welcoming our gay brothers and sisters

Back in 48 A.D. the church was predominantly Jewish. Soon Samaritans entered and then the Gentile world responded to the Good News. And get this- the church rulers at the time went from 613 laws of Moses to just 4, an interesting 4 at that (see Acts 15). Gentile Christians were asked to abstain from food that had been sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality, the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming the blood of animals.

Why these four? It had something to do with accommodating the consciences of Jewish believers. It was like a negotiation in order that the two groups would be able to fellowship together. Sort of like today the Presbyterians saying they won’t baptize infants while hanging out with the Baptists.

Today those four laws that came from the Council (in Acts 15) are not required for Gentile Christians. In fact most of them are not even understandable to a lot of Christians. Jewish Christians these days do celebrate many of the traditions found in the Old Testament but not as legal requirements.

But what about the question of sexual immorality? What did that even mean? It meant rampant promiscuous sexual activity outside the context of marriage between a man and woman.

Now, a parable of sorts: God is the great Maestro conducting his orchestra in such a way as to accommodate people who have learned to play a different tune And God also accommodates people who play, in some people’s opinion, out of tune. See, the tune we play is not what gives us entrance into the orchestra. It’s our trust of the Maestro to get our music to the place of glory. The Maestro has been making such accommodations since the beginning of time.

This little parable is meant for us today. Jesus gives us two commandments that he says cover the whole law. They sum up everything God wants from us. One is to love God with our whole being and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves, as Paul repeats in one of his letters.

So what about people who are of homosexual orientation and practice? Why are we laying a heavy burden on them which denies them God’s love and their intimate love for one another? I am not speaking of promiscuous sex, which is in reality outside the bounds of real love for all of us. I’m emphasizing friendship love and romantic love that comes from a commitment between two people.

In my humble opinion, we are not to prohibit homosexual Christians from embracing faith or being embraced by the church community. This is a legitimate accommodation the Maestro makes for the Kingdom Orchestra. If any person knows and lives God’s love they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yes, there is a change in the tune since 48 A.D. And God is smiling upon all the new members of his orchestra. God’s ongoing love makes more than an accommodation. He creates something beautiful from all corners of his gorgeous and glorious creation.

CORAM DEO

 

DIVINE MAESTRO

 

Check out this quote by Dallas Willard. Confidence in Jesus as absolute Maestro of the universe is the first indication of regeneration. Is that great or what? And a divine maestro who is a master musician has one goal. He wants to bring about the most wonderful piece of music imaginable. He wants every instrument or voice in tune; every musician performing his or her best. That is the joy of the Master.

In this world Jesus is the Divine Maestro working with his Father to bring about the greatest good, the greatest artwork of creation imaginable. ‘God is good’ declares the Scripture. But, we often look at the world as a jumbled up batch of amateurish performers at their worst and the background of creation is a wreck in the eyes of many. How did the maestro even let some of the players into his orchestra? They seem downright evil.

Thomas Oden, a Methodist theologian, has written of this topic in his book called CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY. He says that we look at the fallen world, this messed up world, with cloudy eyesight at best. This world of all the worlds that might have been created is the best one.

Many of us who take a good look at the entire world throughout history will observe the goodness in this creation, and thus the goodness of God. God does not make anything badly insists the classic Christian writers. The creation has been skewed by our disobedience and still the creator, the Divine Maestro, is at work to take his creation and bring it back to harmony and perfection through his love for this world.

At the beginning everyone knew their notes, their parts and chose, from their own God given freedom, to distort the work, rebel against the maestro and this unfinished world is the result. And so are our unfinished lives.

But to have an accurate assessment of the whole situation you and I must read the score, the whole score. People who bash God and Christian faith have rarely done so.

Just read this account of the Maestro’s character and work from Colossians 1:

15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. (MSG)

Let’s go back to Willard’s quote and see that indeed it is the beginning of faith to realize the goodness of our creator and our savior.

Now there are people like Bill Maher of T.V. fame who make their living denigrating God and Jesus and thus have no clue as to what is going on in this universe. To people like that religion is nonsense and even evil. But I suggest that they get to know the Maestro to understand God and his love for his creation and his desire both for our freedom and hopefully a redeemed responsibility to care as deeply as he does.

According to one of the smartest men who ever lived, St. Paul, this creation does indeed groan but God is working all things towards a good purpose, a good end that some of us see even now amidst the groans. (Romans 8)

The great Maestro of the Universe spent time with his creation, going to each student, one by one, to help him or her learn his or her parts to be able to perform the greatest masterpiece possible. And each student, apprentice will add his or her skill, talent, or new learning to the great work that was designed by the Maestro. Those who don’t want to be in the orchestra will have the choice to walk away. But in this masterpiece even the birds will want to sing, the flowers will bloom, and the trees will shout for joy to their Master.

I detest much that is happening on this earth, and make no mistake, evil abounds. It seems as though the devil secretly steals into the orchestra to create disharmony. But I don’t have the big picture. I see only a few pages at a time and trust that when it all comes together there will be a new heaven and a new earth whose brilliance will be unsurpassed by anything we can imagine. The final score is already written and we are invited to sit under the Maestro and learn the parts that have been assigned to us trusting that the music can be heard even now by those who have ears to hear.