Brisbane Cathedral has held a “Pride Evensong” this last Sunday where prayers addressed Jesus as “Erotic Christ”.
The service, held as part of a wider “Pride” festival in Brisbane, is now an annual event at the Cathedral.
The sermon was given by the Dean of the Cathedral, Peter Catt, who is currently advocating for the blessing of same-sex unions both in the wider media and at the Brisbane synod in direct contradiction of long-established church doctrine and teaching.
The service sheet [pdf] shows that the liturgy was built around the 1662 evensong service with additional intercessions that davidould.net understands were drawn from a “Rainbow Christ” prayer and include the following:
Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: Heaven and Earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation, and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.
The sermon [pdf], which referenced neither the Old Testament reading from Esther nor the New Testament reading from Mark, was entitled “Queering the City of the God” and is embedded below.
Catt seeks to explain the significance of the different flags that were prominently displayed in the Cathedral and also explores the significance of the term “Queer”. He then briefly examines Gal. 3:28,
I think this one of the most profound insights found in the New Testament, one which the church has rarely allowed to shape its approach to people. The ordination of women over the past thirty years has seen us struggling to get back to first base. Paul highlights the three great divisions of humanity at the time and as I see it this invites each generation to discern what are the similarly great divisions of its day.
Next he draws upon the work of Sarah Coakley to reflect upon the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Trinity is our Queering principle, that which invites us to defy binaries and labels.
Finally, he returns to discuss the flags,
The pride flag is displayed daily here at St John’s along with our other welcome flags. As well as standing as a symbol of welcome and affirmation to those who identify as belonging to the gender and sexuality diverse community, it has also acted as welcoming beacon to people who do not identify as members of that community but who expect not to be made welcome in a church for some other reason. The pride flag has become a powerful symbol of inclusion; a magnet for those who long for their membership of humanity to be recognised in community.
Once again a Cathedral is being used to heavily promote a doctrine contrary to the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Book of Common Prayer, the repeated decisions of General Synod, the 2018 agreement of the bishops (of which Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Brisbane was a party) and, not least, the Scriptures.
images from St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane Facebook page.