By Aimée Maude Sims
On March 12, I partook of the body and blood of Christ across from a manually-powered bucking bronco and within earshot of a drag show spectacular.
We created a sanctuary there, at the St. Francis of Assisi Church’s booth at the Jacob Javits GLBT Expo on West 34th street in Manhattan, NYC. I’m not Catholic. I didn’t know the words to the refrains – or when to kneel or make the sign of the cross. But I know Jesus, and because of that I felt welcome.
An encounter at the Expo
I grinned like a court jester the whole time, bouncing around on my tippy toes to read hymn lyrics off the paper of the person standing in front of me. Here we were celebrating the Lenten season, fresh from the contemplative holy day of Ash Wednesday, welcoming the “GLBT Expo Congregation” to take part in the Lord’s Supper. I was invited to share the encounter. And sometimes an encounter is all you need.
Lisa Ling said during her OWN Network special, “Pray the Gay Away?” that she’d “fallen in love with Jesus” during the course of her research for the program. We have such an eminently lovable Savior that it took just a little bit of “research,” to draw the heart of an accredited journalist. “If I be lifted up, I will draw …” As GLBT individuals we know a little bit about the price of love. We have a thing or two we can teach the church. If only we would all come to the communion table.
At first I didn’t realize it was a mass. I just saw a booth for a church with people gathered in front of it and made myself at home. When we all shook hands to pass the peace, I thought the service was over and had nearly walked away when I noticed the bread and wine. We drank from one cup – cold virii be damned (literally!) I grabbed for the chalice (I think I wasn’t supposed to do that). There was so little wine in the bottom of the cup that I automatically responded to the urge to raise and tip the goblet back further. The host was placed in my hands and I savored the moment.
Yes, I am one of the ones that He gave His life for. One reason among an impromptu congregation of reasons. A Pentecostal Holiness child among Catholics, a lesbian among drag queens, a child of God, among children of God. And so I smiled.