Christ the King Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays of the year. I am sure that most of you have picked up on the fact that I love big, bombastic, shake-the-room organ music, and this is one of the Sundays where that really fits. It is a wonderful celebration of Christ’s majesty and splendor, and typically we also focus on the Thanksgiving holiday. Give me all of that to go on, and you might have to bring your ear plugs!
While I always look forward to this Sunday and all it represents, this year it is particularly special to me. In September, I was asked to take on a new role as the artistic director and conductor of the re-formed and newly minted Greenville Gay Men’s Chorus. I accepted the position, and I have loved every single minute of the job!
Ten years ago, I was attending classes at Bob Jones University and doing everything I could to disguise, hide and even change my homosexuality. I prayed that God would take it away, like I know so many people have been told to do. I hated myself when God did not change me. I went through a cycle of repentance, walking the “straight” and narrow, and failure over and over; and when I was finally faced with the choice of God or gay, I turned away from God with barely a second thought. I just could not bring myself to believe that God would make me this way, then surround me with people who taught me what God created was not good; so I chose not to believe in God anymore. At that point in my life, if someone had told me that not only would I be back in a Baptist church someday, but that I would also be conducting a gay men’s chorus in the Choir Room every Thursday night, I would have laughed in that person’s face.
I cannot help but see God’s sense of humor in all of this, but I also see God’s love, patience and care. I grew up being told that if I didn’t follow God, I would eventually be left without God. I would be “given over to my sin.” I would be lost and alone. But not only did God not do that, God allowed me to learn that I could be exactly who I was created to be.
A few weeks ago, Kyle gave the children’s sermon, and he told the children that they are good because God made them good. What a wonderful truth to hold on to! God doesn’t make mistakes. God made me who I am, and I am good.
What’s my point? As we head into Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so many things, but in this moment, I am especially thankful that God didn’t give up on me when I gave up on God. I am thankful that God did not allow me to believe the lies that said I had to choose between impossible choices. I am thankful that I can stand up in my Baptist church in front of a family of God that loves and supports me and conduct a gay men’s chorus. I am especially thankful that I get to do it all for the glory of God!