God’s love is not restricted to one category of people, those who have one way of living or being in this world. There is enough for all. This is God’s promise to us. Abraham looked to the heavens, and God told him that all his descendents would be as many as the stars. God never promised that all those stars would be the same. Science tells us that each of those stars is unique. That, too, is part of God’s promise. God created us each individually, with boundless creativity, and provided enough for us all. We are those descendents, numerous as the stars, and just as different from one another. God is faithful to us all.
God, as Mother, is incredibly creative and nurturing. God has fashioned animals, flowers, landscapes, and seascapes of such beauty that we’re struck with awe at the sights, sounds, and smells of it all. Why would the infinitely talented Supreme Being stop at creating only one type of human? She didn’t. She has birthed this overwhelming potpourri of peoples. Like any mother, God does not have one preferred child. She never imagined into being one better race, one superior gender, or one allowed sexual orientation. Healthy mothers love and accept all their children. Will Mother God do any less?
Whatever else it was, the relationship between Naomi and Ruth was unique. Two women living alone were vulnerable financially and could potentially have been targets for violence. Further, the community would have viewed this arrangement, two women living without male protection, as scandalous. Whether it was done consciously or not, Ruth and Naomi worked together to bring down the false and negative boundaries thrown up in the name of ethnicity, age, race, religion, and gender that separate and divide. At the same time that those boundaries were coming down, Ruth and Naomi, as God’s agents, were erecting true boundaries – ethical and moral boundaries – that must exist if the reign of God is ever to be fully realized in the world… for God’s realm to be realized completely on earth, at the center of one’s life must be love of God, respect for others, loving kindness, responsibility, accountability, and integrity. These are boundaries by which we recognize the dignity and personhood of ourselves and each other, by which we acknowledge our common humanity. And realize we are all children of the same parent, with the same spark of the Divine that runs through one and all.
The fourth meditation comes from “Words Offered at the End of the Day to an Unknown Friend Living in Fear” by David Weiss. He represents an ally perspective.
When Jesus stopped to speak and sip with the Samaritan woman at the well, perhaps she, too, thought his fellowship came to her “anyway,” despite her ethnic outcast baggage. But I tell you, my friend, I am not scared to be flamboyant if I need to be: Jesus offered her living words and living water because of who she was. He relished her Samaritan beauty. He chose her for the Kin-dom, and when he did, he meant for you to feel chosen, too, not despite, but because of your gayness. So, when you picture her and Jesus standing at the well, remember that while many in the church might prefer you didn’t exist, or at least didn’t tell us who you are, Jesus is stopping to chat, because you caught his eye not “anyway” – but just the way you are.
Lazarus’s story gives me permission – no, authority – to look at my own process of coming out as a sacramental journey. Therefore, I take seriously Jesus’ command to “come out.” I also take equally seriously Jesus’ command to those surrounding Lazarus to “unbind him, and let him go!” …Fortunately, in the depths of our despair, doubt, and anguish, the miraculous happens – life bursts forth from death and hopelessness. Lazarus is called forth from the tomb. And like Lazarus’s coming out of his tomb, we too are called out of our closets and tombs. We are called to leave a mode of existence that encourages dishonesty and deception, for a life that celebrates authenticity and vulnerability. And answering his call to come out, we are also resurrected… The Lazarus story starts with Jesus calling Lazarus to come out and ends with Jesus’ command to those in the resurrected-Lazarus’s midst to “unbind him, and let him go!” Lazarus has, in fact, done his part by answering the call to come out; however, for the story to end there would make the resurrection event a marginally interpersonal one that leaves out the wider community entirely. Clearly Jesus calls for the community to do its part, in Lazarus’s coming out and unbinding… Any coming out journey requires a community of witnesses who can aid and celebrate the individual in his/her life journey of being and becoming fully made in God’s wondrously diverse and dynamic image. Coming out is both an individual and communal event.