Queering the Way: The First Sunday of Advent

There is something uniquely queer about Advent. Traditionally, Advent is a time of anxiously awaiting for the kin-dom of God to be revealed among us. It hinges on what is known as the Incarnation, or when God became human through Jesus. The Incarnation or enfleshment of God dissolves the binary of human and Divine much like Queerness dissolves so many binaries. In the same way, modern-day queer experiences uniquely capture the now and not-yet ness of the justice of God being revealed in God’s kin-dom. Throughout the 4 weeks of Advent, we’ll be exploring these connections through the lectionary readings for Advent this year. I‘m glad you’ve decided to join me as we Queer the Way for the Divine.

On November 4th, we lost Marquiisha Lawrence. Yet again violence took the life of a Black trans woman at way too young of an age. Her smile and “heart of gold” was ripped from this world. Her death marked the 45th death of a trans or gender-nonconforming person in the United States this year making it the deadliest year on record for trans and gender-nonconforming people in the US. It is not even a month after her death that we find ourselves entering into Advent. It is within these deadly times for trans and gender-nonconforming people, especially Black, Indigenous, and other trans people of color that we find these words from Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.

Copyright 2012 by Common English Bible

The Book of Jeremiah is written to the people of Judah following years of suffering, war, and exile. The first half of Jeremiah bears witness to this suffering, pain, and grief while trying to make sense of all that they had collectively lost. Our passage this week is positioned towards the beginning of the second half where Jeremiah offers the places where he sees hope and ways to survive in the future. (For more information, check out the intro in a good study bible or check out this video) So much of this book reminds me of the grief and resilience of the Transgender community on Transgender Day of Remembrance. For Transgender Day of Remembrance this year, the local LGBTQIA communities around me offered a place to grieve and pray for a better tomorrow and a Ball to “Uplift and Celebrate Trans Lives” (a few examples).

We see this ancient proclamation from Jeremiah of the coming justice of God and are left wanting more and wondering how much longer must we wait. How much longer shall it be terrifying for trans and gender-expansive individuals to feel like they either must hide or risk death in living their true selves. The beauty of advent is that we are reminded that even within the shadows of our lives, we still expect God to be there with us. May we spend these four weeks expecting God’s justice to be proclaimed into our lives and the lived experiences of those enduring suffering.

Next Steps

  • Listen to “How Much Longer?” by Common Hymnal
  • Spend time learning about the work of Baltimore Safe Haven and give to support their work if you can
  • Pause and reflect: As we enter into Advent, where are you waiting to see God’s justice prevail? If you’d like share your reflections in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Instagram. I’d love to join you in your prayers.

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