June 4, 2023

Root of Life

Passage: Isaiah 56:1-8, John 6:35-40

The first part of the message was cut off the recording. It isn't critical as it was primarily an introduction to the series of reflections we'll be having between now and July 9.

Here is the text that got cut off: For Pride month, I thought that we would reflect on the Rainbow Prayer written by Kittredge Cherry and Patrick Cheng. This is a prayer we’ve read before in worship but I don’t think we’ve ever really taken time to talk about the ideas and good news that it offers. The prayer is based on seven models of Christ that Cheng proposes in this book “From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.” It’s organized by the six colors of the Pride flag, assigning a model of Christ to each color.

We’re going to reflect on each of those colors over the next 6 weeks, beginning with red tonight. Each of Cheng’s models proposes a grace and a sin that is found in the queer Christ. Now, when Cheng talks about Christ, he is talking about more than the historical Jesus. He means Jesus as the intersection of the Divine and the human. So the queer Christ, is really that divine-human intersection from the queer experience – that is, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, really anything that isn’t entirely CIS-gender and heterosexual experience.

And Cheng talks about his models of Christ in terms of sin and grace. A sin is that which separates us from God, each other, and creation. It pulls us away from the Divine and prevents us from becoming our own true divine selves. A grace is that which unites us with God, each other, and creation. It draws us toward the Divine and helps us become our own true divine selves.

Talking in terms of sin and grace is important because the accusation of sinfulness has always been at the heart of Christian oppression of LGBTQ+ people. So, part of what we are doing here with Cheng is queering, or disrupting, the traditional ideas of what is sinful and what isn’t. In addition, if we want to talk about creating a just world, creating the kin-dom of God, then we need to talk about sin. We need to be able to talk about what keeps us from our divine potential, what is wrong with the world and what to do about it.

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