- by Toy Adams -
“This is not a United Methodist table, this is the Lord’s Table and all are welcome!” That (or something similar) is stated in the majority of United Methodist Churches before communion is observed. It is proclaimed in order to remind everyone that we aren’t one those primitive churches that do not allow folks outside of their community to join in for some good ole’ Eucharist. But the problem is that the all that we invite usually has a subtext to it. The subtext consists of the ones that are subliminally excluded from the all.
The United Methodist Conference is my home but I know a lot of her churches are not home to LGBT individuals. I feel that these folks are often brushed off and placed in the subtext. A lot of pastors refuse to see these individuals as anything but walking abominations. The Bible is clear? That’s their argument? The Bible is clear on a lot of other things. The Bible is clear on allowing for slavery and sexism and racism and xenophobia and many other twisted things if read in a constitutional manner, employed by the self-gratifying practice of proof texting. I reject these hermeneutics because I strive to see the working of God within the text and to place those texts into their culture and intention. We have to stop being tribal and live in the tension that is produced by grace. This grace demands that we accept people for who they are and as they are no matter what; it also demands that we help them to freely connect deeper to the God of love. Which takes me back to Sunday morning.
If Jesus were here today, I believe he would have a lot of LGBT friends as dinner guests. Why? Because they are the most marginalized and ostracized and hated and feared and rejected group of individuals in today’s society. We leave them to die outside the walls of our sanctuaries until they suddenly can become a mirror image of us, the completely natural and normal people. They are hurting and broken and bullied and battered and scared and tired and in need of the hope that Christ gives.
So if the wine of the Eucharist is the blood of Christ, and Paul was to be taken serious when he urged the Colossians that through the blood of Christ’s cross all things were/are being reconciled to God, then the Eucharist is a perfect feast for the Church and the LGBT community to engage in (Col 1:20).
The Eucharist represents the coming together and bonding and merging and connection of all things before God. And unfortunately a lot of times LGBT individuals feel excluded from the meal that they most need to attend.
When was the last time we left our thrones and dined with those that the world hates? Until we do, the Eucharist is just another dead symbol.
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Toy Adams is a Candidate for Ministry in the United Methodist Church. He lives in Paintsville Kentucky where he preaches and teaches in his District’s Churches. Toy will attend Seminary once he finishes his undergraduate degree in Religion at the University of Pikeville. Also, he is a Homebrewed Christianity deacon. His favorite color is green and his favorite adjective is zesty.