Big Jesus will be at Pride’s throughout the UK in 2016
Where would Jesus be if he was on Earth? Liberty Church in Blackpool believes he would be at Gay Pride dancing, waving and laughing his way through our cities as he embraces the gay community. So that’s exactly what they created with a 4 metre high Jesus.
‘Big Jesus’, as he is affectionately known, was inspired by a gay man that Nina Parker from Liberty Church met during Pride 2011. The man questioned how it was possible to be gay and Christian when he had experienced such hurtful homophobia from Christians. Nina realised that if Jesus walked our streets today he would be found at Pride, that he was always with people on the edges of society, and usually at the party. So, Big Jesus was created as a symbol of God’s desire, to communicate with, and love the LGBT communities.
This may seem a difficult concept for some Christians. Over 10 years ago it was a difficult notion for Nina and Jim Parker. But God touched their hearts and asked them to reach out with a message of hope to gay people that Jesus loved them exactly as they are. So, they started an inclusive church welcoming the LGBT community. They believe that Jesus’ grace is sufficient to put everyone right with God and keep them right, and there is nothing a person can do to alter that. “This radical message of God’s undeserved favour through Christ isn’t new,” says Jim. “It’s clearly there in the bible. It’s a shame that we obscure it by the unwritten rules we can create as churches.”
Nikki Hart is a lesbian preacher, at Liberty Church. Every Sunday Nikki shares the good news of Jesus Christ from the stage at ‘The Flying Handbag’, a gay club in Blackpool. She says “I am very lucky; as a gay person in the Christian Church, I am the embodiment of God’s grace; a testimony that his Spirit reaches out to all. Nothing I can do will alter that. It’s liberating! I no longer worry about whether I’m good enough for God, I just keep my eyes on Jesus and what he’s doing and believe him when he says the Holy Spirit will guide me.”
In the 1970’s Christians campaigned to deny LGBT people housing and jobs. Today, many of us would be ashamed by such inhumane sentiments. Yet even now homophobic behaviour can deny LGBT people their dignity, self-respect and ultimately their relationship with Jesus. However, judgement is a two edged sword, and it can backfire and imprison us in a graceless faith. Jim Parker summed this up: “Fortunately, God is not about unreachable standards; it’s about Jesus and he’s very accessible, to everyone.”
Big Jesus is now on his way to His next Pride to celebrate Christ’s love for everyone. If you’d like to walk with him please contact Jim Parker at Liberty Church… jim(at)libertychurchblackpool.org.uk
‘Big Jesus’ appeared in ‘The Guardian’ Pride around the world! https://witness.theguardian.com/assignment/53e8a957e4b0380cb18e4165