Communion for All: A Queer, Lutheran Sacrament of Wild Welcome


We must know that we are not only welcome at this meal; we are this meal.…God, great Mother/Father/[Spirit] God, move through the elements prepared today….Break this bread in our hearts, so that we will know the urgency of speaking as queer Christians….Give us the breath and blood of people who can witness the welcome of all beings, and let us know in this great thanksgiving that we are cherished, and loved forever and ever. Amen.[1]



[1] In many Christian communities in the United States, LGBTQIA+ persons are still viewed as sinful and/or disordered and are excluded from congregations.[2] This occurs even though “40% of LGBT adults ages 18 to 34 are religious.”[3] In the midst of this ongoing oppression, some Christian communities do welcome queer persons into their congregations, leadership, and worship. In 2019, the churchwide assembly of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to approve the social statement, Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action, which affirms the diversity of creation, the diversity of biological sex, and the vast variety of gender and sexuality.[4]

[2] In addition to this affirming openness to queer lives, recent research reveals that heterosexual Christians can develop more accepting attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ persons by studying biblical texts about acceptance.[5]  Clara Wilkins and Lerone Martin demonstrate that values like acceptance and equity can be cultivated. “Mainline Christians who read about biblical acceptance [JN 8:3-11].…reported greater support for same-sex marriage and lower sexual prejudice.”[6] Here I contend that theological texts like Luther’s theology of the Lord’s Supper and interpretations of the Eucharist crafted by queer theologians can function in similar ways to the values explored by Wilkins and Martin.[7] Understanding and employing several of the inclusive theological claims/values present in Communion (such as newness, fellowship, and passionate love) can increase acceptance of queer persons.[8]

[3] In addition, incorporating theological claims about the Eucharist crafted by LGBTQIA+ theologians can lead to a deeper appreciation of the lives and loves of queer Christians. Finally, queering the Lord’s Supper is part of the ongoing justice work of church; especially when queer is employed as a verb (as it is here) meaning to trouble, to create, to explore power relations, to resist heteronormativity, and to expand the welcome of God’s table.

[4] This article is organized around three proposals. In each, I describe a challenge facing LGBTQIA+ Christians. Then I weave strands from Luther’s theology of Communion together with threads from queer theologians’ reimagining of the Eucharist which offer a thoroughly Lutheran but often ignored way of envisioning the Lord’s Supper.

  • Although some individuals may feel trapped by their previous, assigned identities or past relationships, this queer Lutheran reframing of Communion views the sacrament as a place where new life, new identity, new body-minds, and new relationships are given and accepted.[9]
  • Many LGBTQIA+ persons struggle with isolation or loneliness (in part) because they are not fully welcomed by their families of origin or by their faith communities. This queer Lutheran reweaving of the Eucharist holds that participants in the sacrament share communio, (a Latin term that refers to a community united in the mystical body of Christ in a common life, common prayer, and common service), with one another by sharing and consuming bread, wine, and one another.
  • Queer Christians frequently feel they cannot bring their embodied relationships and sexuality to the table. In this queer Lutheran reimagining of Lord’s Supper, Christians hear the promise that God in Christ is ubiquitous—present in the elements, in human persons, and in human activities, including sexuality and erotic expression.[10]

[5] Early in his reforming career, Luther tried to communicate the radical gift and promise of Communion. “For just as one would act if ten thousand [dollars] were bequeathed to them by a good friend, so…we ought to conduct ourselves towards [Communion]. It is nothing else that an exceedingly rich and everlasting good testament bequeathed to us by Christ himself.”[11] In this queer Lutheran proposal, Communion is reimagined as a gift of wild hospitality for all persons that offers and receives newness, fellowship, and the passionate love for God, self, neighbor, and creation.


The Queer Lord’s Supper Offers & Affirms New Life & Identities

[6] Luther taught that Communion offers new life. And several LGBTQIA+ theologians also highlight the new identity that is gifted at the table. The promise of newness is particularly welcomed by individuals who feel like they are overly-determined by their past. This past may include their relationships, their personal identity, their gender, and the sex they were assigned at birth. Some LGBTQAI+ persons have not been able to live as their authentic selves. For instance, they may have felt that it was best for them to enter into a heterosexual-appearing marriage or to participate in straight, cisgender relationships in order to maintain existing social relationships and to ensure their own economic stability. Other individuals who identify as transgender might seek to live more authentic, coherent ways-of-being self by claiming new names, new identities, and new expressions of embodiment. This may not be new for them, but it can be perceived as new by others. Too often those who transition into a more authentic way of being are told that God made them a particular way and they must remain as God created them. When these individuals choose to live authentically, they are frequently told that they must go back to their previous identity (supposedly straight, stable, and cisgender) or to the biological sex that was assigned to them at birth. Thankfully—as I contend here—God gives, receives, and welcomes diversely-wonderful new identities and new ways of being self at the Eucharist.

[7] Luther consistently taught that the Lord’s Supper offers the benefits of new life, the forgiveness of sins, God’s presence, and communio. “[I]n the sacrament you are to receive from Christ’s lips the forgiveness of sins.”[12] Luther also taught that the Lord’s Supper is a place of new life in Christ and in the communio that is the body of Christ. “[W]e go to the sacrament because there we receive a great treasure….for it nourishes and strengthens the new creature.”[13] This newness is grounded in the body of Christ. Luther wrote, “[w]hen we eat such bread we all receive and eat together, one as much as the other, not plain bread but the body of Christ.”[14] This new identity offered in Communion also comes in part from the eschatological dynamism of the sacrament. Jesus connected the Last Supper that he shared with his close followers to the already-in-breaking reign of God (Mark 14:25, Matthew 26:29). Luther preached that participants are made new as they anticipate God’s promised future. “So, when we eat Christ’s flesh physically and spiritually, the food is so powerful that it transforms us into itself and out of fleshy, sinful, mortal [persons] makes spiritual, holy, living [people]. This we are already…but we shall experience it on the Last Day.”[15] Finally, Luther taught that the benefits of Communion are for each distinct individual—for you! Luther wrote, “when I distribute the sacrament, I designate it for the individual who is receiving it; I give [that individual] Christ’s body and blood….in the sacrament it is given to you and to me in particular.”[16] This “for you” is especially important for individuals who have had to conceal who they are. At the table they are fully welcome and fully seen as made-new members of the body of Christ.

[8] Numerous LGBTQIA+ theologians interpret the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament for new identities and novel ways of being embodied selves. Too many queer persons are told that they cannot express new names, new identities, nor co-create their coherent body-minds.[17] In the Lord’s Supper, participants express and experience their new identities and embodiment. When queering the Eucharist, theologian Elizabeth Stuart avers that participants are made new as they are caught up in, constituted by, and incorporated into the queer body of Christ.[18] Stuart and many other LGBTQIA+ theologians employ queer to describe an individual’s (self-chosen) identity or identity within discourses. In addition, the term queer is frequently used as a verb to describe a way of interrogating heteronormative claims about gender, sexuality, and theology. Finally, queering theology—as Stuart and I are proposing—involves creativity, play, inversion, and celebration with the goal of expanding the wild welcome of the Eucharistic table. For Stuart, the newness given in queer Communion also comes from anticipating the eschatological life, “in which gender and sexual identities built upon it are rendered non-ultimate.”[19] Stuart’s reimagining of the sacrament celebrates newness in identity and in one’s future in the trinitarian life. In his queer proposal, Ángel F. Méndez-Montoya contends that the sacramental flesh of the queer Christ “subverts all identities….This does not imply relativizing or deconcretizing sexual identity…but it is rather an evocation of an identity overflowing all borders, an identity in Christ.”[20] Each person’s identity is not concealed or lost at the table; rather one’s identity in Christ overflows. An additional benefit of queering the Lord’s Supper is that this new identity is not set or unchanging; rather it is in process and fluid (as opposed to stable or fixed).

[9] Other insights from queer theologians demonstrate the newness that can be woven into this re-crafting of Communion. Patrick S. Cheng employs the postcolonial concept of hybridity (the overflowing or comingling of two spaces or identities) to argue that Jesus Christ is hybrid. Cheng then proposes that many LGBTQIA+ persons—especially persons of color—understand their individual identities as hybrid. This new, hybrid self rejects the heterocolonial binaries of gay/straight and human/divine.[21] Furthermore, this new, hybrid way of being self recognizes the complex intersectional identity of each person.[22] For example, an individual’s identity may involve the intersecting axes of biological sex, gender, race, class, and/or ability.

[10] Finally, the theme of newness is very important for those individuals who co-create their body-minds in ways that are authentic for them. At the table, new names, new identities, and new incarnations of body-mind are celebrated and welcomed. Méndoz-Montoya writes, “The Eucharistic body is queer in the sense of imagining a body politics of radical inclusion.”[23] Although LGBTQIA+ persons are told to remain as they were (or as they supposedly should be), God in Christ spreads the Communion table for all, welcoming new identities, new body-minds, new relations, and new ways of being the Body of Christ for self and for others.


Queer Communio Resists Loneliness & Practices Wild Hospitality

[11] Recent research shows that many individuals experience loneliness.[24] The isolation and loneliness that many experience may be more extreme for queer persons. One survey shows that 37% of LGBT persons report that they moved away from their family of origin;[25] and these numbers are likely even higher for queer Christians whose families practice conservative Christianity. For many LGBTQIA+ Christians, their congregation, with its rituals, and sacraments can and do provide community that helps them resist the isolation and loneliness caused by the heteronormativity in the church and in the broader culture.

[12] Luther’s interpretation of the Lord’s Supper as a place of fellowship (as a somewhat mystical interconnection) aligns with queer claims that the Eucharist breaks down social barriers and creates fellowship and equity. For Luther, the Lord’s Supper creates fellowship as the bread, wine, and Word move through participants. This communio/fellowship comes through the Eucharist because of what Christ accomplished and is working in the sacrament. In addition, participants become equal members of the body of Christ as they consume one another. Luther wrote,

[W]e Christians are the spiritual body of Christ and collectively one loaf, one drink, one spirit….this is achieved by Christ, who through his own body makes us all to be one spiritual body…so that all of us partake equally of his body, and are therefore equal and united with one another….so each one also eats and drinks the other; that is, each consumes the other in everything…so that we are simply food and drink to one another, just as Christ is simply food and drink to us.[26]


And for Luther, this communio of the table extends into service for the neighbor in the world.

[T]hrough this same love, we are to be changed and to make the infirmities of all other Christians to be our own, we are to take upon ourselves their form and their necessity….That is the real fellowship and the true significance of this sacrament….we are changed into one another and are made into a community by love.[27]

[13] This mutual consumption in love illustrates how the Lord’s Supper is a place of deep connection that counters loneliness. Today, queer theologians emphasize the communal dynamic of the Eucharist. For example, Elizabeth Stuart (like Luther) states that the eucharistic union of individuals is grounded in the triune God, and it offers “a promise of complete union with the divine…in which diversity in unity is held together perfectly in the trinitarian life.”[28] Elsewhere, Stuart contends that differences in identity and sexual practices should not be used to exclude anyone from the table. Queer theologian Robert Goss affirms the Lord’s Supper as an example of Jesus’ “open commensality” and suggests that Communion is a place of “wild hospitality practiced by Jesus as signs of God’s reign in our midst.”[29]

[14] It is important to recognize that queer theologians emphasize communio without losing the particularities of each person’s identity. This is vital since so many LGBTQIA+ individuals have had to fight to identify, claim, and live out their complex, intersecting identities. The fellowship at the table should never cause a loss of identity. This attention to particularity resonates with Luther’s point that the body and blood are “given for you” and “shed for you.”[30] Theologian Ángel F. Méndez-Montoya writes that “Sharing the body of Christ dissolves all boundaries, and enacts a body-politics of inclusion, of mutual co-abiding.”[31] Communion queered creates fellowship and resists isolation only if everyone can bring their full, intersectional selves to the table and not be forced or coerced to lay aside their specific identity for the sake of unity.

[15] A queer theology of the Lord’s Supper also involves an analysis of power and fosters equity. Excluding people from table fellowship because of their identity or relationships (or race or ability) is a sinful abuse of power. Queer theologian Robert E. Shore-Goss draws on the work of Michael Welker, who writes, “It is a total perversion of communion to turn it into a process of judgment by some persons over others.”[32] And theologian Rachelle Brown employs a power analysis of the sacrament and lifts up the values of diversity and equity offered in Communion. “Variation at the table is the call to proclaim the value of all persons as no longer profane or unclean before the table of God.”[33] Like Luther, Brown also emphasizes the way the sacrament creates mutually-consuming fellowship. “Participants engage in the actions of giving and receiving in communion with Christ and with one another. Participants receive in order to consume and be filled.”[34]

[16] The queer commitment to individuality-in-community is also emphasized by theologian Austen Hartke. Communio involves “life in abundance…when they [participants] are loved for all of who they are; when their differences are respected…and when they feel safe enough to drop their defenses.”[35] When LGBTQIA+ persons experience welcome, coherence, and fullness-of-self at the table, it changes the fellowship for everyone present. As Luther and queer theologians argue, we eat and drink one another and therefore; we are fundamentally changed by one another at the table. Queering the Eucharist also leads to queering liturgy and worship. Siobhan Garrigan describes the profound implications of bringing queer values, lives, and loves to the table. “Queer worship envisions not only the creation of a church in which LGBT Christians are beloved, but a church in which all Christians…can grow into fullness of life by the grace of God.”[36] Thus, queering the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper can result in the queering of the entire church.

[17] Many people struggle with loneliness and isolation and other forms of systemic oppression that marginalize and dehumanize them. It is good news to hear that at the table, Christians not only eat and drink Jesus Christ, but they consume and connect with one another in ways that lead them to help one another in their daily lives. This Eucharistic “treasure” (as Luther called it[37]) resists loneliness, advances equity, and empowers mutually-consuming fellowship with one another in congregations and communities.


Bringing the Erotic—of God and of Ourselves—to the Table

[18] Although several Christian denominations welcome LGBTQIA+ persons, in many of these (supposedly more-accepting) congregations, queer persons are welcome only if they present like heterosexual, cisgender individuals and families. In addition to this heteronormative assimilation, a false theological belief also exists. This espouses that human sexuality is somehow outside of God’s concern or blessing. LGBTQIA+ persons are uniquely harmed when the pressure to conform to heteronormativity is paired with the belief that God is not present in human sexuality. In the Eucharist, where everyone should be fully welcome, some queer persons feel they must mask their identities and relationships. In reality, few individuals (including those who identify as straight, cisgender persons) probably feel that the Lord’s Supper is a place to bring and experience their sexuality and the erotic dimensions of their lives and loves. But Luther’s teachings regarding ubiquity (the presence of Christ and of God) in Communion can be woven together with queer commitments regarding the erotic/eros. This interweaving reveals the Eucharist as a sacramental encounter that welcomes and embraces humans as erotically-empowered, passionate, embodied beings who enter into communio with God and with one another.

[19] Luther rejected the Reformed argument that Christ was merely sitting at the right hand of God. When Luther described his understanding of the Lord’s Supper, he taught that Jesus Christ is fully present in the sacrament and in creation. Luther preached what theologians refer to as ubiquity (from the Latin ubique = everywhere). He wrote, “The right hand of God is not a special place, where a body could or should be. It is the almighty power of God which can be both nowhere and everywhere.”[38] Luther also employed ubiquity to teach that God is in humans as they partake of the Lord’s Supper. “[God] humiliates himself for our sake, descending into…the flesh, into the bread, into our mouth, heart and belly.”[39] In addition, Luther contended that God is radically present in creation. “[God] must be present in every single creature in its innermost and outermost being…through and through…nothing can be more truly present and within all creatures than God.”[40] If God is fully present in the Lord’s Supper and in all creation, then God is also present in all of the embodied experiences of humans. Wouldn’t communion look and feel different if each participant could believe this promise? God is in, with, and under humans when they make love, play, and take pleasure in embodied, erotic experiences. Luther wrote about the gift and pleasure of (albeit heterosexual and monogamous) sexual relations.[41] “God did not create [humans] in order that villainy should be perpetuated through celibacy, but rather gave to the body its nature of being able to be fruitful and multiply. It is a great and excellent blessing, which no human heart would ever have conceived.”[42]

[20] Again, resonance exists between a Lutheran interpretation of Communion and the eucharistic proposals of queer theologians. Both contend that the Lord’s Supper includes and affirms the erotically-infused, sexual, and relational aspects of life. The use of the erotic/eros by queer theologians is informed by the early four-fold concept of love which involves erōs (passionate, sometimes sexual), philia (sibling or friend), agapē (from God, selfless), and storgē (affection, familial).[43] African American theorist Audre Lorde’s writings influence queer appropriations of the erotic. For Lorde, the erotic is not limited to sexual intimacy. Rather, “[t]he erotic…is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power…we can require no less of ourselves….the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing.”[44]

[21] Philosophers and theologians since Plato have often contended that the erotic has its origins and telos (goal/culmination) in God. “Eros is the divine call in the core of embodiment that insists upon…and cries out for relational life at its most abundant.”[45] Theologian Thomas Bohache rejects erotophobia (fear of the erotic). He grounds the erotic in the Trinity, and connects eros to human body-minds.  “Eros/God is Deity present in each of us, who are the Body(ies) of God; the use of our bodies in sexual passion gods the creation….this Erotic also fortifies us to be community and church for one another precisely because it works through our bodies and not in spite of them.”[46] The erotic here is re-imagined as a gift coming from (and to) God, infusing all parts of life. The erotic connects sensuality and spirituality. And the human longing for God, food, and physical pleasure spring from a common desire (eros) that is satisfied at the table. Theologians Laurel C. Schneider and Thelathia Nikki Young describe it this way. “The Eucharistic meal at the heart of Christian ritual, when it is not overly sanitized and domesticated, is a gathering of flesh and blood in hunger and desire for touch, food, life, other bodies.”[47] In this way, the Lord’s Supper queered connects the erotic to communio, to affirming embodied pleasure and justice. Eros, coming from God in the bread and wine, and coming through participants in communio, is shared at the table, and the erotic empowers individuals to pursue justice. Theologian Jay Johnson writes, “The vision of the Eucharistic life readily appears in…the passionate mutuality of sexual intimacy. Bodily desire leads human beings to seek both food and sex, an erotic impulse that…sets the Eucharistic Table. As the circle of intimate desire expands…it carries with it the potential to transform…social and economic structures.”[48] Communion viewed in this way is a place where LGBTQIA+ persons (and everyone) can bring the erotic dimensions of their lives to the table. When LGBTQIA+ persons participate in the Lord’s Supper, they can trust and receive that God is fully present in the meal, in their body-minds, and in the erotic as it flows powerfully through their daily activities and as it expresses itself in relations of pleasure, respect, and love.


Concluding Thoughts

[22] As I complete this article in the summer of 2023, the New York Times reports, “[o]ver 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures”.[49] In addition, many Christian communities actively deny women the opportunity to minister as ordained leaders.[50] These anti-LGBTQIA+ bills and the exclusion of women from church leadership exemplify the sins of sexism and homophobia. But minds and hearts can and do change. Individuals can move from condemnation to acceptance. Forgiveness and newness are possible. Those who misuse Christianity and the sacraments to enforce heteronormativity and to condemn LGBTQIA+ persons are welcome to the table, to confess, and to ask for forgiveness for their sins of homophobia and sexism. Holy Communion is a place, a space, a sacrament of forgiveness for all those who—as Luther wrote—“earnestly desire grace and comfort.”[51]

[23] In addition to offering forgiveness, the Lord’s Supper is a testament and promise that offers newness, communio, and passionate love (eros) to all. Bringing together commitments from Luther’s theology with insights from queer theologies reveals that there are numerous confluences among these different approaches to Christian theology. This queering of the Lord’s Supper can help all Christians experience Communion as a sacrament of abundant grace that breaks down many of the false dualisms that perpetuate sexism and homophobia. For those queer persons who struggle against the (supposedly-determining) forces of their pasts, against loneliness, and against erotophobia, this queer Lutheran interpretation of the Eucharist announces the promise that the sacrament is a treasure for them as unique individuals (“for you”), as embodied beings, as members of communio, as neighbors, as lovers, and as God’s beautiful creatures.


[1] Collette Jackson, “Witness God’s Welcome: A Communion Celebration,” in Andrea Bieler and Luise Schottroff, The Eucharist: Bodies, Bread, & Resurrection (Minneapolis: Fortress Press: 2007), 130.

[2] Queer persons experience discrimination at work, in housing, and in health care. This discrimination is worse queer persons of color and those who are disabled. Sejal Singh and Laura E. Durso, “Widespread Discrimination Continues to Shape LGBT People’s Lives in Both Subtle and Significant Ways,” Center for American Progress, accessed May 2, 2023,

[3] “Religiosity among LGBT Adults in the US,” The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, accessed March 18, 2023,

[4] Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action [2019], see page 17, accessed June1, 2023;

[5] At the time of publication, these acronyms were the preferred terms by many in the queer community. “GLAAD Media Reference Guide – 11th Edition,” GLAAD, accessed February 10, 2023,

[6] Clara L. Wilkins and Lerone A. Martin, “New Research Suggests Christians See LGBT Progress as Threatening,” Religion and Politics (August 2021):

[7] I use the terms Lord’s Supper, Communion, and Eucharist interchangeably.

[8] Although many ideas in Martin Luther’s theology have been life-giving for some, too often his words dehumanize others. I recognize that Luther taught numerous things that are anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, ableist, homophobic, and misogynistic. For too long, Lutherans have failed to reject the hateful rhetoric in Luther’s legacy. I commit that my own work with Luther’s theology will repudiate dehumanization and advocate grace and inclusion for all.

[9] This article springs from a research presentation and conversations held at the 14th International Congress for Luther Research in 2022. My thanks to the participants of the “Luther and Religion” seminar.

[10] Communion has long been used to exclude the divorced, people of other faiths, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ persons. There is also a long, racist history of controlling and excluding the bodies of people of color at the table. See, Katie M. Grimes, “Breaking the Body of Christ: The Sacraments of Initiation in a Habitat of White Supremacy,” Political Theology 18 no. 1 (February 2017): 22-42.

[11] Martin Luther, A Treatise on the Testament, That Is, The Holy Mass, 1520. LW 35: 87.

[12] Martin Luther, The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther 1529, translated by Kirsi I. Stjerna (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016), 412; See also LW 37:131-134.

[13] Ibid., 405; see also LW 35:86.

[14] Martin Luther, The Adoration of the Sacrament 1523, LW 36: 285.

[15] Martin Luther, That These Words of Christ, “This is My Body,” etc., Still Stand Firm Against the Fanatics 1527, LW: 37:101.

[16] Martin Luther, The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ—Against the Fanatics 1526, LW: 36: 348-49; see also LW 51:190.

[17] For more on how individuals co-create their new identities with God, see Mary Elise Lowe, “From the Same Spirit: Receiving the Theological Gifts of Transgender Christians,” dialogue: A Journal of Theology 56, no. 1 (Spring 2017), 28-37.

[18] Elizabeth Stuart, “Sacramental Flesh,” in Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body, ed.   edited by Gerard Loughlin (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 66.

[19] Ibid., 71.

[20] Ángel F. Méndez-Montoya, “Eucharistic Imagination: A Queer Body-Politics,” Modern Theology 30, no. 2 (April 2014), 336.

[21] Patrick S. Cheng, “Cur Deus Homo[sexual]: The Queer Incarnation,” in Queering Christianity: Finding a Place at the Table for LGBTQI Christians, eds. Robert E. Shore Goss, Thomas Bohache, Patrick S. Cheng, and Mona West (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2013), 58-59.

[22] For more on intersectionality, see ELCA, Faith, Sexism, and Justice, 77.

[23] Méndez-Montoya, “Eucharistic Imagination,” 330.

[24] Dan Witters, “Loneliness in U.S. Subsides from Pandemic High,” Gallup, accessed May 15, 2023,,to%20the%20February%202023%20survey.

[25] Widespread Discrimination Continues to Shape LGBT People’s Lives in Both Subtle and Significant Ways, May 02, 2017, Center for American Progress.

[26] Luther, The Adoration of the Sacrament 1523, LW 36: 286–287.

[27] Martin Luther, The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body and Christ, and the Brotherhoods 1519,” in The Annotated Luther, vol. 1: The Roots of Reform, eds. Hans Hillerbrand, Kirsi I Stjerna, Timothy J. Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), 241. Oswald Bayer suggest that the theme of (mystical) community was a constant in Luther’s theology. See Oswald Bayer, Martin Luther’s Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 271.

[28] Elizabeth Stuart, “Making No Sense: Liturgy as Queer Space,” in Dancing Theology in Fetish Boots: Essays in Honour of Marcella Althaus Reid, eds. Lisa Isherwood and Mark D. Jordan (London: SCM Press, 2010) 118.

[29] Robert E. Shore-Goss, “Introduction: Queering the Table,” in Queering Christianity, 8.

[30] Martin Luther, The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther 1529, translated by Kirsi I. Sterna, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), 407.

[31] Méndez-Montoya, “Eucharistic Imagination,” 334.

[32] Michael Welker, What Happens in Holy Communion? (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 73.

[33] Rachelle Brown, “Beyond the Open Table: Queering Holy Communion,” in Queering Christianity, 201.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Austen Hartke, Transforming: The Bible & The Lives of Transgender Christians (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2023), 160.

[36] Siobhan Garrigan, “Queer Worship,” Theology & Sexuality 15, no. 2 (August 2009), 229.

[37] M. Luther, The Large Catechism, 407.

[38] Martin Luther, WA 23, 133, 19, quoted in Marc Leinhard, Luther: Witness to Christ (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1982), 207.

[39] M. Luther, WA 23, 157, 30, quoted in Leinhard, Luther: Witness to Christ, 242.

[40] Martin Luther, That These Words of Christ, “This is My Body,” etc., Still Stand Firm Against the Fanatics 1527, LW, 37: 58.

[41] See my article for a summary of how Luther viewed male same-sex relations and an analysis of the way Luther employed the trope of the Sodomite. Mary Elise Lowe, “The Queer Body-Mind in Martin Luther’s Theology: From Subaltern Sodomite to Embodied Imago Dei,” in The Alternative Luther: Lutheran Theology from the Subaltern, ed. Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen (Lanham: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2019), 118-136.

[42] Martin Luther, Ten Sermons on the Catechism 1528, LW 51, 153-54; See also LW 45:18, and Elisabeth Gerle, Passionate Embrace: Luther on Love, Body, and Sensual Pleasure (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2017).

[43] “Four Kinds of Love in Greek,” Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive, accessed February 22, 2023,

[44] Audre Lorde, “The Uses of The Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (Berkeley: Crossing Press, 2007), 54.

[45] Laurie Jungling, “Creation as God’s Call into Erotic Embodied Relationality,” in The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity, ed. Margaret D. Kamitsuka (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010) 225.

[46] Thomas Bohache “Can we Sex This? Eroticizing Divinity and Humanity,” in Queering Christianity, 138.

[47] Laurel C. Schneider and Thelathia Nikki Young, Queer Soul and Queer Theology: Ethics and Redemption in Real Life (New York: Routledge 2021), 30.

[48] Jay Emerson Johnson, Divine Communion: A Eucharistic Theology of Sexual Intimacy (New York: Seabury Books, 2013), 115-116.

[49] Culleen Peele, “Roundup of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation Advancing In States Across the Country,” Human Rights Campaign, accessed June 15, 2023,

[50] Jason DeRose, “Southern Baptists Say No to Women Pastors, Uphold Expulsion of Saddleback Megachurch,” National Public Radio, accessed June 15, 2023,

[51] Luther, Large Catechism, 411.

Dr. Mary Lowe, Augsburg College

Mary Lowe

Mary Elise Lowe is Professor of Religion at Augsburg University. She teaches and publishes in the fields of Lutheran theology, Queer theologies, vocation, and contemporary Christian theologies.