Happy Monday, Friends! This week we continue our series of drawing inspiration from the Gospel canticles, including the Magnificat. Specifically, let’s consider the last passage of the canticle: “God has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich God has sent away empty. God has come to the help of their servant Israel, for they have remembered their promise of mercy, the promise God made to our forebearers, to Abraham and his children forever,” (Luke 1:53-55). Mary declares these lines with a timeless hope in the unseen God. A God who comes not in regal splendor, but in the promises of mercy and good things.
There are obvious and stark differences between Mary’s world in first century Palestine and our world in the 21st century United States. However, we would be naïve to ignore the context of Mary’s life and how it plays out in the Bible. Here is a very young woman—a girl by our standards—who conceives a child before she’s married, a situation which puts her in danger of communal shame and rejection, even death. No one will believe her if she says that the child is from God—in fact, God sends an angel to reassure Joseph. She is forced by politics and the occupying Romans to travel while pregnant and then is forced by circumstance to give birth in a manger. Further political danger necessitates that the new family flee to Egypt where they live as refugees until King Herod dies.
The context of Mary’s life has parallels to the lives of many Queer people. Mary receives a gift from God in becoming a mother and the mother of Jesus. Queer people are created in the image and likeness of God as the fully LGBTQIA+ people God meant for them to be. Society tells Mary that she is an object of shame, and that Joseph should dismiss her quickly. Society tells LGBTQIA+ people that we are “intrinsically disordered” and that our love and our identities are sinful. Yet at some point an angel comes along and gives us hope. Sometimes those angels come to our family and friends and sometimes they come directly to us. Remember, not all angels have wings and glowing halos. Angels can be drag queens, actors in musicals, fashion icons reminding you to “make it work,” or teachers in schools telling you that the world is bigger and more magical than you know. And while we don’t know what life in Egypt was like for Jesus, Queer people tend to take refuge in some pretty fabulous places.
Friends, who are your angels? Who has come at just the right moment for you? And where have you found refuge?
Let us pray: God, fill us with your good things and remember your promise of mercy. Send us angels in all their forms and guide us to the refuges you have prepared for us until we too can return home. If our refuges become home and fellow refugees our chosen families, bless our bonds within this sacred, loving community. Amen.
Blessings on your weeks, my friends. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.