Jesus Our Mother: Transgender Day of Visibility and Unlearning Violent Atonement

The Body of Christ is transgender.


“Behold your mother!” When Jesus speaks these words, he uses his dying breath to place his mother in the care of his beloved disciple. But he also declares to the world that he is our mother, giving birth to our new, fully human selves through his blood and labor and breath-taking pain (pain that literally takes his breath away). 

This year, Transgender Day of Visibility falls during Holy Week. On Good Friday, God the Son becomes God our Mother. And we all behold; we all finally see the true nature of God that has been hidden by clouds of misunderstanding and fogs of violence, fear, and shame.

On the cross, Jesus reveals that all the violence committed in the name of God ultimately falls upon God. God is the victim, not the author or commander, of human violence. And on the cross, every victim of human violence is vindicated, because Jesus suffers in solidarity. And as our Mother, Jesus empowers and teaches us how to live into our full humanity through service, solidarity, and mercy.

Our transgender siblings have suffered condemnation at the hands of the church. Our transgender siblings are loved exactly as they are and exactly as they are becoming. On Transgender Day of Visibility, we celebrate our transgender siblings as they are: beloved children of God. And during Holy Week, we remember that the monstrous identity assigned to God by violent theories of atonement is not God’s true nature. God’s true nature, revealed through all of human history and particularly on the cross and in the resurrection, is life-giving Love.

Holy Week is when everything is revealed: the shame of human violence and the glory of God’s love. Condemnation against our LGBTQIA siblings, against People of Color and all marginalized peoples, condemnation by religious and state authorities — this is what crucifies the living God. 

This year, not only Transgender Day of Visibility but also the trial of the officer who took the life of George Floyd fall within Holy Week. Holy Week reveals the divinity of those who are marginalized and the deadliness of our systems of injustice. 

But Love is stronger than death. Our own violence, condemnation, and systems of injustice are put on trial and deemed guilty, but God answers them with transformational forgiveness. 

The Body of Christ is transgender. Adam, Lindsey, and friends honor and celebrate this beautiful truth just we celebrate the revelation, through the cross and resurrection, that God is Love. May we come to know God and each other as we truly are.

The Olive

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