|PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Paolino|
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
"Those dear tokens of his passion still his dazzling body bears..."
Those dear tokens––those wounds inflicted by a brutal imperial hegemony––remain a core feature of the Body of Christ, in both his resurrected visage, as well as us, his Body in the world.
Yet despite my own on-going sense of daily death and resurrection, I still find myself (as I am sure do so many others) walking the path of (im-)patient expectation. Much in the same way Jesus' own wounds reflect a certain degree of choice, so too I begin to feel the sense that the wounds we experience as HIV-positive people also reflect a degree of choice. This is, by no means, an indictment of the manner by which we become HIV-positive; the wound there is in no way something self-inflicted. Rather, at least in my own meditation on the matter, the "dear tokens" which confront me daily are a matter of my own choice around disclosure. I am wounded no matter my choice: I can hide, attempt to pass through the world untouched by this peculiar bodily companion, or I can do what I have done and give the thing a face in the world. If I hide, I am crushed by the closet of shame and fear. If I disclose, I am rendered and read as many things, none of which I truly believe I am: a victim, one inflicted, something to be pitied, a body to be feared and avoided, the manifestation of one of our epoch's great and terrible specters, dirty.
We are none of these things, though. We walk our path of living Advent, but we do so knowing that "what God has made clean, [no one can] call dirty."
To the sero-negative, ponder this during Advent. Be a light for those you know (or may not know) are sero-positive. Lay down the banner of fear.
To my fellow sero-positive, resist the labels that others might want to apply to us. Wear these wounds with pride, knowing that God has transformed them––just as peculiarly as on Easter––and, as a result has transformed us by them and through them. Show your pierced hands and open sides to the world; give birth to a new reality.
Sean Glenn is Integrity's Diocesan Organizer for Massachusetts. He is a composer and conductor of sacred choral music, and holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Boston University and a Master of Arts in Music from the Aaron Copland School at Queens College. His home on the web is www.seanglenn.com.