Most of you have heard by now that the United Methodist Church’s Special General Conference has voted to accept the Traditional Plan as a way of moving forward. There are many people in the UMC that truly believe they are following God’s will and that this plan will help us be a better church in line with God’s desire for His creation.
Most of you also know that large numbers of members of the UMC disagree with the authors of the Traditional Plan’s understanding of the scriptures. Through their interpretation they believe that homosexuality is contrary to Christian teaching. I am one of those people who disagree with them.
My “Uncle” George was a dear friend of my parents and his appearance at our home (usually on a Sunday evening) was a great treat for my brothers and me. He was a fun, funny, delightful man who attended all of the big events of my young life. I cherished him.
Uncle George was a perpetual bachelor, and it was clear that he was lonely. I think that was why he would just appear on a Sunday evening, he was looking for the warmth of family.
As a young girl I didn’t understand that George was gay. I imagine in the early 1960’s in northwestern Ohio that George may not have understood he was gay. If he did, he was deep in the closet, and would never come out.
I think of this dear man today and my heart grieves that he was never able to truly live out his identity in an open and loving manner. He never married, he never experienced a loving long-term relationship, and he died alone. Of course, I don’t know all of the details of his life, but it has always been clear that this good, decent man just wanted to be loved.
It is from this background that I have always known that God loves everyone and that to be gay is not a sin, it is simply who you are. It is from this understanding that I have been deeply saddened by the decisions of the United Methodist Church’s Special General Conference, and I grieve for my LGBTQIA brothers and sisters. What a loss to this particular part of the body of Christ.
But, in my sadness, I remember that Jesus Christ is still my Lord and Savior as he is for all people. I remember that the church of Jesus Christ is still in tact and that it will continue until He comes again and we all gather around the communion table, together. I am also reminded that this Sunday we will again worship our God with our whole hearts, even as many of us grieve.
We begin the season of Lent in the month of March and during Lent we are asked to deeply examine our hearts as we draw closer to Holy Week and its ultimate example of love; Jesus’ sacrifice of himself that we might all live together in God’s Kingdom. Let us take this time to open our hearts and our minds to understand the fully encompassing love of Our Lord.
I want to conclude these thoughts with some kind words that I received earlier this week from our friend Aimee Aul. Aimee is the lovely flutist who joins us regularly to share her gift of music. Thank you Aimee!
Dear Pastor Joy & Friends,
Just a note of love and encouragement to CCBTS in this difficult week. What I know of the Methodist Church is from your congregation: a church deeply devoted to the gospel, following Christ’s example, making the kingdom of God visible in worship and in acts of compassion large and small. I am absolutely sure you will continue to serve as the Sanctuary by the Sea for ALL people, as your mission statement says and as your communal life so richly demonstrates. Blessings to all and I’ll see you at Easter!
Hang tight while we prepare your form...