This is the third installment in a series of reflections on LGBTQ+ matters.
The famed psychologist Erik Erikson wrote that a fundamental need that humans have is to belong. We need to feel we are beloved to our mothers and fathers and families. We need to feel that we have friends who want us to be their friends. We want to feel that we are integral to others with whom we share neighborhoods, classrooms, and places of worship. Deprived of a sense of belonging, people will distort themselves in order to be part of a group or to have a relationship.
Belonging is fundamental to our faith as well. We believe that so strongly that we say out loud often and in each other’s presence that our only comfort, in life and in death, is that we belong to our faithful Savior. I don’t literally think that belonging to God is our only comfort for it is clearly evident that God comforts us with gifts of human love and many other things. Belonging to God who will never be separate from us is our ultimate comfort, however, and the source from which our earthly comforts come.
If God is inclusive enough to embrace all except those who reject God, how can we be anything less with each other. God doesn’t say to us, “You must earn your belonging.” God doesn’t say, “Only those who are without sin and thus earn their belonging are mine.” God does say, “I love you because you are mine.” Can you believe it? Before you knew it, before you were in your mother’s womb even, God already knew your soul and loved you. And while we are still less than our Creator wants of us, God still loves us like crazy.
In the face of that kind of belonging, I cannot help but look in the face of another and remember that they belong too. They—the returning citizen, the Muslim refugee, the transgendered person, the nonbinary child, the woman with a wife and man with a husband—they all belong. Those whom Jesus calls “brothers and sisters” belong to me too. They belong to my faith community. They belong with me to our faithful Savior. No longer strangers, no longer aliens, but like children at home.
From time to time a member of All One Body will post to this blog. We will also have guest commentary. Stay tuned!
Jesus Prays for All Believers: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one-- I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
John 17:20-23 (NIV)