- Open and Affirming
We’re all pretty familiar, I think, with the story of the Prodigal Son. It’s probably one of the most read of Jesus’ parables and one that we can usually find ourselves in at some point in our faith journey. We’re not unlike the prodigal, his brother, or the father. The characters are not unlike our own families sometimes and maybe that is how the text connects us with the LGBT Community, whom we celebrate with in the month of October.
“Will I go to hell for who I love?” The short answer is “No.” But since other Christians often disagree with us and pull out bible verses to prove their point, how do we understand this as a faithful stance for Christians to take? Let’s start with Jesus.
Clearly, according to Christ, we are to love ourselves and our neighbors and our God. Self-acceptance, and acceptance of others, is part and parcel of what it means to be a Christian. According to the Gospels Jesus takes that which is seen as different (upside-down) and makes it (downside-up) no longer different but acceptable in the eyes of God. Those whom society thrusts to the margins have a place of value in the eyes of God.
The call is to affirm everyone, even those we don’t understand. The call is to lift up the trampled and bring them in the church and take care of them like the wounded soldier they are.
Yes, each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made. There is no need to pretend we are someone else. No need to hide who we are from ourselves or from others. Hang in; hang on, because you are not alone. You see, you are a part of this community of faith and together we have so much to celebrate and share. Know that you are created in God’s image and the Holy One is pleased.
We’ll be voting later on this afternoon at our annual meeting on a statement that says we are open to and affirming of people regardless of their sexual orientation. To pass this statement means that gay and lesbian persons are welcome as members, as employees and as leaders in our church. To pass it means that their families are welcome here. It means that we’ll do our best to minister to them and their families just as we do with the rest of our members. It means that we believe that those who love someone of the same gender are no more inherently sinful than anyone else.
We hear it everywhere we turn: The institution of marriage is under attack. From the Oval Office to the halls of Congress, from the public airwaves to pulpits all across the land, we are told that the very foundation of all that is sacred and holy is under attack by sinister forces eager to destroy all that is right about American culture.
Last week we took a not-so-serious look at the institution of marriage. Now, I am a big believer in marriage. I think it is both a foundational institution for human society, and I believe it is a sacred institution, ordained by God. My jesting last week was aimed at those who constantly talk about “biblical” marriage, as if marriage as described in the Bible is the same thing as the institution we so revere and honor today.
This page offers a sample of sermons and sermon starters by preachers in the United Church of Christ. They serve multiple purposes: sermons preached by congregations before an Open and Affirming vote, or on a Sunday celebrating the renewal of an ONA covenant, or during Pride Sunday, Spirit Day or National Coming Out Day. If you’ve a sermon you’d like to share on this page, please write us at email@example.com.