On the mind of the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

Dec 23, 2022

This past Tuesday, I went to a worship service at a nearby Episcopal seminary. It was the culmination of a program called “Queer Advent — Anticipating Joy.”

Exquisite musical meditations with harp and cello were interspersed with biblical and non-biblical readings. The homily lifted up the power of God’s light coming into the world — to outshine not only injustice, but every one of our personal brands of darkness. I relished the many unique and deeply moving elements of the service, from the bidding prayers to the benediction. But nothing could top the final reading and following poem:

“Jesus at the Gay Bar” by Jay Hulme

He’s here in the midst of it —
right at the centre of the dance floor,
robes hitched up to His knees
to make it easy to spin.

At some point in the evening
a boy will touch the hem of His robe
and beg to be healed, beg to be
anything other than this;

and He will reach His arms out,
sweat-damp, and weary from dance.
He’ll cup the boy’s face in His hand
and say,

my beautiful child
there is nothing in this heart of yours
that ever needs to be healed.

The “boy” in the poem is a young man struggling with his queerness and, presumably, struggling with how that reconciles with his faith. I love that Jesus heals him, but not in the way the boy seeks. Jesus does not “heal” his queerness because that is not something that needs to be healed. Rather, he heals whatever it is that made the boy reach out in the first place and beg to be something other than who God created him to be.

Christmas is a time to celebrate Christ’s Incarnation as well our own. To live in Christ is to have Jesus’ presence uniquely incarnate in each of us. How I manifest Christ looks different than how you manifest Christ, which is part of the beauty, joy and diversity of Christian community.

In worship this Christmas, Jesus will be with us, cupping each of our faces in his hand. May we hear his words of tenderness and assurance, knowing that every aspect of our identity was perfectly created and glorifies our Creator.

Christ adores you just as we adore him.