“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.
All means all! We invite people to receive to
Eucharist so God’s grace can be upon them and the call of Christ can be placed
in their hearts—we go so far as to believe that sometimes people experience
salvation during Communion, so we even offer it to non-believers. There is a
mountain of evidence as to why that the table is open to all.
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
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
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.