MESSY GRACE IS IN OUR FUTURE
Someone asked me, “What outcomes are you hoping for from your “Messy Grace” sermons? (That was the title of my two recent sermons about the church and those who identify as LGBTQ+.) I was glad for the question because I am hoping and praying for several very specific outcomes. Allow me to share these with you:
That our church community will move forward with truth and love in our relationships with LGBTQ+ members and guests (cf. Ephesians 4:15). It won’t always be easy to express these things with the seamless harmony that Jesus did, but I hope we will each make that our goal. I called my last two sermons “Messy Grace,” for a reason. We will have to be generous-spirited toward one another and toward ourselves as we figure out what this will look like.
That LGBTQ+ individuals will experience love and welcome at Bethel. I think the silence on this issue was creating insecurity and inaction that was hindering our ability to express genuine love and welcome. Now that the silence has been broken, my hope is that we can get on with loving, supporting, and reaching out to those who identify as LGBTQ+.
That we can talk openly with one another about this issue. Already I have seen evidence that this is happening. In the past weeks I have had more conversations about this issue at Bethel than I have ever had before—both with those who agree with me and those who don’t. I praise God for this. It is not healthy for a church to tiptoe around the elephant in the room. Doing so will lead to hurt and misunderstanding rather than loving and respectful conversations.
That we will all look to God for guidance. I hope we are all realizing that the journey ahead is bigger than any of us is able to handle. We will only be able to navigate it as we are all looking to God to find wisdom from his Spirit. As we do so, though we can’t know all that the future holds, we will be able to know that God is holding us.
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