For the past few months, Bondings 2.o has been posting reflections from our readers on the theme “Why We Came, Why We Left, Why We Stayed.” Responses to these stories about the relationships that LGBTQ people and allies have had with the institutional Catholic Church have been overwhelmingly positive. We decided to continue this personal reflection series on a different theme:
“Lazarus, come out! . . . . Unbind him, let him go free.” John 11: 43-44
For many LGBTQ Catholics, the process of coming out–of coming to recognize, affirm, and reveal one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity—is a holy process that involves prayer, reflection, and spiritual conversations with others. Besides enabling a person to have a whole and integrated understanding of oneself, the process often brings the person into a closer and deeper relationship with God.
In the gospel, Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead by calling him forth from the tomb with the invitation, “Lazarus, come out!” After Lazarus emerges in burial linens, Jesus directs the assembled community to “Unbind him, let him go free.” This story resonates with LGBTQ Christians and allies not only because their coming out process feels like moving from death to life, but because they have often been aided in this process by special individuals and communities who helped to unbind them so they could live in honesty and freedom.
Bondings 2.0 is asking our readers to reflect on their own coming out experiences as LGBTQ people or allies. Did the process involve a spiritual dimension for you? Did it change your relationship with God? Were there individuals or communities who were significant aids in the process for you?
We invite you to consider sharing your own story with Bondings 2.0 readers. Tell your story so that others can benefit from your journey, and so to build an archive of faith stories for our church.
To help prompt your reflection on this story, you may want to look at New Ways Ministry’s reflection questions on the Lazarus story which are a part of our “Journeys: Scripture Reflection Series for LGBTQ Persons and Allies” by clicking here.
We will feature highlights from these reader submissions here on the blog. To submit your story, please fill out the form below by May 31, 2019. Please try to keep them to under 800 words.
Submissions may be edited for content and length, and not all submissions may be published. Contact email@example.com with any questions.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, May 13, 2019