I am participating in this month’s synchroblog (a blog where numerous bloggers blog on the same topic) which can be found at http://synchroblog.wordpress.com. This month’s synchroblog topic is “Gay Marriage.” I respectfully post knowing that we all are not going to agree, but this is how I feel and is not necessarily the views of my place of employment. I just returned from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) National Youth Gathering which was held in Detroit, Michigan. 30,000 Youth and adults converged on the city of Detroit as we heard their stories and served their community. We also heard wonderful speakers that helped us learn what it means to proclaim justice, build bridges and offer hope to all of God’s people.
The seven youth along with all of the youth gathered continually gave me hope for the future. They want to make a difference. They want to show God’s love to all of God’s people. They want to proclaim justice. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, justice is defined as “the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.”
So, my friends, what is fair? To them, fair is showing equality to all of God’s people even those that our different than us.
As I look at our society, I cannot help but think about how we all could use a lesson in marriage and relationships. Statistics show that the divorce rate is high. And many members of society are getting married way to young. Yet so many think it is wrong for two men or two women to get married. If these two can provide a stable home and show love to a child, do they too not deserve the same rights as a married heterosexual couple? I have a friend who is in a committed same sex relationship and has a son with her spouse. All I have ever seen is them show love to their child.
I realize that we all come down on both sides of this issue. Yet, my friends, Jesus was the one who was continually showing love to all of God’s people. Jesus was never afraid to turn the world upside down and sit and break bread with tax collectors and sinners. In a post I wrote in May of 2013 here after Minnesota passed the Freedom to marry act, I shared these words: “I don’t know what Jesus will say when we all get to heaven, but what I do know is Jesus always chose love. Jesus was always the one crossing the line onto the other side. Yet I know there are people hurting tonight because of this decision…people who don’t understand. I keep coming back to Jesus’ words that night in the upper room…’that they all may be one.’ Jesus spoke these words to his disciples that last night in the upper room even though they were far from being one themselves.” (To read that post, click here: That They All May Be One)
The truth is that we are not always going to agree with each other. Yet Jesus calls us to cling to the promise that we all may be one…trusting in this One who calls us to put our differences aside and calls us to proclaim justice to all of God’s people. In all actuality, I find myself clinging to the promises of our youth who are continually ready and willing to rise up together, to proclaim justice, offer hope and build bridges with all of God’s people.
Their actions remind me that the church is not dead, but rather is a living breathing church that is ready to shower the world with God’s love putting aside their differences and fighting for what is right. They are always ready to proclaim justice and build bridges with God’s people despite their differences. Thanks be to God for a generation that isn’t afraid to stand together and live out the words that Jesus said in the upper room that night “that we all may be one.” And as one community in Christ, we are called to “Rise up together.”
Read other synchrobloggers here: (You will find varying opinions on this topic. Be kind!)
Anytime I drive from Moorhead into Fargo or go home to Ashley for a holiday or vacation, I see a “Welcome to MN” sign as I take the first exit into Moorhead and to my apartment. For the most part, it is something that I know is there but don’t really pay that close of attention to it. However it was different this afternoon. Right as I was leaving work to go to Zumba, I saw that Minnesota passed the Freedom to Marry bill.(I’ll be honest I was ecstatic. I know not everyone feels that way but that was how I was feeling.) On my way home from Zumba, I came to my exit and saw that sign again. Yet today it was different. Today my heart was happy. Today I knew that those words were true…..more true than they had been an hour ago or even 24 hours or 6 years ago.
I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I turned onto that exit leading me home. Tears welling up for my dear friend L and her wife M and their beautiful son L. He has always been both of theirs and always will be. However because their marriage wasn’t legal, they could run into all sorts of obstacles. Because L didn’t carry their son, she had to legally adopt him. Today though they are and will truly be a family in the eyes of the law. What a beautiful step. I think of the members of their church family who stood with them today at the Capitol grounds. For them, there is and never will be a line between who is and who is out!
I think of my friend J who is going to marry his sweetheart next month in R’s home state. I met J after he graduated seminary and through mutual aquantances of both of ours. I’ve always respected and admired J for being honest with who he is. I mean that in the best possible light. What has saddened me throughout this whole journey is that J has been able to marry many others but has never been able to legally marry himself. There is just something totally not right with that picture. He deserves to marry as much as you and I do. Today J and R can now both get married in their home states.
I think of the many others who now will be able to legally be a family. I don’t know what Jesus will say when we all get to heaven, but what I do know is Jesus always chose love. Jesus was always the one crossing the line onto the other side. Yet I know there are people hurting tonight because of this decision…people who don’t understand. I keep coming back to Jesus’ words to his disciples that night in the upper room…”that they all may be one.” Jesus spoke these words to his disciples that last night in the upper room even though they were far from being one themselves. Today I’m proud to be a Minnesotan but I know that there are those who do not agree with this decision. In the end and despite our disagreements, may peace prevail…
So tonight as we lay our heads down for the night, may we pray for all….for all God’s people…for the people on both sides of the line…may we pray that peace; God’s peace will always prevail!
WOW!!! What can I say? The PCUSA (Presbyterian Church of the USA) now too has voted to openly allow LGTB individuals to be ordained in their church. They are now added to the growing number of mainline Protestant churches who are now allowing for LGBT individuals to be ordained in their churches! The largest—the Methodist church—is still arguing over this issue! My first response to hearing this news was “Praise be to God!” As an ELCA Lutheran, I have seen how the ELCA has struggled tremendously over this issue. However I believe that in the long-run we will be blessed by this decision. I have many friends who left seminary because they felt turned away and not welcomed. I was saddened by that because most of them have wonderful gifts for ministry and churches were missing out because they couldnt call these individuals. As I read the article posted on the NY Times, what I read was many of the feelings that were expressed and felt after the 2009 decision at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. (You can find the article here:The PCUSA Now Has Joined the ELCA and Other Protestant Churches on this Big Decision!)And yes, there are still remnents of that decision; people who still disagree and/or will never agree with what happened. And I understand where these invididuals are coming from. In fact, some of them are people I highly respect and value their opinion. However I can’t help but wonder what God or Jesus would say in the midst of all of this. As a woman called to pick up her basin and towel, I am called to pick up my basin and towel and serve all God’s people; no matter who that person is! For me, that is a essential to my call in this church! I know the PCUSA will go through some of the struggles we have been through over the last two years but in the end, I cant help but think that this will make us stronger. As I watch these events, I can’t help but realize that we are being called more and more every day to be a more expansive and inclusive church! What a gift that will be to us and the world! Praise be to God!