He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
You know, aside from the whole “Child of God preaching in a synagogue” thing, this is really a pretty common story. I bet a lot of you have lived it.
You’ve probably left home, and somewhere in the process of growing up you learned more about who you really are, and who you really want to be. You live your reality. Maybe, after being treated like a boy all your life, you’ve started living as something that’s decidedly “not-a-man” (not that I’m inserting my own story here… nope… not at all). Or maybe, shaking off the pressures of compulsory heterosexuality, you’ve started dating people of the gender(s) to whom you’re really attracted.
Maybe, though, you’re still at home. Still closeted about something you feel gnawing, trying to get out. And maybe you’ve reached out online and found others who are like you. Who understand you and see you for who you are in a way that the people nearest you don’t or won’t.
However it’s played out in your life, you’ve found something true about yourself. Something powerful and bright that’s inextricably a part of your being. You’ve found your truth and you’re living it. And a lot of times, when that happens, you find your own deeds of power. You find out you have a strength you didn’t know before. You find out that you’re whole. You shine your light all around you. Cracks start to form in the depression that’s bound you. No, it doesn’t always happen. But when it does, it sure feels like a deed of power.
And then you go home. And then you log off. And then you’re hit upside the head with the expectations of people who knew you before. People who knew you when your light was hidden even to you. “You can’t be like that!” they say. “What do you mean you’re gay? No, this is just a phase. I remember your boyfriends.” And it feels like they’re all holding so tightly to the idea of you that they’d constructed that it’s impossible for them to embrace the real you that’s before them. They insist you can’t be a girl, because you loved playing with Tonka trucks when you were a kid. They tell you this isn’t how God made you.
And maybe you feel your own deeds of power start to falter. Maybe you feel your light start to flicker.
But this is how God made you. This is how God is continually making you. This is how you’re continually being made new by the one who has loved you with an everlasting love.
Jesus had great wisdom, and he preached it. Jesus had great power, and did great things. But people clung too tightly to the idea they had of him. They clung to what they expected a carpenter’s kid to be. “He can’t talk like this! Where does he get off parading around here like he’s so smart. No, I know his family. He’s not what he thinks he is.”
And the people nearest him couldn’t see the person who was right before them. They couldn’t see the light shining and the truth he was living. And it hurt him. And he couldn’t make them see. He knew how it is to feel invisible. To feel rejected and misunderstood by the people he’d known the longest.
But his light kept being his light. His truth kept being his truth.
Ain’t that just the queerest thing?