What is God up to now? I love the story of Peter’s vision in Joppa, told in Acts 10. It shows how following the principals of Christ, the values of Christ and the Good News of Christ, stretches us beyond the law, beyond the accepted and the assumed, and into new and sometimes seemingly unholy places. “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”
It seems to me, this is the vision God is giving the Church and society these days … don’t call “diseased” what I have called “beautiful.” Don’t call “immoral” what I have deemed “faithful”. Don’t call “an abomination” what I have called “love.” As Christians we have a long history of “killing and eating” things that have been previous thought of as immoral. We have reversed our stance on slavery, dancing, interracial marriage, divorce. We have constantly been a church that is reformed and always being reformed — not as a “giving in” to societal and secular standards — but being challenged by them and called further to define the deepness and broadness of Christ’s love.
Now we come to same sex marriage. Is it God’s intention that the bond of human heart, flesh and soul be reserved only for those of “opposite” or complimentary gender? I don’t think so. Gender-based roles and identities have been expanding for decades. As women work outside the home, as we have the ability to make decisions about child-bearing, as we gain political influence … the masculine and feminine are less defined … and I believe that’s a good thing. It allows us each to find and explore the male and the female within each of us, and grow into the full human compliment God imagines for us.
Marriage norms have changed over the centuries. The age of first marriage is higher now than it ever has been. And sociologists see it as changing from being the beginning of adulthood, to the “crowning” of adulthood. Marriage, in our western culture, is no longer tied to childbirth or to cohabitation or to sexual activity. The norm has shifted … so, what is God up to now?
I have a vision in which God’s intention is based more around the strength of the relationship … the respect, the commitment, the love, the self-sacrifice, the faithfulness … than it is around one’s physical gender. Marriage is a gift … a tool … to help deepen a commitment between two people … to build a foundation of family and community. God has given us a vision … so get up and go to Ceasarea … God is doing a new thing.
I pray for my state, for our country, and mostly for my Church as we discern what God is doing with marriage in our communities. “Let no one separate, what God has joined together.”
The painting above of Peter’s vision was painted by Doug Jacques of Austin, TX. You can read about Doug in his obituary; he died this past spring.