I drove to Toledo Hospital this afternoon to visit a parishioner. I went straight down M-52 and came in on Central Avenue. Nearing the hospital, I caught a street name in my peripheral eye: Middlesex Drive. What a curious word, middlesex, I said to myself. It’s not one sex or the other sex, but it’s middlesex.
Earlier this year my wife started a worship service at her church to serve the LGBT community. The Gathering meets monthly on Sunday evening in the church hall. There is music, a message (often by me), prayers and communion. A few gay folks have begun to attend, along with others from her congregation. Growth is slow. Gays do not have positive impressions of church. My wife tells me awful stories of homeless gay teens kicked out of the house by their families. She yearns to offer gays and lesbians a spiritual home to worship God and discover worth.
At the last Gathering service, a gay man presided at communion. He took up the blue chalice in fingers painted with red polish on all ten nails. It was striking and jarring to see that gender bending image: a chalice held in masculine hands with feminine touches on them. His hands are middlesex — neither one sex nor the other but blending elements of both. The middlesex have always been among us, but up until now they have kept a far lower profile.
It will take time for me to grow accustomed to middlesex sights. His hands on the chalice made me reflect and smile. Learning to accept such sights with grace is what my journey calls for now; it is a part of the call to welcome strangers and make them friends.