“Time is too short for me to tell stories of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. Through faith they overthrew kingdoms, established justice, saw God’s promises fulfilled. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of fire, escaped death by the sword.”
When I read those words this morning, other saints came to mind, saints alive today, saints who with courage and humility, quiet confidence and integrity, are establishing justice and fulfilling God’s promises. They are makers of the Kingdom of God and I am privileged to have met each one of them.
In Kenya, I thought of David Kuria, standing for election as an openly gay man; Dan Onyango and Fred Odinga from Kisumu, rescuing LGBTI people from arrest and imprisonment; Michael Kimindu, engaging brother bishops in truth; Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa, a rare African bishop, affirming LGBTI people.
In Uganda I remember Frank Mugisha and Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, representing oppressed LGBTI Ugandans on the global stage, confronting government and church with truth in love.
In Canada I thought of Maurice Tomlinson, campaigning for gay rights in Jamaica. In Guyana, Ryon Rawlins, a young man craving safety for himself and LGBTI Guyanians.
In the USA, Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, Bishop Gene Robinson, Susan Russell, and many other members of Integrity and the Epsicopal Church who are working for the full inclusion of all God’s people.
I hesitate to start naming people in the UK, so let me choose just one, a man who joined the communion of saints this year – Canon Eric James – a holy and flawed man, the same as all of us, who manifested a commitment for justice and truth and a profound love of God in his life.
These are but some of the myriads of God’s saints alive and at work in God’s world today. They are, like the saints of old, transforming people’s vision of God, expanding consciousness and, in faith, overthrowing kingdoms of injustice.