I'm guessing that today's Scripture readings were because it's Valentine's Day weekend. Next week is First Churches' Annual Meeting, and one thing they will be voting on is a resulution affirming MSJC decision on same-sex marriage, so today after church they had a panel discussion on the matter, so that was actually my first thought when i saw the Prelude Meditation
Where you go, I will go and where you lodge I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
and the sermon topic (The Covenant of Marriage).
The Scripture readings were:
The first includes the classic rib-woman, bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will beome one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
The second is from Paul's letter to the Galatians and includes the classic "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26-28).
I really liked the idea of that idea that is expressed in Galations, almost negating the dichotomy of Genesis. It says that what's important is that you are in Christ Jesus, that all those are differences cease to be relevant.
And the last one is the story of Naomi, whose husband and two sons die. Her two daughters-in-law are Moabites, and she sends them back to the houses of their mothers and returns to her own land of Judah. Neither wants to leave Naomi, but one finally gives in. The other, Ruth, refuses, however, saying "Don't urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go, I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me" (Ruth 1:16-17, NIV). Peter said it is a rare church wedding he goes to where those words are not involved in some way, either preceding the vows or as part of the vows.
The panel was basically everyone agreeing, which is what i expected, and why First Churches makes me happy. Peter was getting really emotional during his sermon, and by the end his voice didn't sound like he was getting choked up, and lots of pauses is typical to his speaking style, but he asked Denise to do the prayer, so i suspect he was getting rather choked up. I loved that he talked about marrying same-sex couples and baptizing their children and longing for the day when their unions will be recognized by the state as well.
On the panel, Cate and Carol Shaw talked about how so many people see being openly out as a gay or lesbian person and being a Christian as being mutually exclusive, and how they try to counter that, and how it makes them so happy and proud that when talking to their gay and lesbian friends who are struggling with not having a faith community they can tell them, "Here's a church you can try, where they won't just tolerate you, they will celebrate you."
I think it was Andrea Avayzian (sp?) who talked about being an "angry straight woman," that she was at a church (St. John's in Springfield, i think) where the pastor, whom she loves very much so she was particularly heart-broken by this, said that he didn't think gays could be Christians, and how she was just so horrified by that.
One woman talked about how recently she has begun identifying herself as a Christian when writing to legislators, representatives, etc. about issues such as these because surely people on the other side are identifying themselves as such, and she wants to make people aware that not all Christians agree with those people.
Another woman talked about how it hurts her that when she identifies herself as practicing her faith she can see in people's faces that they make certain assumptions about her political beliefs, her social beliefs, and how that hurts.
Writing this i realize it sounds like a group pain therapy session, but blessedly it wasn't. I really liked hearing people, both gay and not, affirming that one can be gay and Christian, that one can be Christian and affirm gay and lesbian people and celebrate their relationships. I certainly believe that, but it is nice to hear it, and from so many people, and to know that so many other people in the community agree.
Carol Shaw pointed out that May 17, 2004, the date that according to the MSJC ruling same-sex couples will be officially allowed to get married in this state, will be the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
, that that was purposeful, that "separate but equal" was not equal then and is not equal now. She talked about Elizabeth Freeman. Elizabeth was a slave in Massachusetts who heard 2 lawyers talking about how the Massachusetts constitution didn't allow slavery and they just needed someone to sue, and she said she would. And after that ruling, people didn't change the constitution to allow slavery, they said "That's right." Bruce said that many people say things like "Well just let the people vote on it," and he said, "I don't want people voting on my civil rights."
(Answer to the Subject line here
People have said really interesting things about dating, differences between partners, etc.
Gillian? I adore you.
There are about 20 btvs_cupid
members who haven't posted their gifts or an apology/explanation for tardiness. Tacky. (Granted, some of them may have e-mailed personally, but mine