I apologize for my absence this morning. I have grown to know absence quite well this weekend. I lost my dear grandfather and friend, Ray Emory Hood. I hurt. I am tired. Later this afternoon, I will preach his funeral. It promises to be one of the more important sermons I have ever delivered. I covet your prayers.
Death however is not the reason you have gathered this morning. Life is. So let’s discuss life.
All of the quotes are taken from my interpretation of the Gospel of John, which was read earlier, entitled The Queer.
“The next day, as he was riding in a caravan of cars with his disciples right off of East University Drive, John saw the Queer walking. John demanded the caravan stop.”
We find life today walking along East University Drive. This is the great Queer of all queers, Jesus the Christ. John demands that his caravan of cars stop immediately.
Sometimes in life we travel so fast that we don’t take the time to look out the window and see what is passing us by. Perhaps, we miss life. Perhaps, we miss love. Perhaps, we miss God.
John didn’t want to miss it. John was looking. John refused to keep going. John stopped.
Then John spoke,
“Here is the Queer of God that takes away the sin of the world! This is the Queer we have been waiting for. This is the revelation I have been preaching. I saw the Spirit of God descend and remain on the Queer.”
Imagine that…the Queer is the one who takes away the sin of the world when most of our churches are saying that the Queer is the one bringing sin into the world. Is it possible that the church is missing the savior it seeks to promote? Is it possible that the salvation of the church and all humanity is sitting right here in this room? Perhaps, that which is Queer amongst us or that which is God amongst us is moving at this very moment to restore humanity to a place of love. Is it possible that we are the ones bringing the Queer that will restore the world?
When we speak of the Queer Jesus outside of this beautiful bar, is it possible that we might actually hear from those who hear, “This is the Queer I have always been waiting for”?
Revelation comes when we discover our self, our love, and our hope in God. The Queer exists to help us discover God amongst us. Will we be willing to look? Will we be willing to push past our boundaries and fear to believe that God is actually here with us? This is the God of the incarnation. The God who is present in our struggle to be human. This is the Queer.
I want you to know that I too saw the Spirit of God descend and remain on the Queer. I know God is Queer and I know the Queer is here. Do you? Do you have the courage to look out of your windows and see where God really is? I saw the Spirit of God descend and remain on the Queer.
“The Queer was outed in front of a caravan full of howling people on the side of the road…The next day…John outed the Queer again.”
The Queer knows your struggles. The Queer knows what it means to be outed. The Queer knows what it means to be relentlessly questioned about preferences, habits, and plans. The Queer has incarnated into your struggle to shun normativitity and be the queer that God has called you to be. The Queer knows that anyone who leaves normativity behind is going to face the same persecution that the Queer did. God the Queer is with you in the struggle.
“What are you looking for?”
This is the question of human existence. We are all seeking and searching for logical answers. Is it possible that this is our problem? Is it possible that we have forgotten what it means to believe in something beyond ourselves? Perhaps the answers are to be found in giving up the search. Perhaps the answers are to be found in the embrace of mystery and love. Maybe it is time to cease striving and just love people. Maybe if we have the courage to cease striving and start loving people, the answers will find us.
Letting go of the normative and logical is the core of the message of the Queer Jesus.
“Can anything good come from the trashy riffraff of Ponder?”
Nathaniel made quite the ugly statement about the home of the Queer, calling the whole community of Ponder trashy riffraff. Nathaniel could not stand the idea of Ponder. Of course, Nathaniel actually speaks of Nazareth in the actual Gospel of John, but there is something to learn here.
Later, Nathaniel states, “My God! You are the Queer.”
Nathaniel found God, the fullest expression of love, in the place that he hated the most. What does this say to us? Those areas, those people, those shops, those restaurants, those homes, those groups, and many other possibilities…the very places you hate the most might be the source of God for you, the fullest expression of love. Indeed, for Nathaniel love came from the most unlikely of destinations. We must follow the path of Nathaniel and keep our hearts open for such unlikely love to find us.
We have been challenged…questions have filled this sermon.
Do we have the courage to believe that it is the Queer amongst us that is taking away the sin of the world?
Do we have the courage to be a part of something queer?
Do we have the courage to be outed as queer like the Queer Jesus was?
Do we have the courage to cease striving and embrace the mystery?
Do we have the courage to open our hearts and look to the places and people we hate as a source of love and restoration?
The Queer Jesus calls the disciples in the last of these passages. This leaves us with a core overarching primary question:
When the Queer looks at us and says ‘Follow Me’…will we have the courage to move our feet?
I pray so.