This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ died for us. And we, too, ought to lay down our lives for our sisters and brothers. If you have more than enough material possessions and see your neighbors in need yet close your hearts to them, how can the love of God be living in you? My children, our love must not be simply words or mere talk – it must be true love, which shows itself in action and truth.
1 John 3:16-18
|"Lila" by Philip Shadblot|
While not perfect, and far from being a cohesive entity, queer love mirrors what the writer of 1 John aims at. By virtue of being outcasts our “forbidden” love is a love of deeds. Queer love stands in the face of hatred. Queer love teaches in the presence of ignorance. Queer love leads in the journey to liberation.
If there is a special “role” for the christian queer in the contemporary church, or queers of other faiths, this may be it. Who better to rekindle the flame of active love in an aging and increasingly unfeeling institution? Who better to quicken the spirit of inclusivity? Who better to buttress the ramparts to the onslaught of injustice? Who better to name the sins committed against the fringe and the weak?
Personally I confess that I have not left my faith institution – the Church – because I feel there is a vital place for me not only as a queer minister, but for queers in general. While I do not believe we are God’s last hope, I do believe we are a hope of God to reclaim the vision of Christ that all may come to know the infinite love of the Sacred.
But in order to fulfill this role we queers must not lose sight of what love is. Being loved is not being welcomed into the rank of the ordained. Being loved is not finding a place at the table so long denied us. Being loved is not taking up the power others would give us whether in small of great amounts.
Love, as sacred scripture reminds us, is turning to those still in need. Love is taking stock of our lives and sharing our blessings with others. Love understands that the greatest gift is to give our lives in the service of others: if Christ is our model, giving our lives in the service of those who hate us.
Power is deceptive, especially when we think we wield it justly for the sake of others. But power is not love. As Shadblot demonstrates in his painting, love alone is truth. Love alone prevails.