Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Lesbianism in Church
Several weeks ago I preached a sermon titled: Becoming a Messy Church
In this sermon, I pointed out that naturally we're taught and inclined to avoid messes. They are inconvenient and time consuming so it's best to avoid them. Well, in relating that concept of "mess avoidance" in the context of the church, what does that leave us with? Ah yes...a nicely groomed, well kept church that doesn't have the least little sign of messiness! Everyone is like us and there are no messes here. We have everything figured out in our lives and it's nice and orderly, just the way we like it. Pfft! Whatever, right?
Well, I happen to believe that church should be the messiest place on the planet. What do I mean? I mean that we shouldn't avoid people because of the messiness in their lives. We're good at that though, aren't we? We tend to navigate away from messy people. They want something from us. They expect something from us. They're going to contaminate our sterile environment where we offer "holy" worship to God. It's a shame but in many instances a reality. I don't want to Pastor that kind of church. We're a church that is geared toward messes. Our building is clean but our church (people) is messy!
Jesus not only welcomed messes, he invited them! The invitation, "Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." MATTHEW 11:28
Sinners, tax-collectors, prostitutes, beggars, the lame, the possessed, the dying, the hungry and so many more all had 1 thing in common. They had messy lives! Jesus sat with a woman at Jacobs well and helped her work through her mess until she saw God. He waited with a prostitute until all of her condemners were gone and she was able to see God's forgiveness. He took 5 loaves and 2 fish and created a hillside banquet for the hungry. Messy people are worth the involvement.
Well, when I preached this sermon, a couple in my church came to me and said, "We have a neighbor lady. She's a "lesbian" and if you don't mind, I'd like to invite her to church."
What?!? Invite her? You're asking me for permission to invite a messy person to church? By all means ask her to come!! Well, they asked and she did. She came to church the last Sunday of November, was sick the first Sunday of December and was back in church with us this past Sunday! Man, I tell you....I was so excited to see her come into the church this past Sunday! I'm honest, out of all the people that were there this past Sunday, I was most excited about seeing her! She was the special guest. I'm hoping and praying that she'll continue to come back to worship with us and learn the ways of Jesus. I'm not going to call her into my office and say, "If you don't change the way you're living, you can't come here." No way, I'm going to tell her you're welcome here just like anyone else and that we'll love you just like anyone else. I believe in leaving God's work to God. I'll let him deal with the issues of her heart. While he does, we'll just love her!
Pastor of a Messy Church!