Marvelously and Wonderfully Made – Psalm 139:1-14
Several years ago in North Carolina, five year old Ainsley took a dance class. Dance classes have recitals where the kids perform for friends and family, and one of these recitals was princess themed. The students in class could come dressed as any princess they wanted. And there are tons of options. So what did Ainsely choose? Ainsely came dressed, as a hot dog. Ainsley was, the hot dog princess, and for a brief time that summer, Ainsley the hot dog princess was a viral internet sensation. And of course she was. She was a five year old doing what five year olds do best before other people and society and movies put expectations and boxes and normatives and fences around them. She was a five year old living her authentic self, living her truth, living as marvelously and wonderfully created. She was living a truth that we forget, we have molded out of us, we have harmed out of us, the truth that you are God’s beloved creation. That you, and your gifts and your dreams and your authentic self is marvelous, wonderful, and created in God’s image.
Now, in some sermons I might, with great care and gentleness and love, unpack some of those boxes and fences, I might name some of the ways society tries to mold queerness into not-queerness. But, if you are here and a part of the LGBTQ+ family, you have experienced the ways the church and the world shame and harm. And if you are not a part of the community, you have seen at least some ways that harm happens. So this service is not about boxes and fences or harm. This service is not about scriptural interpretation and reclaiming passages that have been horrifically mistranslated and abused over the millennia. This service isn’t event about revolutions and riots which are a deep part of the pride movement. Sunday we will talk about revolutions and justice and name why pride is necessary. But tonight, every aspect of this service is designed to express another part of pride: love, joy, and celebration.
Tonight, this whole service is crafted simply to affirm one of the greatest truths in the world: You are marvelous and wonderfully made. You, lesbian, gay, queer, trans, bi, are the image of God. You, pansexual, demisexual, a-sexual, a-romantic, are of sacred worth. You, who use the pronouns they or she or her, are the image of God. You, who are non-binary. You who are closeted and you who are out. You with found family and you embraced by blood family. You are marvelously and wonderfully made.
In the gospel of Matthew, Christ says, 14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Or, put another way, “You just gotta ignite the light, And let it shine, Baby, you’re a firework, Show ’em what you’re worth.” Or, in an even looser paraphrase, “I see the magic inside of me, I’ve found a rainbow, come and paint the world with me tonight.” Now, those songs are not directly quoting the gospel of Matthew, but they all speak to the same truth. Whether its Matthew saying you are the light of the world or the apostle Paul telling us the world needs all of our uniqueness working together, whether it is Katie Perry inviting us to shine like the fourth of July, Kesha finding her inner kaleidoscope of God’s radiance, or Rihanna calling us to shine bright like a diamond, they all comes back to a foundational truth, a foundational joy, a foundational celebration. Every single one of you, queer, straight, trans, cis, you are the image of God on earth, of inherent sacred worth, and are marvelously made. This week, recognize your inner spark, let it shine, and paint the world with your authentic self.
Rev. Stefanie Hayes