Best Actor for “Milk”

The Academy Awards always serve to remind me of the amazing positive contribution films make in our world.  I am also reminded of the array of people with a creative passion who are behind these films.  Tonight was no different … except that the presentation was spectacular!

In the weeks leading up to this year’s awards, many have remarked on the films nominated and their social commentary.  By all accounts we knew that Slum Dog Millionaire would make the sweep that it did.   Still, I was moved that this film focused in the poverty of the old Bombay (present Mumbai), India with no cast of well known stars was truly seen and appreciated.  When you think about that and look back over the years, you realize the movement — however slow — that we are making.

My greatest moments of celebration, however, were when “Milk” won Best Original Screenplay and when Sean Penn was awarded Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Harvey Milk.  It was sad, but not surprising to hear that there were protesters outside the site of the Awards.  However,  the prevailing voice is the witness of the ages in films that retell the stories of those gay and lesbian people who have gone before us in courage.

This morning as I looked out at the congregation, I saw the wonderful community of people worshiping together — those who are single, gay and straight; couples gay and straight;  families with children, gay and straight, African American, Asian, European American.  People of all ages.  Slowing, imperfectly, we seek to live into God’s kingdom. We celebrate and give thanks that God reconciles us to God and each other, healing our brokenness through the incarnation in Jesus Christ.

It breaks my heart that the gospel of God’s Christ has been so often distorted and misused to sustain hatred and violence against God’s people.  Whether that fear and hatred has been against women, or people of color, or people of other religions, or people who are gay, it is a sign of our sin and brokenness.  But we are assured that God is reconciling the world to Godself; therefore we may trust and know that the sins of racism, homophobia, and sexism are being and will be transformed into the right relationship of God’s realm.

Indeed, our world is still full of fear and prejudice, of deep seeded homophobia and racism, but I am reminded day by day that the hatred never wins.  For Love is always stronger than hate.  And Life is always stronger than death.  Thanks be to God.

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