Commemorating Trans Awareness Week

Today in chapel we commemorated Trans Awareness week, and our new homiletics professor, Sam Gilmore (who is fabulous, by the way–we are so blessed to have her here at Wartburg), preached a fantastic sermon. I’d like to share just a few reflections from it.

The text was Matthew 23:37–24:14, the passage where Jesus laments over Jerusalem, and compares himself to a mother hen.

She used the words from 24:12, “the love of many will grow cold,” as a refrain, to describe the pain our transgender siblings have experienced through rejection, violence, and exclusion; and to describe those of us who are too often lukewarm allies, too often not paying attention, and not speaking out.

In contrast to this cold love, she proclaimed the gospel message that our cold hearts–moribund and barely beating–are warmed by Christ, who gathers us under her wings and holds us close to her lively beating heart, renewing and restoring us.

Sam also contrasted the false picture of perfection that many people in the church feel they need to project to the world with the picture of Christ’s one united family in God’s kin-dom, each of us uniquely and individually bearing the beauty of God’s perfection, in all our glorious differences and individuality.

She also noted that we might well be a little unsettled about who is gathered next to us, as we huddle together under Christ’s wings–maybe giving each other a little surprised side-eye. But the truth is, those tender wings reflect the same expansiveness and universal inclusion of Christ’s arms spread wide on the cross. There is room for all, and the persistent invitation is for all, for Christ’s promise holds: “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” I will be with you.

“Darling, darling,” Christ coos to each one of us: calling and holding all of us under her wings, where we are seen, known, and loved, just as we are. No pretending there, no hiding, no shame, no fear: not for our transgender siblings, not for any of us. This gathering, loving, and transforming of each one of us is Christ’s work, and we are all included, we are all made whole, and we all become Christ’s body together. More beautiful and perfect with each of us, and not one of us without all of us, together.

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