With Holy Week beginning, Bondings 2.0 highlights a new LGBTQ-specific resource for reflection during this sacred time.
Search Me: A Way of the Cross in Solidarity with the LGBTQ Community, written by John T. Kyler and released by Clear Faith Publishing, follows the traditional pattern for praying the Stations of the Cross but with the perspective of LGBTQ people in mind. As Kyler explains in his introduction:
“Each station begins with a prayer for self-awareness and a specific event from Jesus’s Passion before offering a reflection from the Roman Catholic LGBTQ community to help better acknowledge the lived reality of the Paschal Mystery. By uniting our own experiences with those of others, we are willing to proclaim that the Way of the Cross is a way of solidarity. The closing prayer at the end of each station recognizes this ideal and calls each of us to conversion for the times we have failed to live and love as we are called.”
The pairing of a scriptural verse with a personal testimony from an LGBTQ person highlights this connection. While the testimonies are honest about the discrimination that LGBTQ people face, including in the Catholic Church, the book also offers Resurrection hope–as any Stations of the Cross does. For station six, when Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, the testimonial describes being gay as “one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.” Likewise, for station ten, when Jesus is stripped of his garments, the testimonial names being gay as giving the writer “a deeper sense of empathy for people and groups who choose (and keep choosing) to be a part of the church despite the obstacles placed in their way.”
While Search Me is written for anyone to use, it might be especially good not only for LGBTQ people butfor non-LGBTQ people looking to grow as allies. The testimonies create moments of encounter. But perhaps more importantly in this season of repentance, the prayers call to mind the ways people fail to be as inclusive and loving as Christ intends for his disciples. It is important to be honest about how far we have to go before the church and the world are truly affirming of LGBTQ people.
Search Me is a resource for personal reflection or communal prayer that can be used throughout the year. More information about the book, including how to purchase it, is available here.
—Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, April 9, 2022