Pastor Kenny delivered the Invocation at the Senate of Virginia on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
Reflections on the State of Virginia Senate Session …
It was quite an honor and privilege to be asked to lead the Invocation at the Virginia Senate Session. When asked to lead the prayer I was given specific directions to be inclusive regarding gender, race and faith traditions as well as being non-partisan and not political … it was the latter that concerned me! As I was leaving the Senate Chamber, five senators … all Democrats … got out of their seats to shake my hand and thank me for the prayer. I was especially touched by one Senator who said: Thank you for respecting me and honoring my faith. After the prayer, I was recognized and thanked publicly by the Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who said You are welcome back anytime.
I can easily remember the days when no one was asking me to share a prayer or inviting me back for anything. Times when no one would shake my hand. Times when I felt disrespected and discarded in many ways, times when through the pain and brokenness of life I wondered if there really was a God, if God existed and for what purpose was my life, not to mention being angry at God. I couldn’t help think about the early days of MCC when churches were burned, people were arrested, or even lost their lives simply because they wanted to worship or hear again the message of God’s transforming love and that God loves all people just the way they are.
God has brought lots of healing, love and integrity to my life, to MCC Richmond and UFMCC. It is now written in history that the Senators in the Virginia General Assembly were lead in prayer by a gay man who serves as pastor of MCC Richmond within UFMCC. God continues to do what many say is the impossible … things we never could imagine. Who would have thought the Senate of Virginia would proudly call out the name of MCC Richmond and welcome us back? Did Rev. Elder Troy Perry and the founders of our movement ever think that MCC would be asked to lead a prayer within any legislature … and be thanked not to mention invited back?
While this is a great day let us remember with God’s help we still have works of justice, inclusion, healing and mercy to do within ourselves, our community and our world. The fact remains there are those in our communities and world who continue to suffer from marginalization and oppression. There are those who continue to be arrested and murdered for living their true self while also living as God’s Beloved. As we continue to work for justice of ALL God’s Beloved let us recognize how the Divine continues to work in and through us.
It’s with this attitude that I invite you to join me in celebrating this blessed day. It’s a good day for me to be reminded of God’s radical transforming love. It’s a blessed day for MCC Richmond recognizing its positive impact on the City of Richmond and the State of Virginia. It’s also a blessed day for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Churches as we celebrate the unbelievable ways God continues to work in, through and among us all … the Beloved of God!