Luke 5: 36-39
Torn between two churches. On the one hand there was the church that had been home for over ten years. He knew the people there, and they knew him. OK, so some of them looked down their nose at him, some avoided him completely, but he still had friends there and he liked the pastor. He’d been to the pastor’s house for dinner.
But then there was the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) down town, that proudly waved a rainbow flag. At the very first service he attended he’d felt at home there. But there were things that made him uncomfortable too.
He loved the hymns and songs in his own church. He quite often found himself singing praises that really touched his heart. He knew the words. Whereas, at the MCC some of the words were different. Instead of ‘Jesus’ blood’ they sang of ‘Jesus’ love’. Instead of ‘Father God’ they sang of ‘Parent’, or ‘Creator’, or sometimes even ‘Mother’. Mother God! He just didn’t get that. Men were men because Adam was created in God’s image. Eve was made later from Adam. If God was also Mother then men and women would have to be equal before God. That wasn’t right, was it?
Why couldn’t his own church simply accept him for who he was. Not as a ‘sinner’ in need of redemption for being Gay. Yes, he was a sinner, who wasn’t?, but why for simply being Gay? Why couldn’t they see the calling that God had placed on his life? To be barred from ministry for being gay, it was like being barred for being black or in a wheelchair. He didn’t understand why God would allow it.
But then the MCC was different. He was welcomed as a gay man, invited to be a part of worship as a gay man, could even think about leading a ministry as an out and proud gay man.
If only the MCC beliefs were the same as his old church. It wasn’t that some things were different, it was that everything was a bit different. Scratch the surface and their Jesus was different.
Their Jesus wasn’t going to end the world with fire, he was changing it with love. Their Jesus accepted everybody, not just LGBT people but Muslims, Hindu’s, Buddhists, and everyone else. Their Jesus didn’t ride a white charger with a sword in his hand, he was the love and divine spark that lived in each and every heart.
That was just the start. MCC also had women ministers like the Anglicans. And the biggest shock was that the things that were whispered in gossip at his own church were preached from the pulpit at the MCC. They believed that expressing love with sex, even outside marriage, was a good and holy thing – and talked about it in sermons! How could that be right?
But then on his second visit to MCC he’d met Jesus at communion. Christ had been there, reaching out through the bread, the cup, the blessing, the eyes of the server. He’d gone back to his seat and wept like a child. And he’d felt the Holy Spirit moving in that space. Jesus was there, just as he was at his old church. How could that be? How could they both be right? How could they both have the truth? What do I do? I want to be in a church that accepts me for who I am, but I love the faith I have. This really is tearing me apart.
He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’” Luke 5: 36-39
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