Last Friday as I rolled over I saw a flash on my phone with a news alert, SCOTUS had made their ruling on same-sex marriage. A little over a year after a year from when the Presbyterian Church USA opened the door for pastors to perform same-sex marriage services. As many of you know I have been very vocal on this issue, and very much support same-sex unions, having performed them in the past.
Saying that, I do have a lot of respect for those who still stand against the idea of same-sex unions. Not that I agree with the position, but I understand both how hard it is for many to see this become a normal part of society, especially when everything they know and have experienced points in a different direction. I, for one, know how hard it is to accept something that is so radically different than what you have known. This is coupled with a myriad of teachings and commentaries, which pull on the few passages that seem to make homosexuality one of the great sins. This is done even though it is not mentioned much more than a half a dozen times in the Bible and usually is being condemned in the context of worship or adultery, not in the type of relationship that was approved last Friday.
One passage that I heard being raised was a judgment that said that God would rain judgment on the United States like he did on Sodom and Gomorrah. But again this is one of the biggest places where a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the passage really has caused pain, not just for the LGBTQQIAA community but for the greater society, and it shows how the Bible can be twisted away from God’s desire to be in relationship with us and towards selfish motives.
As Ezekiel relates in one of his prophesies: “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49 NRS)” If you were to go back to the book of Genesis and read the passages surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah, you will see a society that is deeply in love with itself and consumed with protecting its ways. To that end they do not show hospitality or care for anyone other than themselves living a selfish and gluttonous life.
Maybe that is the message that we need to hear! As a church, one of our roles is to show the world and our community a different way. We do that through our various ministries of hospitality to our local community groups and, of course, the parade, the 1000 hotdogs, and the tree lighting. All of which cost us something, yet it shows the community we care and are willing to care without regard to what is comfortable for us.
Most importantly, even though we do not always agree or some struggle to understand the various viewpoints, this is why we must strive to welcome all people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersexed, Asexual, and Allies community to the conservatives and evangelicals and everyone in between. This is because God has called us all to be his children and in God’s kingdom no one person is any more righteous than the other.
I hope that all of you can make it to the parade tomorrow to see the diversity in our community and how we are called to care and minister to them.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen