We all have passages in Scripture that rise to the top for us and become a personal sacred canon within the communal sacred canon of the Bible. Parts of 1 John 3—a chapter in the first of three letters ascribed to the evangelist, John, and directed to Christian communities steeped in the perspective of the Gospel of John—have been in my personal canon since I was a teenager.
This spring, with other former moderators, Rev. Lamar signed a letter calling for unity in the face of the ratification of Amendment 10A. Now in retirement in upstate New York, I sought him out last week and asked him to share with me, specifically, how the church can best do that now. I treasure his wisdom and want to share it with you here.
The whole point of the revised ordination requirements is this: Love. God’s love is not a new thing, of course. When asked what God’s greatest commandment for us was, Jesus replied: Love. Love is Jesus’ Truth about God that He lifted up, emphasized, and established through His words and actions in the world, including His death on the cross.
I love having a good conversation with someone who disagrees with me. Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of these types of conversations – mostly with colleagues in the church who disagree with me about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faithful.
It is now certain that The Confession of Belhar has failed to receive the votes needed to enter our Book of Confessions, the first part of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It will not live among us as an authoritative statement of who we are, what we believe and what we resolve to do as a church.
One of the cornerstones upon which my faith in Christ rests is a maxim of my tradition: “Reformed, Always Must Be Reformed.” I have spoken before on what it means to me. Recently, in a comment on a blog post, the question of this phrase’s meaning was posed and it prompted me to delve deeper into its meaning.
How we see God at work in this may vary but we can pause for a moment on the blessed common ground of acknowledging God at work in the church and the world in this vote. We can join together in keeping our eyes on God’s presence and inspiration and move ahead.
Today, Tuesday, May 10, marks the day now written in the Book of Life when it has become a certainty that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will allow ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faithful Christians as elders, deacons and ministers in the church communities that wish for these candidates to become ordained.
The peace of Christ be always with you and welcome to this inaugural video on TimeToEmbrace.com.
In essence, we have said to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, “Too bad, your Baptism pales in the light of our judgment of you.”