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GRITtv: Jacqueline Lewis: Remembering Peter Gomes

Any preacher will tell you that you learn something about their heart and soul in the sermons they preach. I am a preacher, so I can tell you this is the truth.

On a warm and wonderful May Saturday in 1992, Dr. Peter Gomes preached my Princeton Theological seminary commencement, and we learned something about his heart and soul.

Although Dr. Gomes had come out to his Harvard colleagues in 1991, he came out publicly just before accepting the invitation to be our commencement speaker. Our president opposed gay ordination, but did not rescind the invitation. So as the press, our community and the Church listened in, Gomes playfully broke the tension:

“I know that my being here today is the cause of no small consternation for some of you,” Gomes began. “After all, I am… (dramatic pause) black… and I am… (dramatic pause)… Baptist… and I am (dramatic pause)… from Harvard!”

We howled with laughter.

What I remember even more is the way my eyes filled with tears when I heard something this great preacher said near the end of his sermon, called “Lions and Doors.”

Reflecting on the story of a man named Daniel, who was thrown into a lions’ den for being faithful, whose life was spared.

“The moral is not ‘be good and God will save you from Lions. NO, the moral is God is good and if you believe that and remember that you can face the lions, even the church lion, even for lunch and even if they eat you up (which they did not in this case). God is still Good and because of that, so are you.

God is still good, and so are you. Dr. Gomes’ heart and soul knew that the goodness of God means all of God’s people, no matter race or ethnicity, no matter gender or sexual orientation, no matter their station in life are GOOD.

How dare we treat them as otherwise.

Preach it Dr. Gomes. We will miss you! Distributed by Tubemogul.