07 April 2008

Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35
by Lisa Larges
Minister Coordinator, That All May Freely Serve

Here's the sneaky thing about God and gay people: God meets us on that road to Emmaus, but then it turns out the road ends in the parking lot of some church called Presbyterian, or Methodist, or Lutheran, or fill-in-the-blank, where they're not all tickled to see us!

Do you ever wonder why there are so many glbt people attending churches whose denominational policies are flat-out discriminatory? Do you ever wonder why there are any at all? Do you ever wonder why lgbt folks continue to hear the call to ministry in denominations laboring mightily to keep them out? I do. I wonder these things.

Do you ever, after reading or hearing about the latest heterosexist/gender-phobic ruling or policy or statement from your national church find yourself asking the question, "Why am I in this church anyway?" I do - just about every day.

Of course, one very good answer to such questions is that many of us attend wonderful open justice seeking local churches that have either taken on the struggle to change exclusionary denominational policies, or at least have chosen actively to ignore them. That's one explanation, but there's also the Emmaus factor.

I mean, Christ has met us on the road and opened up the truth for us. Many of us met Christ on the road of our coming out - we drank it in as the Christ opened the Scriptures to us, giving us the courage to let go of our fear and shame and self-hatred. For others Christ came along on that road toward living fully into one's truest gender identity. Others of us met the Christ on the road of queer politics. Still others met the Christ on the road called falling in love.

In the opening of his Institutes of Christian Religion, John Calvin writes "Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God." John Calvin may not have known he was writing about the experience of queer people, but for so many of us that deep struggle for self-knowledge has led to knowing God. And that knowing God has, for some of us, led us back to church, proving
once again that God has an unerring sense of irony.

I know the Emmaus story. I've lived it. Maybe you have too? I've been walking down that road all full of sadness and despair and an unshakable certainty that the world was going to hell in a handbasket. Then the incognito Christ has come along and walked beside me and explained patiently to me the truth of God's goodness and grace.

May we remember to hold on to the hand of the Christ, wherever the road takes us!

No comments: