Today, I got what I guess you could call a double-shot of God. I'd finished doing the Daily Office Readings, when an email showed up from another eucharistic minister asking me if I could fill-in for him at the noon service in a couple of hours. Lucky for him, I was available and said I'd do it. And that meant I'd get the noon eucharistic readings as well... which today were the beatitudes from Matthew's gospel. And, as it happens to me on many occasions, I got pinged:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
What words to have echo in my ears! Especially upon reading the news that the U.S. Supreme Court, at the request of the Obama administration, will NOT hear a challenge to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" anti-gay military policy. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are those who serve their country only to be dismissed for a being who God created them to be. To hear the beatitudes in a space and time where I was allowed a moment of reflection was the reminder that those of us who are seeking justice for our brothers and sisters will be fulfilled... even if we must butt up against injustice "for a season".
The Morning Prayer gospel reading (Luke 18: 31-43) was also compelling:
Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.’ But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
Once again, there's a juxtaposition of the disciples who are known by name and still don't understand what Jesus is saying vs. a blind beggar who is among the nameless many. The beggar knows enough to call out to Jesus as "Son of David". Everybody wants the beggar to shut up, but he cries out all the louder. So Jesus stops and asks this beggar, "What do you want from me?" and he asks to see again. And--presto--he is given his sight, the beggar rejoices and thanks God, and people are all atwitter having witnessed this event. (And if there was Twitter... they probably would have twittered...). I sat quietly with this reading, and then it hit me: this story can be read not only as granting sight to a "literally" blind person, but the "figuratively" blind person.
Who are the blind people? All of us. Many of us, anyway, who struggle to see God passed the bright, shiny objects of distraction.
Because I am seeing this gospel through my eyes... the crying out is coming from a blind queer person to the Son of David.
"Son of David, magnificent man of miracles, and lover of all, have mercy upon me!" Naturally, I see the crowd that attempts to silence that cry to be a cross-section of your usual suspects, and some who should know better.
"Quit making a fuss! Wait for a season until WE are ready for you to see God!"
Yet the cry of the queer reaches Jesus' (God's) ears. And in the characteristic reaching out for the outcast, Jesus steps off the path to discover who is it that is calling to me? And, upon finding the queer who begs to see, Jesus grants the request without first submitting to the queer that he or she must wait until he's done a survey, a study, examined the fabric of the communion for any rips or tears, before acknowledging the sheer effort of faith that it took for that queer to cry out past the clammor of the crowd to be heard in the first place!
The fact is that the queer person who persists in calling out to the Son of David, that cry will be heard, will be acknowledged, and God will become visible to the eyes of the queer person's heart.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Queer... and to the Church!