10/6/19 – Who Is Missing?

Posted on : Oct 3rd, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

A few years ago almost all of the LGBT ministry and spirituality leaders throughout the United States gathered for a huge celebration of 30 some years of education, advocacy and spiritual care.  It was an unbelievably powerful gathering.  There was much laughter as well as many tears.  There was euphoric joy along with deep sadness.  We tried to celebrate all that had been accomplished as well as the work that is still needed.  In the true spirit of our movement, it became a time of education and advocacy about the journey that is still before us in seeking equality for all people.  We spent much time on the intersectionality of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.

For me, one of the most moving speakers was Robyn Henderson-Espinoza.  She was asked to speak about the work that is still ahead of us in the LGBT inclusion movement.  She said:

“I notice the presence of the absence of my people.” 

 She spoke of the culture of whiteness and how it enables not noticing who is not in the room. 

 Robyn identifies as a non-binary trans Latina.


To me those words are the 21st century meaning of Jesus’ teaching in John 10.  Jesus said, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice; and they will become one flock with one Shepherd.”

There are a lot of “lost sheep” these days.  In the Christian tradition there is a concept called “fencing the table.”  What it basically means is that those in positions of “authority” (priests/clergy) have put a fence around the Communion Table and they decide who is worthy of receiving Communion and who is included in the Christian Community.  As you know, Jesus wasn’t big on fences.  He described himself as the Good Shepherd who reached out and included just about everyone into the fold even when it infuriated the “fencers.”

I think Robyn has named our current situation perfectly.  One of the primary tasks of the Christian community today needs to be learning to “notice the presence of the absence of God’s our people.”  Who is not at the Table?  Who is missing?  Why is that and what are we to do about it?

More on Sunday.



John 10: 11-16

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as God knows me and I know God. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

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