The following is transcribed from a sermon I preached, “Portraits of Hope: Jesus the Healer,” at South Elkhorn Christian Church in Lexington, KY. Sermon audio is available on the church website or you can listen here (section below begins at 10:20). The scripture read was Mark 5:21-43.
Heavy on my heart this morning is something I feel I would be silly not to mention. By now many of you have heard or read about the news of the Supreme Court ruling, which says that banning same-sex marriage is no longer allowed in any of the 50 states. I don’t know if your Facebook, Twitter and social media feed was full of all different kinds of reactions. Mine was.
I am thankful to be a part of church where we invite all people to draw near to Jesus and to have something to eat.
There are few churches in our world, in our country, in our city, in our community which say “All people are welcome.” And that’s a challenging thing because that means all people are welcome, including the people you disagree with. Gay or straight; white or black; small or large; young or old; Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Marxist; all are welcome here.
I believe the job of the church is not to be the crowd pressing around Jesus, keeping people away. I believe the job of the church is to make sacred and safe space for people to draw near enough to touch Jesus, and to have a meal.
I believe this space, when we are gathered here together, is a sanctuary, a safe place. That means this:
If your “biblical view” of marriage is based on the polygamous practices of King David and King Solomon then, as much as I hate to say it, you are safe here, too.
If your “biblical view” of marriage is based on the words of Paul which suggest that marriage is really for the weak and the people who cannot contain their lustfulness then you are welcome here, too.
If your “biblical view” of marriage is based on Jesus’ words in Mark 10 that divorce is not only regrettable but also unacceptable then, as much as I might disagree with you for other biblical reasons, you are safe and welcome here, too.
If your “biblical view” of marriage is that it is a traditional institution between one man and one woman then you are welcome here, too.
And if your “biblical view” of marriage is that it is a sacred bond between two people regardless of race, social status or gender, then it is important that I say you are welcome here, too.
Our denomination and our church is unique because we believe that healing happens when we draw together, in all of our differences, to touch Jesus. And I believe all of us need healing.
All of us carry shame and resentment, malice and prejudice and hurt. And all of us need someone who is not just bringing healing but is healing. And the job of the church is to clear the space where people bold enough to reach out to Jesus can experience that healing. The kind of healing that our country, society, and city sorely needs.
And I think that makes us pretty unique, special. That makes me proud to know that all people are welcome at this table. That all of us are free to believe, not just whatever we want, but to believe something in relationship with others.
I am glad for a church that invites you to own your faith for yourself… to find hope, to find healing, to find a safe place to worship… and to have a meal.