NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2015

I’m constantly amazed at how complicated Christians have made the love story of God for God’s people that we call the Bible. It seems that every little spin-off from the original disciples have taken a stand on this or that and declared with great boldness that “it’s all about faith … and” (whatever their particular point of view on something happens to be. And if you dare to differ with them, they equally with great boldness pronounce that you are going to hell. Really? That’s the positon of someone who worships a God that is love? Sounds like a contradiction to me.

For example, take marriage. Many Christian opponents of marriage equality boldly declare that society has always recognized marriage as only between one woman and one man. They will even point to the Bible as their proof of this. What they conveniently forget is that is a New Testament position. Practically all of the heroes of the faith had multiple wives. Solomon, the only king of Israel to rule for nearly 40 years in peace, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (A concubine was a woman who lived with a man and was sexually his property, but had a lower status than that of a wife).

Furthermore, a New Testament definition of marriage defined as only one man and one woman does not take into consideration historical context in which this was written. Women were still considered property of the man, not equals. And neither Jesus nor any of first century biblical authors speaking of marriage addressed the issue of sexual orientation or same gender love at all. All of the New Testament “clobber” scriptures against same gender sex is written in response to sex acts committed by heterosexual folks in idol worship, not same gender love; and there is a huge difference.

My point of course is that when opponents use the Bible to try and define marriage as only one man and one woman, neither the scriptures themselves, nor does the historical context in which the scriptures were written back up such claims.

This particular claim is just one of many used by Christians to complicate the love story of God for God’s people. Such claims only build walls of separation that keep people divided and are often ignorant of God’s love. This week the scripture lesson from Ephesian 2 is a moment in which “God is still speaking” through the Apostle Paul saying “Tear Down These Walls!” In Ephesian 2:14, Paul writes, “For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” This is Paul trying to un-complicate the love story of God for God’s people.

Join us at Covenant for worship this Sunday morning as I will be trying to further un-complicate God’s love story for God’s people in a sermon called “God Is Still Speaking;    Tear Down These Walls!” based on Ephesians 2:14-22.

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