Friday is my officemate’s day off, so I usually have music playing to keep me company. This past Friday, instead of my usual Spotify playlist, I instead had the first all-female spacewalk live video feed open in the background on my computer. For several hours, I listened to astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir working together in space and astronaut Stephanie Wilson at mission control at the Johnson Space Center. It was an awe-inspiring and humbling experience. I have always been fascinated by the space program (even though I am seriously afraid of heights and don’t even like flying in an airplane, let alone a spaceship!).
You may remember that there was a planned all-female spacewalk back in March, but plans had to be changed after they realized that there weren’t enough spacesuits in appropriate sizes on the space station. NASA hadn’t planned for there to be two women needing the same size suit for their spacewalk when they sent the supplies into space. I am very happy that the historic moment happened last week, but I also wish it could have happened sooner.
Early this week, I read a blog post titled “There are no Vegetarians in breadlines . . . or are there?” by UMC pastor Jeremy Smith. Rev. Smith had recently visited a group that provides a monthly meal for the homeless in their community. The person running the group commented that they provided a vegetarian option for the visiting clergy group, but not for their regular meals because, “There are no vegetarian homeless people . . . When you are homeless; you eat what you are given.” Rev. Smith explored this idea in the blog post.
What struck me is that both the belief that “there are no vegetarian homeless people” and the lack of adequately-sized spacesuits come from the same idea. This is the same idea that I’ve heard elsewhere. It is expressed as “We don’t have a breastfeeding space because we don’t have mothers of young children who come here” from a business or other gathering place. It is expressed in the comment, “I don’t need to use a microphone. I’m loud enough for everyone to hear me.” It is expressed by, “We don’t need a bike rack, everyone always drives here.” Perhaps mothers of young children see that there is no space for them and so they do not stay. Perhaps those who can’t hear you well feel unwelcome and leave. Perhaps those who do not have a car do not feel safe leaving their bike unlocked in your parking lot and don’t even come in.
How often do we limit ourselves to what has always been instead of being open to what could be? God’s plan is not about maintaining the status quo. Look at God’s incarnation—Jesus. Jesus didn’t go along to get along. He caused holy disruptions to the way things were to focus on the way things could and should be. The Kingdom of God is full of so many possibilities that we can’t even begin to imagine them all. Instead of limiting ourselves to who/how/what we thought it had to be, let’s open ourselves to God’s holy possibilities. Let’s dream holy dreams of ever expanding circles of inclusion.