Louisville Pride continues to be an important part of the True Colors Ministry of Highland Baptist Church, and here’s why: People are broken. Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up in a home where your entire family daily denounces you without realizing it…or perhaps they DO realize it. Can you imagine how it would feel to be told that God–the eternal God of love and justice and righteousness–hates you, not because of anything you’ve done, but because of who you are? Many people live with this experience.
And so here we are, a Baptist Church marching in the Pride parade. I think to myself that people will shrug this action off. They will find it ridiculous at best. Really? A Baptist Church? I gave up on God a long time ago because He gave up on me…
And yet, I continue to be surprised. People clap with gusto. Some even cry. They cry because we are there, letting people know that things aren’t inherently broken. Just like vases, people break because they get dropped.
Sometimes people walk by our booth at the festival and they avert their eyes because the concept of God scares them so much, and that’s okay that they’re not ready to talk about it. They’re just not there yet. Other people cannot wait to talk to us. They get so excited…they have such zest for the Lord that I begin to wonder who is ministering to who. Still others tell their story because it brings them so much pain that they need to share the burden of it with another person, and it seems like nobody else at that festival will listen or will understand because they turned their backs on the church years ago. And of course they would. How could they not with the experience they’ve had? Who could blame them? Especially when the street preachers stand out front and shout to them all that they’re going to Hell.
So we sat at that booth. We sat at that booth for a total of eight and a half hours. And people came up to talk with us. And then people didn’t talk with us. And some of them just wanted a wristband or a tote bag. But some of them…some of them wanted desperately to connect. Some of them shared their stories and promised they would come to visit. Some of them lived four hours away and said they felt happy that a church like ours existed out there somewhere, even if it wasn’t in their home town. Some of them went to the Southern Baptist Seminary and came up and told us they supported us because they felt in their hearts that God was leading us in the direction of love.
We laughed. We cried. We loved.
Some of the people were broken, but together we tried to pick up the pieces and move on. We tried to fit the pieces back together and make a vase, a visibly cracked vase, but a beautiful vase nonetheless. And God was and continues to be the glue that holds it together.