Embraceable Us

“Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you …
Embrace me, you irreplaceable you…”
(George Gershwin)

You and I are nothing short of a miracle. Each and every one of us. Our very individual existence is a miracle.

Think of all the people who went into making you you and me me. Start with our parents, multiply by two for grandparents and work backwards from there.

Each of us began in a single moment, when one egg and one sperm came together. Had it happened on a different night, or even at a different hour, the outcome would have been different. We wouldn’t have been us; we would have been somebody else.

Every human being we meet, every day, is a miracle. Of course as Christians, we have heard that Jesus is in everybody. That when we hug a crying child, we are hugging Christ, and that when we turn away from a homeless man who asks for spare change, we’re turning away from Him. But the people we encounter in our lives do not simply represent Jesus; they are like Him at a level even deeper and more profound.

Jesus was a miracle. This is evident enough to us, His disciples, whether we believe in the Virgin Birth or not. He seems to have been rather ordinary in appearance, which must have been why His earliest followers found it so easy to apply to Him the prophecy from Isaiah: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Chapter 53, NIV). Yet there had to have been something about this First Century rabbi from Galilee that was so distinctive, so compelling, so unique that nearly all whose lives touched His were forever transformed.

Every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender human being is a miracle. None of us was an accident, none of us happened strictly by chance, and certainly none of us is a mistake. Our very being, our existence — yours and mine — are miracles. No matter how many people may fail to recognize this, it remains the truth.

Think how easy it would have been for you or me never to have come into being. It would have been far easier than it was for us to come about. Working backwards through the centuries — through the very seconds — that led up to us, the odds against any of us being here were so mathematically improbable that it would stagger the imagination of anybody a thousand times brighter than Einstein.

Science answers how, and religion attempts to provide insight into why. It explores meaning in ways science can’t. Neither endeavor could ever replace the other, nor need they be at odds with each other. They answer very different kinds of questions. But science and mathematics can give us a greater appreciation for what some of the “why’s” might be.

If we are wildly improbable, yet individually unique, then each of us must be here for a purpose. There’s a reason every human miracle occurs. Again, science is not equipped to answer why. Those answers, we must seek through our faith in the transcendent.

That we are “mistakes” is clearly not an answer. No miracle is ever a mistake. Only God can make a miracle, and God never makes mistakes. That so many supposedly-pious people claim otherwise is nothing short of blasphemous. That they drive many more away from God than they draw to “Him” should hardly be surprising.

When we recognize ourselves, and others, as miracles, we’re able to embrace not only those who are like us but those who may be very different. When they see the miraculous in us, they are able to embrace us. More and more, heterosexual Christians are awakening to the realization that, far from being mistakes, each of us is a special creation, lovingly and deliberately crafted to be exactly who we are. It may be that before they can embrace the miraculous in us, they must recognize it in themselves. Despite all their nonsense about “praying the gay away,” it’s hard to believe many homophobes see the miraculous in much of anything.

God doesn’t need them to correct “His” mistakes because, again, “He” doesn’t make any. When we recognize every human being as a miracle, we can begin to see our work as disciples of Christ as attending to God’s miracles in this world — serving them, furthering them, expanding upon them. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12, NIV). Jesus didn’t mean that we’d be better than He was — that, for example, instead of merely walking a short distance on the water, we would run across an entire ocean at Olympic speed. He meant we would carry on His work and, because there are so many of us, we would spread it across every ocean and help link humanity hand-in-hand.

This doesn’t mean we persuade everybody to believe in the same dogma we do. It means that we reveal to them that God loves them, lovingly created them and made each of them a miracle. Miracles don’t kill or persecute each other; they enhance each other’s lives and help each reach his or her full potential. They don’t try to improve upon God’s creation by attempting to make them anything other than who God made them to be. They embrace them for who they are, knowing that when their arms reach out to them, their arms are an extension of the arms of Christ. And that, indeed, it is Christ they are embracing.