No Room at the Inn: Seeing the Face of Christ in Everyone You Meet
Jesus came to us first in the form of a helpless infant in a dirty cattle stall; a most unlikely vesture for the Saviour of the World. If Christians believe He will come again, we cannot be sure what form he will take. After the resurrection, just three days since the disciples had seen him living, Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus (John 20:15). He must have looked much different from what she had known! We must see the face of Christ in all we meet for Jesus came and lived and died for not some of us, but all of us. God is full of surprises.
While browsing the internet I have come across an astounding number of FAQ's and articles posing questions like, "What would you do if a transgendered person came to your church for worship?" or "What would you do if a gay couple came to your church?" or even "What if they walked in with a child, would you have to say something??" all of these questions implying that simply having these qualities is negative and would disrupt the reverence of a service of worship.
While the fact that anyone would ask these questions in the first place is disturbing, many of the responses are even worse. One particular response stands out in my mind in which the pastor questioned replied, "As long as they are dressed tastefully then they are welcome." Yet another cited Paul's instructions on how to dress for church (1 Cor 11:2-16), a sliver of the Epistles very far removed from it's ancient time-bound context. Many say they must accept these different characters as they are because Jesus says we must love our neighbours, but they say so begrudgingly, as though being in the company of these- these human beings is a difficult task and distracts from worship.
Taking up thy cross is not meant to be easy, but how another person carries theirs is none of your concern.
This means that how a person, male or female or non-binary identifying, chooses to show up dressed for worship is not to concern you. Moreover, it should not be considered distracting or disruptive, no matter how flamboyant, as most churches are equipped with many different fixtures to facilitate meditation such as stained-glass, an altar set with an array of symbolic food and vessels, or shining empty crosses still echoing with the rejoicing of the resurrection.
Fashion aside, we must respect God's expertise in Creation.
God made each of us in His own image. He shines in the eyes of each and every person, He dances on the giggles of babbling toddlers, and He warms the embrace of those we love to hold. Whether or not God took seven days or seven billion years to create the world and everything in it is completely irrelevant- whichever way the world came into being, we are to be sure that God was at the helm and made us with intent. It has been proven fact that sexuality and gender identity are the result of biological wiring (note: not mis-wiring), designed expertly and intentionally by the Lord the Almighty, the King of Creation. I think Lady Gaga said it right, He makes no mistakes. God made these beautiful, fearful, and wonderful people the way He intended and they all have a seat at the table no matter what they wear, how their family is arranged, or how they desire to express their love.
Why would those who call themselves Christians act as though the mere presence of a perfectly normal human being who is simply different from them be cause for alarm? Why would anyone even consider that a service might be disrupted or need to be altered because a transgendered person graced the sanctuary? A gay person? A homeless person? A poor person? A virgin mother with her husband and suckling baby?
There was no room at the inn in Bethlehem, but there is always room at the Lord's table.
Let's make an effort to love unconditionally and with unabashed abandon. Let down the guards society has taught us to build around our hearts and welcome strangers with love and compassion so that they are never strangers for long. Let us use our intellects, these beautiful minds God has blessed us with, to learn and to grow and to understand one another more fully and in doing so come to realize the fullness of God's Creation. Listen carefully. He speaks through us all.
© 2017 Ashley Ruby