In our mission for LGBTQ affirmation, RfA supports, educates, and advocates. Sometimes those are disparate activities, but now and then they come together in one initiative or resource. This month, we have circulated two resources that, we believe, fall into all three categories.
You’ll find the greeting offered below, “On Being Touched,” along with recent RfA news, in our December newsletter. In addition, we circulated a statement that summarizes three considerations that RCA members may be wrestling with in regard to the proposed amendments to the BCO.
We invite all RCA members, not just RfA supporters, to receive these documents in the spirit in which they are offered; namely, a common concern for the faithful flourishing of the RCA.
“The Lord be with you.”
“And also with you.”
Sign language can be a theological activity. For example, take the ASL sign for “with.” Hand to hand, skin, muscles and bones, veins and cartilage, cells and all the rest. Two complex “others” coming together in a simple, tactile gesture of accompaniment.
I first learned to sign the church’s liturgical greeting several years ago. Ever since, I’ve loved thinking about the implications of that particular hand-picture, in that particular phrase, in that particular moment, inviting God to be with the other person—not above, not apart, not remote, but touching.
That’s the meaning of the Incarnation, isn’t it? That in Emmanuel, God came to be with us, in all the varied physicality that makes us human. In Jesus, God is embodied. In Jesus, God says, “I get it. I’m willing to touch you. I’m with you.”
Sounds comforting, right? Except for that pesky implication that God is with people whose embodied humanity is different from our own race, ethnicity, gender expression, or sexual identity, for example. We’d prefer to keep “them” at arm’s length, rather than affirm and risk being touched, perhaps changed.
The good news of Christmas is that it’s not up to us. “God with us” means that God chooses to come to the glorious diversity of Creation, touching people in their full humanity with love, with grace, with gifts for service. Thanks be to God for being with us—all of us.
In that gratitude, we at Room for All wish you a blessed Christmas. The Lord be with you.