To try to define the Divine
in human words is a fool’s errand –
but luckily for us, God delights in making the foolish wise.
Emboldened thus, let us unite our many voices
to confess what little we know of this queer God:
We believe in the Triune God, incomprehensible
and yet invested in revealing Themself to us,
in helping us understand and truly know Them
in every place and time, among all peoples –
but especially those the world dismisses
as broken, worthless, foolish.
We believe that the God who conceived of the cosmos,
brooded over its rolling waters like a mother hen
and then exclaimed over Her newly-birthed worlds,
“Good! very Good!”
is the same God who came to a small and subjugated people
and made them Her own.
We marvel that this God to whom belongs all power and glory
has a soft spot for the world’s outsiders and outcasts –
for She Herself is the ultimate stranger.
We believe that in the Person of Jesus Christ,
that same God – despite being beyond human constructs
like class and ethnicity and gender –
entered an impoverished household, entered a Jewish Palestinian body,
became one with that same oppressed and colonized people
with whom Xe had for so long persevered in relationship,
and was assigned male at birth.
But Jesus of Nazareth defied the gender roles assigned to him:
instead of settling down with a wife,
Jesus consorted with strange women, exalted eunuchs,
reached out to Samaritans and Syrophoenicians,
and traipsed across the region with a motley crew
of the very kinds of folk no respectable man would even greet.
A parable in himself, he shared queer stories
of a world turned on its head, where the last are first
and the powerful must relinquish their power –
And, in the ultimate display of solidarity
with all those whom the powerful persecute across the ages,
Jesus was executed by Empire on a cross, dying between
two other “common criminals.”
But this was not the end of his story, nor ours:
this ultimate breaker of human binaries –
between Creator and creature, man and woman, have and have-not –
demolished the divide between death and life for good.
Jesus rose, lifting all of us with him, from death and into heaven –
but even so, Divinity dwells among us still,
for we believe in the Holy Spirit, the very Breath in our lungs,
the Breeze that comforts us, the Wind that stirs us to action
and sweeps us up into the revolution that is
God’s impossible incoming Kin(g)dom.
I wrote this affirmation for a More Light Sunday service, which is celebrated by the PC(USA) every October on the Sunday nearest to National Coming Out Day.
For more on God as the ultimate stranger, check out Joy Ladin’s book The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective.
The image of God as a bird brooding over the waters of Creation comes straight from Genesis 1:2. See footnote 11 of Genesis 1 on this website for details about the Hebrew verb used to describe “the Spirit of God ‘moving’ over the waters” in this verse.
For more on Jesus as the divine assigned male at birth and living a gender nonconforming life, check out the section “Assigned Male at Incarnation: An Intersex and Transgender Jesus” on my webpage here.