A 2023 study from the Williams Institute at the ULCA School of Law shows that over 40% of transgender adults in the United States have attempted suicide.

Additionally, in 2022, The Trevor Project reported that 28% of LGBTQ youth said they had experienced homelessness or housing instability. Of these youth, 40% indicated they had been rejected and turned out of their homes by their parents or family because of their LGBTQ identity.

In the Gospel for this Sunday from the third chapter of Mark, Jesus’ family is attempting to stop him from healing and teaching and casting out demons. People are saying Jesus is crazy and his family is worried that he, and they, might get a bad reputation. People who were crazy were thought to be without God in the ancient beliefs.

However, Jesus rebukes and rejects his family’s attempts, saying, “Who are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and mother.” In other words, I am doing the will of God by healing and casting out demons and forgiving sins and freeing the bound. I am doing God’s work. And anyone who does these works with me is my family.

Jesus creates a new family of those who see God in him and who join him in his works of grace and love and life. Jesus shows us that it clearly doesn’t take DNA to make a family.

And followers of Jesus, the church on earth, is intended to reflect this very nature – a loving family where all who wish to heal the world, do good for the sake of their neighbors, bring life out of death and shed light into dark places…all who wish to take care of the vulnerable and weak and outcast…all who wish to speak God’s truth of graciousness and compassion, of mercy and lovingkindness…where all such humans are embraced and encouraged and received with joy.

This has been the spiritual DNA of Peace since its beginning. This is the spiritual DNA which courses through our veins as we have been knit together into this new family formed in Christ. Jesus has welcomed us – rag tag voyagers in a world that would seek to hold us down – and freed us. He has made us his own. We are family in Christ. We are Christ’s family.

And we are called to be family for all those whom Christ loves.

As Pride month is here, let us at Peace continue to be a safe haven for all who need a new family. Let us continue to be a refuge for those who need safety and warmth. Let us continue to open our doors to those who are hurting and wounded and need healing and hope. Let us be a beacon of Peace in this neighborhood, in our region and in our world. Let us celebrate and affirm and embrace. Even if it means being called crazy or of the devil like Jesus was.