Queer Scriptures for Advent’s Third Sunday

Advent’s liturgical readings from the prophet Isaiah are among the most beautiful, poetic, and hopeful texts of the Bible.  They speak of expectation, longing, liberation, and God’s unfailing love and solidarity with humanity.

A few weeks ago, Bondings 2.0 asked its readers to write short reflections on selected Isaiah readings from the perspective of LGBTQ people and allies.  We will print selections from these reflections on each of the four Advent Sundays and Christmas Eve.  You can read the previous reflections by clicking here and here.

If you would like to submit a reflection for the coming weeks, please click here, read the guidelines, and complete the submission form.

Below are the selections for the Third Sunday of Advent.  They are preceded by the Scripture citation upon which the reflection is based.


Isaiah 11: 1-7

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,
and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
together their young shall lie down;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.

Submitted by:  Ish Ruiz             Location:  San Francisco, California

This is a very queer passage. It is a testament of God’s awesome, radical love that generates love among the unlikeliest of friends, of lovers. It breaks all the rules. Wolves dwelling with lambs? Leopards lying with goats? Lions lying with calves? Who would have thought? Perhaps the reason for this is that God’s love transcends all human rules and boundaries. It calls us to embrace a life that is radical and different than the one we have imagined so far. It binds us together under one banner, one human family. I wonder what Isaiah would say to our queer siblings whose lives give witness to a radical love–a love that, similar to Jesus’ love, defies all the cultural norms and expectations. May God continue to bless all queer people with prophetic love and grace. And may God bless our Church with eyes, ears, and a heart that recognize the presence of Christ in the radical love that radiates from our queer siblings.

 

“Isaiah,” Sistine Chapel, by Michelangelo

Submitted by: Peter Maher      Location: Sydney, Australia

The outbreak of enlightened leaders is needed in each generation. Every generation hopes for leaders that have insight, compassion and courage. There was once such a leader born of Israel’s underside–not of noble birth but by a most unlikely couple in most unlikely circumstances. One who emerged from the wilderness of obscurity and shame, but noted for wisdom, persistence and resilience. This wise one privileged the story of the silenced and siloed, of women and the marginalised. The wise one was a champion of the people of the underside of history. Born in a simplicity that belied the cosmic dimensions of their being. One who honoured the humanity and authenticity of each person without regard for their circumstance or place in the social, religious or political economy. The hoped for one is a true leader, a guide and companion for all those of sexual and gender diversity and regardless of sex, race, colour, age or religion. Jesus is the wise one and Jesus is still present in each act of inclusion.

 

Submitted by: Rev. Mr. Nicholas Sertich      Location:  Rome, Italy

Wolves living with lambs, cows grazing with bears.

This image is not a world free from division, distinction, and difference, but a world free from animosity, hostility, and bitterness–a world forever freed from hatred of “the other”.

This vision of Isaiah is not about destroying what makes us unique. It is about taking comfort in what makes us individuals and living peacefully, side-by-side in our uniqueness. It means more than simply tolerating others, but actually taking comfort in, rejoicing in, walking hand-in-hand with all. It means rejoicing in our differences, honoring our individuality, loving what makes each of us a unique child of God.

By the Grace of God, then, may our world be like the one envisioned by Isaiah–a world where, like the wolf and the lamb, the calf and the lion, the Christian community may rejoice in, take comfort in its fellow, faithful LGBTQ+ children of God.

 

Submitted by: Adolph Dwenger       Location:  Cincinnati, Ohio

When I read these verses I think of the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Not just the students/faculty of  the Catholic schools where people have been fired and threatened with dismissal because of LGBT issues, but also the people not affiliated with Catholic schools who know of same-sex couples and wonder why they cannot be good role models within the Church.

I have been in a same-sex relationship for 22 years and all of my siblings, their spouses as well as most of their children and some cousins reside in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. They have known my partner and me for years. None of them call our relationship “objectively disordered,” but I have witnessed their confusion, fear, and division when it comes to their membership in the Catholic Church and their relationship with me.

Why should there be a distinction between their faith and their love? That seems objectively disordered!

And so I wait for the one promised by Isaiah as I sing:

O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From every foe deliver them,
That trust thy mighty power to save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to thee, O Israel!


 

If you would like to submit a reflection for the coming weeks, please click here, read the guidelines, and complete the submission form.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, December 15, 2019

2 replies
  1. Don E Siegal
    Don E Siegal says:

    These reflections have been incredibly well written and poignant. As I was reading them I became part of the stories that were being told. Thank all of you for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply
  2. Hank Mascotte
    Hank Mascotte says:

    Ish, nice job, Enjoyed your reflection and insite, I think you are on to something. At a recent display of angel wings for Queer folks and allies take a photo a board was present for us to write things down…”Don’t believe the government, don’t believe the church, believe the One who wonderfully and beautifully made you!”

    Reply

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