- How has the Spirit of God anointed people you know in the LGBTQ/ally community? Who have been your “oaks of righteousness,” displaying God’s glory in their efforts to gather the tribes of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally people and bring them home?
- Do you feel that parts of the LGBTQ/ally community are still in “ruins” and continue to experience the “devastations of many generations?” Where do you see a need for healing and restoration?
- “For I, YHWH, love justice. I will faithfully recompense you and make an everlasting covenant with you.” Where do you see such divine justice and recompense in LGBTQ/ally history? Where do you perceive God’s everlasting covenant and favor in your own life?
- As an LGBTQ person/ally, how do you experience “garlands of flowers,” “the oil of gladness” and the “mantle of praise” in the sacramental/social life of your church or faith community? How can you be an oak of righteousness to those who still experience “ashes,” “tears” and “despair?”
- “My God has clothed me with a robe of deliverance and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.” Robes are a frequent motif in the Bible. From Joseph’s coat of many colors to the white robes of the saints in the Book of Revelation, this garment has come to symbolize many different things. How do you imagine God’s “robe of deliverance” for you? Given your spiritual journey this Advent, what type of robe best suits you at this time?
The following video showcases the genius of technology in gathering together the musical tribes of the Metropolitan Opera and Chorus who have been exiled from their familiar places because of the pandemic. They gathered to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s chorus, “Va, pensiero,” from the opera “Nabucco.”
Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Verdi’s composition, also known as the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves,” is based on Psalm 137 and recollects the period of the Babylonian captivity after the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem circa 586 BCE, the catastrophic event which preceded the joyous return of the Israelites to Jerusalem in the Isaiah reading.
Embedded in the chorus is the Hebrew experience of the exile. The melancholy in the words, though, could well be the soulful, exilic prayer of an LGBTQ pilgrim yearning for home.
Included below is the English translation of the Italian lyrics.