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.
Be sure to check out Week 1.
This week we’ll look at two passages from Luke. Already in the first chapter of Luke, angels have been making appearances. First, we have Zechariah, a priest performing his priestly duties, approached by an angel who proclaims that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child despite their old age. When Zechariah pushes back on this day, he is made mute by the angel.
The text then jumps to when Elizabeth is six months pregnant when Elizabeth’s relative, Mary, is also visited by an Angel, saying she will have a child. Even though she hadn’t yet had relations with her soon-to-be-husband, she pushed back a bit but later agreed to serve God by being the mother of Jesus.
What follows is probably one of my favorite passages. Check out our videos from last year’s Advent for more about these great stories. Mary immediately goes to see Elizabeth, her chosen family, speaks of the coming justice of the Lord, and sticks around until right before Elizabeth and Zechariah’s son, John, is born. Immediately following John’s birth, Zechariah finally gets his voice back and prophesied.
67 John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
68 “Bless the Lord God of IsraelCopyright 2012 by Common English Bible
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
70 just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
71 He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
72 He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
73 the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted 74 that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
76 You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
77 You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”
Dismantling systems of injustice brought down by our enemies.
Preparing the way for those that follow to bring even more significant change.
Bringing Radiance in the shadows of life.
This is what Zechariah taught his son, John, while growing up.
Skipping a bit in the story, we find John grown-up in the wilderness only two chapters later. While he was raised in the Priestly class, John finds himself outside of the religious structure of his day and brings this ministry to life out on a river’s edge.
In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was ruler over Galilee, his brother Philip was ruler over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was ruler over Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 4 This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
A voice crying out in the wilderness:Copyright 2012 by Common English Bible
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
and the rough places made smooth.
6 All humanity will see God’s salvation.”
John stood outside of systems of power, bringing hope and love to those outside of the system, making way for the kin-dom of God to be further revealed. Looking at these passages, it becomes clear to me how John lived the life of an activist. If you want to hear more about this idea, Alicia T. Crosby recently shared on a podcast how much she loves John the Baptist.
So whenever queer activists have existed throughout history, they were participating in the ongoing revelation of God’s Kin-dom much like the activism of John the Baptiser.
Starting with the perseverance of gender-diverse indigenous people.
To the weird ministry of Public Universal Friend.
To the liberating work of Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray in the courtroom, higher education, and later the Episcopal Church.
To the beautiful activism of J Mace III uplifting the divinity of Black trans people.
To even the incredibly public Thirst Traps of Elliot Page.
As J Mace III states, “Trans people exist because our ancestors existed.”
Each generation paves the way for the next generation. As I have seen in the lives of many trans youth living within the closet but seeing through the lived testimony of trans ancestors before them. Watching and waiting within the shadows of this world, knowing of the radiant hope that remains for them once they are free to live as their true selves.
- Listen to “Those Who Dream” by The Many
- Take time to check out any of the people mentioned in this week’s post to learn a bit more about them.
- Pause and reflect: What are your dreams that may never be lived out in your lifetime? Are you prepared to be a good ancestor so that your dream may be a reality for those that follow you? 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.