the graves we are called forth from
I read a passage in Wil Gafney’s A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church this morning that really stood out to me—especially as it related to two things I’ve recently written. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Easter hope, acknowledging that
[a literal] resurrection is something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around, but I figure that if I can try to muster the belief in the impossibility of the resurrection, I can have the belief that we can overcome racism, fix poverty, and solve other seemingly impossible tasks facing us.
Then, just yesterday, I wrote about the hope and life I found in a beautifully affirming worship service where:
The sermon was unapolegetically queer, the prayer for peace explicitly called out transphobia in the state of Missouri, and the hymns (and one Lizzo song!) repeatedly emphasized that everyone was valued and welcome here.
In her preaching prompts for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Gafney writes the following, which ties these two thoughts together in a way that I appreciate:
Between the resurrection of Jesus and the final resurrection, the Church is called to life, a life apart from all the dead and death-dealing things that would prevent us from living fully in Christ, i.e., “those that are in their graves” in John 5:28. What might those graves be and what might be in them? The dead names and past images of trans children of God, the suffocating closets queer kin have left behind, inadequate theology, patriarchal language and constructs, past affililations, relationships and behaviors that harm self or others. In the words of the Epistle, “we believe, and so we speak.” The Church will come out of these graves one day.
In recent years, the Christian message of resurrection has become for me a broader message of hope, renewal, and new life that stands independent of any historicity of the biblical account of past resurrection or literalism of belief in a future resurrection. As I continue to sit with this Easter season, I want to think about what graves I am being called forth from—and what graves I can help others come forth from themselves.
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