On Monday, May 30th, we will observe Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States for remembering those who’ve died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Many churches will also commemorate Memorial Day this Sunday in their worship services.
As a patriotic American who served in the Air Force during the turbulent times of the Vietnam War, I appreciate the honoring of those patriotic Americans who gave their lives in defense of liberty. However, as a Pastor to a congregation that is largely LGBTQ, I’ve also come to know the danger of mixing faith with politics and the military. I’ve witnessed how some in the Christian church have thought they were chosen and special by God because of their faith and then watch as they see our community as enemies of the Christian faith. That notion has launched a war of hateful, bigoted laws and acts toward our community that destroys the confidence and lives of folks “Christians” see as not chosen by God like them.
Whether in the arena of faith, politics or military; the danger of thinking that God is only on our side, too often causes people to see those not like us as “them” and thus the enemy. Such a view is NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The Gospel of Jesus Christ that we have received is one of inclusion, not exclusion! The gospel of exclusion is “another gospel.” Galatians 1:9 says, “… If anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!”
The gospel that we have received is that all human beings are chosen by God and are special in God’s sight. Neither a person’s religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation nor anything else like that makes one special and chosen by God. We are special and chosen by God simply because all of humanity is made in God’s image.
I think it’s great that we in America take the time to honor those who have died serving our country. However, as Christians, even on a Sunday before a U. S. holiday honoring those patriotic Americans, we must also acknowledge the gospel truth that all people are chosen and special in God’s sight.
We will be doing that at Covenant this Sunday. So join us this Memorial Day Weekend Sunday, as we kick off the unofficial beginning of summer with “Hawaiian Shirt Day” and a cookout following worship. If you have a Hawaiian Shirt, wear it as a sign of just being yourself. I will be using Luke 7:1-10 to preach about the Gospel of Inclusion in a sermon called “God Chose You to Be You! So Be Yourself!”