As an lgbt person, I listen with trepidation when Jesus tells the church that it has the power to choose who is in and who is out. There are many Christians who will endanger the lives of lgbt persons if indeed they hold the keys to the kingdom. If God binds in heaven what they have bound on earth and looses in heaven what they have loosed on earth, lgbts are in deep trouble, as are many others who have been cast out.
I rejoice that Christ the King has not abdicated. Christ the King gets the last word and uses criteria very different from those used by enemies of lgbts in many parts of the church. Christ’s rule is “most gracious” and Christ desires all people to be freed and brought together:
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
The Anglican Communion strains with conflict about lgbt persons. We hear much about the “Four “Instruments of Unity” (The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Primates Meeting, the Lambeth Conference, and the Anglican Consultative Council), yet it is clear that the majority of the primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury have no place of respect for lgbts and our friends in the unity they envision.
The Archbishop invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference persons who support governments that imprison lgbts and even put us to death just for being who we are, yet the Archbishop refused an invitation to gay bishop +Gene Robinson, duly elected as Bishop of New Hampshire.
Little in the actions or the rhetoric of the bishops would bring lgbts together within the Anglican Communion. Several bishops have supported Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, who has asserted that gays are “lower than pigs or dogs.”
Not so with Christ’s rule, which is “most gracious.” It is Christ, not the primates nor the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and it is Christ who wants to bring us all together.
Christ did not shout or even groan from the cross: “My sacrifice is for heterosexuals only!”
“God so loved the world that God gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him shall have everlasting life.”
Just what part of whosoever is so difficult to understand?
What a gem! So much so that it is easy to recite in ecstasy not noticing some of its assertions:
- We did not make ourselves. God did
- We belong to God.
- God is good.
- God’s property is always to show mercy (even when others do not)
- God’s mercy and goodness will last forever
- Liturgy should be exuberant.
Saint wants active listeners, listeners that pay attention “that with the eyes of your hearts enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.”
I relish Saint’s syntactical flourishes. Remember that he is writing this for the poor, for those not approved by an earthly king yet fully aware of kings all around them.
His first sentence is warm up. He continues, ever the master of sound bytes to encapsulate his entire theology:
“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Even into our adulthood, neighbors liked to repeat what they overhead when Charles, my friend across the street, 6, and I, 4, sat arguing in a sand pile:
Charles: My dad has more money than your dad has.“Christ the King”, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”: they are a bit like that. We really need Handel to sing it for us if we expect to say it right. Hallelujah!
Louie: No he does not. How much does your daddy have?
Charles: He has ten thousand dollars.
Louie: Well my daddy has twenty thousand dollars.
Charles: Well my daddy has one hundred thousand dollars.
Louie: Well my daddy has a million dollars.
Charles: That’s nothing. My daddy has a trillion, trillion dollars.
Charles: Whatsamatter? Your daddy can’t top that I betya! My daddy has a trillion, trillion dollars!
Louie: My daddy has so much money that there are not enough words to say it!
But our King of Kings and Lord of Lords is radically humble in exercising his majesty on the ‘Great Getting Up Morning.’
Straights will be judged not by how right or wrong they are in arguments about sexuality, but by how well they treated Jesus when Jesus masqueraded as the lowliest lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered persons.
LGBTs will be judged not by how right or wrong they are in arguments about sexuality, but by how well they treated Jesus when Jesus masqueraded as those who disagree with lgbts.
What a wondrous religion! God leaves us stuck with each other -- stuck not just with our friends but also with our enemies. God gives us a model of prayer to remind us again and again: “God, use the same standard in judging me that I use in judging those who have sinned against me.”
It is dangerous to pray the Lord’s Prayer if we don’t really mean it.