This past Sunday's sermon, As Christ Welcomed You, was a great reminder of what Jesus Christ has already done for me. Not "what would Jesus do" but what he has already done. Pastor Rob gave us six examples from scripture as to how we can follow and model Christ. One was taken from Romans 15:5-7; do I welcome others as Christ has welcomed me into his eternal kingdom with all my failings, struggles and foibles? Before I exclude someone from my fellowship would I want Jesus to exclude me from his?
As I listened to this message I was reminded of the book I read last week,
Washed and Waiting, Reflections on Christian Faitfulness and Homosexuality, by Wesley Hill.
While I did not agree with his terminology, this was a heart-wrenching and eye-opening book about a young man struggling with same sex attraction as a committed follower and lover of Jesus Christ.
"Hill gives us a glimpse at what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God's NO to same-sex relationships."
He raises many questions and bares his heart as to what it means to be a celibate christian with same sex attractions. An afterword written by Kathyrn Greene-Mccreight addresses the issues facing the church today and how we are to suffer when one member is suffering.(1 Corinthians 12:26) She says Hill "accepts that homosexual sex is not part of God's original creative intention for humanity...but poses the question to christian churches...how do we respond to those who struggle with homosexual desires?"
How do we help them with the isolation and lonliness they feel as they sit in our pews? Can we as the body of Christ show the love of Christ and include them in our fellowship? Do those who struggle with same sex attraction feel welcome in our local churches and would they feel safe sharing those struggles?(JG)
I am praying that is true of my church and of me. Over the years, even before we came to pastor, it has been said we are one of the friendliest churches around. We had a newcomer's dinner this past week where it was said again. I am praying that I(we) will continue to wrap our arms around all those (we) meet as they walk through our doors finding the same grace that was extended to me when Christ found me. It is only by grace that I am saved.(Ephesians 2:5)
I highly recommend this short book. It is a fast read... I was able to do it in an evening.