Ash Wednesday Glitter Wednesday

posted in: Lent 2017 | 0

Ash Wednesday

Glitter Wednesday

Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?

Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?

(P!nk – “Glitter in the Air”)

May I propose a little toast?

For all the ones who hurt the most

(Regina Spector – “The Party”)

Carnival is over, and I prepare to take a selfie in sackcloath. What will I get to see about myself? This time I try to not measure the worth of my doing in clicks and likes; maybe I’ll share this with no one but God. I lock my door and start. “God, here I am. Look at me. I look awesome in my fancy costume, don’t I?” I see her smiling knowingly.

I pirouette one more time in front of the mirror. “So now….” I hesitate. I need some time before I get undressed. Not because of my creator. God knows me! It’s me who needs time to adopt. It’s much easier to undress in the shelter of the dark. Or in the shelter of a lover’s arms. Feeling their warm breath on my skin, full of longing or in quiet intimacy. “God, breath at me!” Feeling their touch on my skin. “God, touch me!” The costume falls to the floor. It reveals the scars next to my breasts. Since the surgery, I proudly decorate one of them with a piercing. The falling costume reveals my body hair. It reveals my skin – sensitive and vulnerable. “God. Here I am. Look at me. Some call me a sinner. Some call my a saint. Some know my highs. Some know my lows. You know all of me. Help me to see myself the way you see me. In the light of your truth and of your love: Help me to remember who I am.”

“As we worship, help us to peel back the layers that we place over ourselves
so that we can truly be naked before You.
Naked of expectations, naked of fear, naked of control.”
(Worship Resources for Lent 2017, MCC’s Office of Church Life and Health)
Just as the sackcloth, my body speaks of a layer of truth that is not often presented to the public. My body is more than the mere place of my being, more or less beautiful in my own eyes. My body (including my eyes, incorporating my view on our bodies) also incorporates what keeps me from being me.
Our individual and institutionalized bodies embody what to return from in order to become who we are called to be: lookism, racism, ageism, ableism, sexism….Repent! Turn around. Learn to do better. Be free. Be whole. Be holy.

Historically, in the beginning, the ash on a person’s forehead was a sign of public penance. Those who had sinned had to walk around in a sackcloth and with a cross of ashes. Then, some individuals joined them in solidarity. Only later, the ashes were offered to ALL believers. So, being covered with ashes could either say: “They marked me as a sinner,” or it could say: “I joined those marked as sinners in solidarity” (or both, to be sure). It was a sign OF and FOR the outcast.

Joining the “others” in solidarity queered the judging. How could you be sure? Was the one with ashes an excluded one – or someone who joined them by choice? Jesus had also joined the sinners! So maybe the sinner-with-ashes was actually a saint-with-ashes? What confusion.

Let’s also confuse our today’s outer and inner voices who still know oh-so-well to distinguish between sinners and saints. Let us stand AS and FOR the colorful diversity of Rock’n’Roll party-crowds, multiple-gendered faggots, dykes, queers, (a)sexual Major Toms and junkies “strung out in heaven’s high and hitting all-time lows” (David Bowie). “Ashes to ashes” is their song, and they sing it surrounded by … glitter.

So, this year, add GLITTER as a sign OF and FOR queering judgmental distinctions between sinners and saints!

On Ash Wednesday this year, participants across the world will
receive ashes into which a small quantity of glitter has been added and blessed
or
will receive ashes and then will impose glitter on top of or next to the ash on their forehead.

God bless you!

by Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann

on behalf of the
Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders

Elder Nancy G. Maxwell, Convener
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
Rev. Elder Tony Freeman
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson
Elder Nancy G. Maxwell
Rev. Elder Dr. Candace R. Shultis
Rev. Elder Mona West, PhD