention because saints come in ways that we’re all too often not prepared for.

There are many things that could be said on the anniversary of Matthew’s death and undoubtedly there will be no shortage of reflections about a life that could have been.  I started to wonder what Matthew would have to say. I started to wonder about how Matthew feels now. In prayer it came to me – pray to Matthew and trust in the Spirit.

“I’m no saint and don’t make me out to be one.” At my funeral, I saw a sign that read “no tears for queers” and I agree. Tears are for the children of God not for the labels by which we’re defined.  I knew my truth because I listened to God speak through my heart. My truth is His truth and it empowers me to be who I am. LGBT brothers and sisters, its ok – God made it so.  Parents, brothers, sisters, neighbors, strangers, friends, foes, saints and sinners, like it or not, God made it so.

The funny thing about truth is that we don’t really understand the freedom it brings. Being a truth teller is hard and telling ourselves the truth even harder. Most people don’t get it. But when they do tell themselves the truth about who they are and live steadfastly into their truth they begin to live their lives out loud. I can’t tell you the truth about yourself – not my job. My job is to know my truth and to share it with you. Living my life out loud inspired others to start living their lives out loud. They began to wonder what their truth was and perhaps find the courage to tell themselves and others that truth and begin to live their lives out loud.  What if we lived in a world where everyone lived their lives out loud…it might look a lot like “God’s Kingdom.” They would be so busy living their own lives that they wouldn’t have time to live our lives too

Live out loud, find fresh vision; love so deeply that you’re free to face the future with a steady eye forgiven and strong in hope.

On a cold dark Wyoming night, naked, beaten and tied to a fence, I realized I was living my life out loud. I was naked before God, strong in hope, full of forgiveness, very much at peace, and free.

Love,
Matthew

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