Sunday, December 02, 2012

Advent: Queer face of God revealed

“Rainbow Mysteries" photo by Kittredge Cherry

Today marks the first day of Advent, a time of expectant waiting for Christ’s birth. Advent celebrates the mystery of the Word made flesh -- an important concept in queer spirituality.

“This Advent I am reflecting on what it might mean for us as LGBTIQ people to give birth to, and to reveal to the world, the Queer Face of God in our time, and in our culture,” spirituality author Michael Bernard Kelly told the Jesus in Love Blog. He is the author of "The Erotic Contemplative" video/lecture series and Seduced by Grace: Contemporary Spirituality, Gay Experience and Christian Faith.

Kelly will lead an Advent retreat for gay men Dec. 7-9 at Easton Mountain, an interfaith, gay spiritual retreat center in upstate New York. As he was preparing for the retreat, he offered these Advent reflections for readers of the Jesus in Love Blog:

Can we have the trust, the surrender and the courage of Mary, carrying the Divine Word within us in silence and hope, waiting for Divine Love to gestate in our hearts, allowing our bodies, our souls and our life journeys to birth grace for the world? Just as the body of Mary gave flesh, blood and bone to Incarnation of God growing within her, can we, in every choice we make, in every word we say, in every act we perform, and in the surrender of our very selves, give flesh and blood to God’s Word of justice, of inclusion, of embodied joy, and of queer holiness? Can our queer lives become the very revelation of God’s love in our time?

This is the mystery and challenge of Advent – and the great wonder is, this is not a mighty, exhausting project that we have to plan and execute. Rather, this is all about allowing ourselves to become pregnant with God, saying the radical “Yes” that will allow the Holy Spirit to do her own work within us, and trusting utterly that love is always born, moment by moment and breath by breath, in the most unlikely of places and in the most hidden of hearts. May we feel the Divine seed stir within us this Advent and may we rejoice with the queerest joy, as Christ is born for us, through us, within us, and as us.

Another queer way to celebrate Advent is offered by Chris Glaser, a gay Christian minister, activist and author of LGBT spirituality books including Coming Out to God: Prayers for Lesbians and Gay Men, Their Families and Friends. Here is an excerpt from his “Rite for Advent,” published in Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations:

One: The closet may be a fertile place:
creativity bursts out of a lonely hell,
and from a closet fertilized with hope,
the spirit leaps from a monastic cell.

Many: Those born in darkness
have seen life.

One: Out of dark soil sprouts new life,
from darkness springs embodied hope.
Both stretch for the illumination
of the cosmic landscape.

Many: Those born in darkness
have seen life.

One: Dear God,

Many: We seek your Word embodied
in life rooted in fertile darkness.
In life stretching for illumination,
we await your transforming Word.

For more info on the Advent retreat for gay men, visit Easton Mountain Retreat Center (
This post is part of the LGBT Holidays series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to LGBT and queer people of faith and our allies.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
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