Embracing the Divine Spectrum: Trinity Sunday Reflection for the LGBT+ Community and Allies

Blanchard, A gay New York artist, Blanchard paints a queer version as part of his series about Jesus as a contemporary gay man in a modern city.

May my spoken words and inner thoughts be pleasing to you, O Divine One, my steadfast foundation and ultimate redeemer. Amen

Introduction:

Dear friends, on this blessed Trinity Sunday, we gather together as a diverse and inclusive community of believers, united in our celebration of God's boundless love and grace. Today, we reflect upon the multifaceted nature of Scripture and how it speaks to the lives of LGBT+ individuals and allies. As we explore the rich tapestry of interpretations and delve into the truths that transcend the confines of human understanding, let us approach this reflection with open hearts and minds, seeking to find common ground and mutual respect in our shared faith.

"The Trinity" painting by Doug Blanchard on our screen today is the final image in his gay Passion of Christ series and depicts a divine same-sex wedding. In this painting, an angelic figure blesses a gay couple, symbolizing the holiness of same-sex relationships. 

The painting also serves as a meditation on the Christian Trinity, with one God in three persons. The couple is shown holding hands before a table set with milk, honey, and fruit, symbolizing the Promised Land. The winged woman in the golden robe, representing the Holy Spirit, blesses the couple, and an arch in the background hints at the gate of heaven. The painting signifies the transformation of Jesus through his experience of the Passion, from darkness and suffering to a bright land of promise and holy bliss. The image invites viewers to imagine themselves seated in paradise with Christ as their bridegroom. It affirms the goodness of same-sex couples and serves as a glimpse of salvation and the reward of the faithful. 

The painting challenges traditional Trinitarian imagery by presenting God and Jesus as identical young lovers in a mystic same-sex marriage, emphasizing their radical equality and oneness. The use of colours and natural elements in the painting reinforces the concept of Trinity and the interconnectedness of all things. The painting concludes the gay Passion series by offering a vision of love as the crowning glory, rejecting the traditional judgment-based model and presenting love as the ultimate path to transcendence and new life.

Friends, As we navigate the complexities of Scripture, we recognize that its interpretation is not always straightforward. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, spanning various genres and written over centuries. Within its pages, we find clear teachings alongside passages open to different understandings. This diversity of interpretations has given rise to a range of Christian denominations, each with its own perspectives, while still grounded in the same foundational Scriptures.

Our interpretation of Scripture is shaped by many factors, including personal experiences, stories from our parents, families, schools, cultural backgrounds, and historical contexts. For instance, how a person from a conservative Christian background interprets a passage on sexuality may differ from someone from a more progressive or liberal Christian background. Acknowledging this diversity invites us to approach Scripture with humility and openness, valuing dialogue and a willingness to learn and grow together.

II. All Are Created in God's Image:

Genesis 1:26: “Let us create humankind in our image”.

The concept of humanity being created in God's image is a central tenet in the Bible, as it affirms the inherent worth and value of every human being. This passage in Genesis is often used to underscore the fact that all people, regardless of their background or identity, are made in God's image. It also suggests that there may be a diversity of identities within God's nature, an idea that has been explored in depth by theologians and scholars throughout history.

So let me say that again in another way, Genesis 1:26 presents a profound truth: humanity is created in God's image. This foundational belief affirms the inherent worth and value of every human being, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or any other characteristic. It reminds us that our identity as children of God is not determined by external factors but by the divine spark within us.

One of my mentors and teachers Rev. Dr Jo Inkpin Australia's first trans priest, explores this passage in her website trans spirit flourishing and invites us to embrace the beautiful spectrum of gender identities, in her reflection Jo says when the Bible speaks about God creating humanity “male and female,” this is meant to include all individuals, not exclude anyone. Just as God created the spectrum of “day and night,” which includes border elements like dawn and dusk, so too did God create a spectrum of gender identities. 

III. Challenging Misinterpretations and Embracing Love:

In our outreach yesterday I had many conversations with the community at the pride festival and one of those themes was  how passages of Scripture, often referred to as "clobber texts," some have mistakenly found condemnation for same-gender relationships and LGBT+ people.

In my recent publication Faith & Sexuality I unpack these scriptures and shine a light on them in, helping LGBT+ people reconcile their faith and sexuality offering a different view point in light of the passage of time, theological reflection, advances in medical science and of course reason.

Many theologians argue that these scriptures do not apply to contemporary same-gender relationships characterized by love, commitment, and consent. Our faith should not be wielded as a weapon of exclusion but as a source of love, compassion, and inclusivity. Jesus Himself never spoke against what we now refer to as LGBT+ individuals, but rather emphasized the importance of love and compassion in all relationships.

IV. Embracing Transformation and Compassion:

Throughout history, gender diversity has been present in all cultures and faith communities, even if some societies have been slower to acknowledge it. Today, we also witness the rise of transgender faith leaders who embody the transformative power of faith and embrace the fullness of life. Their journey teaches us that the central message of all major religions is one of compassion, not judgment or rejection.

The path of faith involves transformation, a process with which gender-diverse individuals are intimately familiar. Let us celebrate their courage and resilience, recognizing that the true measure of sin lies in our failure to love and extend compassion to one another. The narrow confines of tribalism and exclusion must give way to the expansive embrace of God's love, which knows no boundaries.

Conclusion:

Dear friends, let us remember that our faith is a living, dynamic journey. It transcends the limitations of cherry-picked verses or rigid interpretations. Our understanding of Scripture should be grounded in a holistic approach that considers the diverse contexts and nuances of the biblical text.

In our pursuit of truth, let us prioritize love, compassion, and inclusivity. Let us stand against discrimination and prejudice, seeking to create a community where all are welcomed and affirmed as beloved children of God. May we be guided by the unifying force of the Trinity, recognizing that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in perfect unity and diversity.

To our LGBT+ siblings and allies, know that you are valued and cherished in this faith community. Your experiences, identities, and contributions are an integral part of our shared journey. Together, let us strive for a world where every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can fully express their authentic selves and be embraced with love and acceptance.

As we depart from this sacred gathering, may the grace of the Triune God empower us to walk boldly in the path of love, justice, and compassion. Let us go forth, united in our commitment to embrace the divine spectrum of humanity, celebrating the infinite diversity and beauty that God has bestowed upon us all.

Amen.

Embracing the Divine Spectrum: Trinity Sunday Reflection for the LGBT+ Community and Allies Embracing the Divine Spectrum: Trinity Sunday Reflection for the LGBT+ Community and Allies Reviewed by Shane St Reynolds on June 04, 2023 Rating: 5

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