One of the challenges of being a minority is that people often expect you to “represent” your group. The burden of that role and those projections can be overwhelming. One moves from being a person to embodying a category.
Whether it’s being the only Black person in a room—especially onerous in church settings or being the only LGBTQ person who is out in a family or being the only Republican at the artist mixer, the emotional, physical, and spiritual cost can be significant. This sense of being an outlier is lonely and burdensome to one’s soul.
There are some groups we are a part of that we may never name aloud. For example, those of us who have had abortions or miscarriages may share our experience with very few people, if any. This in spite of the fact that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. No one would suspect that talk of reproductive health strikes so many of us so close to the bone.
Recently I attended a retreat in which the facilitator reminded the group that each of us has a reproductive health story, along with a faith story. In this group there were stories of infertility, abortion, miscarriage, sex work, and abuse. Looking at this group on the surface, you would not think that all this pain abided in it. It was not obvious that this group represented so much.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus is invited to attend a fancy dinner at which folks are vying to have places of honor. He extols the attendees to take the lowest seats. That if we want to be great, we need to be least. Jesus takes the lowest seat because that is where there is most company. Nobody must ‘represent’ because we are all there.
Let’s take our place at the table.
The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector