For the past twelve years, the Bridge of Light celebration has added to the beauty and goodness of my celebrations in the winter holiday season. In North America, the temperatures are cold and the ground may be covered with frost or snow. Everywhere you look, people celebrate festivals of light as a reminder of the enduring spirit of hope, faith, and love in times of darkness. The Bridge of Light is a celebration of the best of the human spirit.
And so the lighting of the Bridge of Light candles as they are arranged in 2017 — six for the colors of the rainbow plus three more for the principles of unity and solidarity — arrives at a time for us to bring our unique spirit as members of the LGBTQ community fully into our spirituality. We honor that which makes us unique not by stripping away our particular gifts in the service of some goal of assimilation into a suffocating culture, but by integrating our best and deepest and highest unique self into our Ultimate Identity, the True Self which is known in the Great Traditions as Spirit, God, or Emptiness.
Today more than ever before religion is losing its legitimacy and influence with the younger generations in the developed world. According to some surveys, as many as 75% of the American generation between the ages of 18 and 29 considers themselves “spiritual but not religious”. At the same time, young people are more likely than ever before to support the dignity of homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons. It is my hope that Bridge of Light will speak compellingly to those who are skeptical of old fashioned religiosity because it is a spiritual holiday which requires no specific dogma and is not exclusive to any one religion.
There are many reasons to light the candles in honor of the Bridge of Light, but the one that speaks most to me is the vision which states that persons in the LGBTQ community exist in ways and love in ways that reflect the fullest nature of the divine itself, or Spirit itself. And no vision of God, divinity, Spirit, or nirvana is complete without including an awareness of the ways in which gayness, bisexuality, and gender diversity unfold in our midst. Deep in the roots of our persons, we are “properly ordered”, not disordered or sick or sinful, and the Bridge of Light helps us to hold up a mirror to God which shows the truth about the full beauty and goodness of our being and our ways of loving.
I first spoke to this vision of Bridge of Light in my original Founder’s Statement and in my book Soulfully Gay (see Entry for December 1, 2004, and subsequently), which I hope you will read if the spiritual dimensions of the holiday are of interest to you.
September 5, 2017