In the readings for the second Sunday of the year, two themes predominate: that of being called (even from the womb), and that of bearing witness. From the perspective of queer Christians, these are powerful themes – because it’s clear throughout that they are fully inclusive.
In the second verse of the first reading (from Isaiah), we read
But it is not only “Israel” that is to be gathered to him, but (all) the nations, reaching ‘to the ends of the earth’ (and thereby including, presumably, the the full gamut of sexual and gender diversity):
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;0
I will make you the light of the nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
This message of inclusion is clearly repeated in the second reading from Paul, writing to the Corinthians – who, like all others, are called to take their place among all the saints, everywhere
I, Paul …….. send greetings to the church of God in Corinth, …. who are called to take their place among all the saints everywhere who pray to our Lord Jesus Christ;
and so are we too, as LGBT Christians, called to take our place among all other people of faith, just like everyone else.
But, while we may know that we too, are “called” – to what are we called?
We hear a clue in John’s Gospel, which tells of John the Baptist’s public witness to the true nature of Christ and his mission – to baptise us in the Holy Spirit.
John also declared, ‘I saw the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove and resting on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is going to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.’
“Witness” is crucial – and we who are LGBT have a dual obligation, to witness to our Christian faith, in the wider world and amongst our own queer community, but also to witness to the truth of ourselves, inside the Church.