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.
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.
To be the beacon of Christ’s love that we yearn to be in the PCUSA, we need all parts of the Body. We need all to be engaged on level ground. And we cannot say to each other, “I don’t need you!”
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.
Occasionally, but rarely, have I shared my own stories. However, in this historic moment, I’d like to share a little about my personal journey in the hopes that it will inspire others to share theirs.
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.
There are many conversations still to be had this Eastertide in the presbyteries yet to vote. Two years ago, the majority of 87 was reached a few weeks after Easter. Right now, only God knows what will eventually be written in the Book of Life.
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.”
Christ’s Lenten lesson for us may simply be this: our listening to one another has not, and may never, bring us to agreement on things that are important to us, but it does bring us together to have an honest, heartfelt conversation.