This last week, I traveled with KC’s Heartland Men’s Chorus to Denver and immersed myself amongst 6500 other choir participants from LGBT choruses around the nation and world. We pretty much saturated downtown Denver creating a surreal alternate reality where being gay was the norm and attempting to blend in with heterosexuality was but a distant nightmare. It was such an odd feeling to find myself in a situation where my orientation was really the least interesting thing about me. I’m pretty sure it was the least gay I’ve felt in a long time. Somehow, when everyone is gay… no one is gay. Its just a non-issue – much like how most of my straight roommates don’t think daily about the fact that they have a straight orientation.
Some glimpses of the week through my eyes:
Our final number faded to the thunderous applause of a fullhouse standing ovation followed by a cheering gauntlet of a reception in the lobby of clapping, smiling, teary eyed men and women. I’d never experienced such an engaged audience on this level before… as we’d sung our stories, we’d sung theirs as well.
“I couldn’t help but enjoy your beautiful smiling reactions to our show!” I turned from Jason to the red shirted man on my right sporting bright glittery blue nails. The LA Chorus boy persisted with casual pleasantries before insisting I let him buy me lunch to the tune of, “I’d love to get to know you better!” How weird is it to be in a setting where the question, ‘is he gay,’ is obsolete – rather, I found myself attempting to ascertain through casual conversation, “but does he love Jesus?” The reality of being a Christ-loving minority within a gay minority is striking.
An ocean of candle lights glowed to life across the stage as SF Gay Men’s chorus performed a piece initially sung so many years earlier by their predecessors at a vigil held on the night of Harvey Milk’s assassination. A hair raising chill flooded through me as I reflected on the courage of those men who stood up in song and solidarity to bring attention to the very real and present problem of hate crimes driven by societal discrimination and prejudice.
There wasn’t a whole lot that seemed apparently significant about this next chorus… my 12th I’d seen so far. Yet something was different. As my eyes scanned the 100+ faces of singing men, I tripped. My heart stuttered, my eyes snared by his – something about his presence in song and the bright inner personhood shining through those windows. I lost him after the show in the milieu of 6500 other men and women – but for a few minutes, I shared a precious moment of soul to soul communication with a complete stranger.
“For Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is he. His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.” Columbus Gay Men’s chorus delivered a message of hope and trust (whether they realized it or not) in the sovereignty and redemptive love of Christ. I felt His gentle touch reminding my heart of His constancy and place in my life as my first love… the one and only being who will ever be able to truly satiate my every longing.
I returned to Kansas city with a real sense of renewed joy in my identity of sonship in my Creator. For those brief few days in Denver, I’d felt so very liberated from the common angst of feeling different because of my orientation and instead focused on the things that felt closer to God’s heart. What does it look like to pray and converse more intentionally for my brothers and sisters within the gay community who so desperately need to know Him as their Lord and Savior? How do I daily learn to reset my gaze on Christ, my true source of joy and satisfaction, the author and perfecter of my faith?