John 9: Jesus and the Man Born Gay! Judgement! And the Offence of a Radical Gospel.
A post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.
A story. Dedicated to a few friends on the blog and the list. Hope you enjoy.
The gay guy was resting back against the wall, the shadows protecting him from the midday heat of the sun. The shadow also protected him a little from the unwelcome attention of the villagers. Ever since he was a boy he knew that he was different and any time he had expressed those differences he was soon taught not to do it again sometimes in a very cruel manner. Still, the villagers never let him forget what he was and what they thought of him. Yes, the gay guy was used to hiding in shadows. He closed his eyes and deliberately took no notice of the group that was approaching.
James and John knew this village well. They had relatives here and had visited often. They both saw the gay guy in the shadows and exchanged a knowing look. “Jesus” asked James, “Was this guy born gay? Was he a sinner in the womb? Or was it his parents sin?
Jesus sighed, then smiled. “Guys, Its not about sin. In the very first sermon I ever preached I said that my ministry would be all about freedom. I’m here to announce freedom for slaves and women, to restore dignity to those who are marginalised, oppressed rejected and hurting. I am here for the least, the last the, the lost and the little ones. Youve heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Well, I am here to enact the Universal Declaration of the Love of God.”
And he walked up to the gay guy, took him by the shoulders. The startled man opened his eyes and Jesus looked intently into them. In that moment, in that look, the gay guy understood that he was totally known…totally exposed.
And Jesus embraced him.
For the first time in his life, or at least for as long as he could remember the gay guy knew that he was completely accepted and deeply loved. He stood for a moment looking at Jesus in wonder. Then he ran, ran as fast as he could down the street. He didnt know where he was running to. It didnt matter. He was simply reveling in the sensation of movement and the pleasure of being alive.
The villagers looked at him. “Isnt that…? No, it cant be! I looks like him…but he looks so different now…has anyone ever seen a smile like that?” But one of a gang of young men said. “No,thats not him. That gay guy hasnt shown his face in this part of the village since we put him in his place a few years back.” But the others werent so sure.
The pharisees heard about this. They had already decided that Jesus was a heretic and a false prophet. They were just looking for an excuse to bring charges against him. Some of the bigger men of the council went to the gay guy to “request” his presence at an official hearing. He was dragged in and the leader of the council spoke.
Tell me! Are you gay?
Dont you know that that is sinful?
People keep telling me that!
This Jesus. What did he do to you.
He embraced me.
Yup, lots of people were watching.
Did he say anything else? Warn you of your sin? Call you to repentance?
“No, he just looked at me, hugged me and kissed me. And it was the most powerful and wonderful moment of my life.
No confession? No call to repentance? What more proof do we need? This Jesus obviously isn’t from God.
“Well, isnt that interesting” said the gay guy. “You men present yourselves as the representatives of God. Yet from the moment of my birth all I have heard from you has been condemnation. All I have recieved from you is abuse. All I have lived because of you is fear and shadows. Well, with one look, one embrace, this man brought a greater sense of holiness, and wonder, peace and joy into my life than all of your words and theological ruminations combined.”
“How Dare you! said the leader. “You were born sinful and the stench of your sin makes me sick even now. Dont you presume to lecture US!”. Throw him out.” And he was beaten. But somehow, despite the beating he felt powerful. And in the eyes of those who beat him he was suprised to see THEIR fear, THEIRs dark shadow and THEIR hiding. And suddenly he knew, and he smiled.
He went down to the well to draw some water and wash the blood of his face and cool his bruised ribs. Even now some people were looking and pointing and talking about him behind their veils and hands. “Ah well”, he thought, “thats their problem. not mine”. And he knew as he said it that it was true. He smiled again. It still felt good.
Jesus had heard what had happened and found him by the well.
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Jesus asked.
The gay guy was still facing the well, and so he wasnt sure that is was him who was being addressed. But when no one else responded he started to turn around.
“And who is this ‘Son of Man’ that I should believe in him?”
He finished speaking at the same time that he finished turning and his eyes met Jesus’ for the second time in his life. For a moment he was sure that his heart had stopped beating and that the whole universe had focused on him and Jesus.
Jesus touched his bruised face with a look of concern. But then he took the gay guys hand and smiled. “I think you know already. You saw him a few hours ago and he is talking to you right now.”
“He squeezed Jesus hand with both of his. Some of the bloody water in the cloth he still held dripped down from their hands onto Jesus feet.
“My Lord and the love of my life. I believe!”
Jesus’ eyes never left those of the gay guy. He spoke, but it was clear form the elevated volume and the suddenly stern tone in his voice that this message was meant for others in the crowd.
“I came into this world for Judgement. But it is a judgement will happen in your own conscience, your own spirit. My actions will always bring division for those who observe. (although never for those who receive.)” The last part was spoken quietly and the gay guy knew that these words were meant for him.
“Some who claim no special knowledge other than the knowledge of their own needs will be made the wisdom of God. Others who claim to speak the wisdom of God will be shown to be fools.”
The pharisees in the crowd whispered to each other. “Does he mean us? Is he calling us fools?”