This past weekend I was honored to attend the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Bay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests, also known as BMC. Rainbow has been connected with BMC since 1990.
During BMC’s Sunday morning worship, preacher Regina Shands-Stoltzfus offered some Psalm 23 reflections. She shared how so many of the psalms give voice to our experiences of orientation and disorientation, abundance and scarcity, hope and pain, justice and injustice. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” Regina repeated, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow, though I walk through the valley, though I walk through, though I walk….I walk…..I….walk.”
We continue to walk through and in shadows, we continue to face enemies and oppressive forces, and while we don’t always arrive, we search nonetheless for those rainbow-colored pastures, overflowing cups, still waters, and fabulously-set tables, trusting or at least hoping that we are not alone in this search.
In preparation for BMC’s celebratory weekend, my good friend and Mennonite colleague Joanna Harader and I collaborated to write our own BMC-style Psalm 23 (see below). To say we collaborated might be a stretch; I was more the cheerleader for the fabulous, unicorn-chasing Joanna.
The Holy One is our shepherd, we have enough:
enough love and longing
enough community and compassion
enough sacred and sassy
enough fierceness and fabulousness
They make us lie down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters and restore our souls:
at BMC gatherings
at Connecting Families
at Pink Menno rooms
at this place, right here, right now.
You lead and accompany [us] / into the path of justice and solidarity, / and [we] find integrity in your way.
the way of speaking out and listening well
the way of deep love and deep pain
the way of celebration and protest
the way of dancing and wall-demolition
Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death
where we are talked about, but not to
where our giftedness is not received
where our relationships are not honored
where we are labeled and cast aside
We will fear no evil, for you are with us; your rod and your staff, they comfort us.
We lean on your Word that speaks love and justice
We lean on your people, who speak acceptance and life
We lean on your church where it is open, affirming, and welcoming of our whole selves
We lean on your Spirit of praise, protection, and protest
You prepare a table before us
this table made from fallen walls
this table covered with all the colors of the rainbow
this table of fountains and fruits and abundance
this table where we are welcome
In the presence of our enemies . . .
people and principalities
polities, procedures, and processes
“dialog” and “discernment”
resolutions and yet another task force
You anoint our heads with oil
the oil of blessing
for lives that are holy and whole, sacred and fabulous
the oil of commissioning
that we might go forth in our fierceness to tear down walls and set spectacular tables
Our cups overflow
our joy overflows
our hearts overflow
our queer and queer-loving selves overflow
with the abundance you pour out
Surely rainbows and unicorns will follow us all the days of our lives
and we will dwell in the fabulous house of the Divine forever.
 From Murphy Davis
Here are some more reflections and photos from BMC’s 40th anniversary weekend:
Last but not least, we at Rainbow have been busy writing and publishing our own Psalm 23 adaptations. Copies of these Psalm 23 magazines are now available for a $10 donation.