Daily Devotional: Love Unexpected that is Stronger Than Death

Jonathan-and-David1 Samuel 20:24-42

The story of Jonathan and David, of which this text is a snippet, is one that is very rich with connections and meaning.

First of all, it is a love story.   Scholars debate the exact nature of Jonathan’s relationship with David.   Some view it is a strong friendship. Read in this way the story is a description of the power of non-romantic friendships to have fierce and life-giving love to their participants. Jonathan’s relationship with David gives both of them a sense of strength, support, and hope through dark days. In David’s case it is through the dark days that begin in this passage of David being in exile, wanted as a traitor by the king, on the run for fear of his life. Quite literally Jonathan saves David’s life at risk of his own. He does so by letting David know of his father’s murderous rage and judgment upon David. Yet I think it is more than giving hidden insight into David’s dangers. I think it is knowing Jonathan’s friendship remains steady and unchanged in tumultuous situation.   Knowing another cares for you, loves you, come what may not for what you can do for them but simply for who you are is a powerful buoy through life’s storms. David beautifully puts the significance of his relationship with Jonathan in his words at Jonathan’s death in 2 Samuel 1 – “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women.”

Likewise David’s relationship with Jonathan is a buoy for dark times for Jonathan.   The dark days that now lay revealed Lentz, Jonathan and Davidahead for Jonathan are days related to Saul’s mental illness.   This scene shows Saul in a dangerous mood swing lashing out violently to kill his own son, Jonathan. It is hard to imagine the terror and confusion one feels when your parent has a mental health episode and lashes out at you due to their illness as happened to Jonathan unless you have been through it. From my own experience of people in family with mental illness I can only imagine it was an experience in which everything felt topsy turvy – up seemed down, left seemed right – where the bottom of his sense of safety and security seemed to drop out from beneath him. It can feel as if everything is laid bare, with no safe place to turn.   What’s more, the fact Jonathan continues to reign alongside Saul and fight alongside him suggests to me that Jonathan ended up having to pick up the pieces, to look out for Saul and also to keep the kingdom running despite Saul’s sickness. To keep up the household or business of a family member unable to manage it due to mental illness can be a trying experience. I can barely imagine the darkness one feels upon one’s life when it is not just their business or household that is precariously placed due to their illness but the nation itself.

David’s love for Jonathan gave Jonathan a relationship as solid as steel. He knew despite the shaking of the foundations of his life, there was someone whose love for him had not been shaken. He knew something was solid.

david and jonathanTheir fierce love for each other was a warm blanket against the bone-deep winter chill about to be unleashed in their world.

Some see this love as the love of two dear friends, with no hint of romance. They see the physical intimacy – including at points removing clothing, kissing, and vowing using language reminiscent of modern marriage vows used to express their love for each other – as more reflective of how ancient Jewish culture was more open to physical and public expressions of affection between men than our own modern culture. Read in this way, we are reminded of the power of friendship to give us buoy and support in life, and also the value of letting your friends know their value to you.

Yet others point to these factors in the story, including how much more affection and heartfelt feeling between David and Jonathan as signs that this is a story of romance between two men.   After all, David expresses more deep abiding love for Jonathan than any of his many wives.   After all much of the physical affection they share, if written about a man and a woman, could in Hebrew be read as euphemistic for certain acts of sexual intimacy. Could David’s marriages to women have been but marriages of convenience for David and he be a man who truly loved men not women? Or could David have been bisexual or pansexual with this story of same-gender love being like a Romeo & Juliet story of two who truly fall in deep passionate love yet cannot be together due to the reality of politics at the royal court?

Read in this way this story becomes a tragic tale of romance, in which the two lovers never can live together openly as a couple due to the tragic situation they face.

Either way we read this story, we see a beautiful picture of same-gender love.   This love gives these two men the courage and strength to face uncertainty, danger, heartache, fear, loss, and even separation from each other with resiliency.   This story is a reminder of the power of love.

Galatians 5 tells us that the whole of Biblical Law is summed up in the call to love, and it lists love as a primary fruit of the Spirit of God saying that against love there is no law.   Ultimately love is powerful.

My own thought is that the reason that scholars cannot determine if David & Jonathan were close friends or instead lovers is that God wanted that message unclear. By making it unclear God enables us to read the story both ways, since both the love of dear friends and the love of a significant other are gifts of God, in whatever packaging they come.   Song of Solomon 8:6 tells us that love is stronger than death.

This true love which gives of one’s self for another is always a gift of God, however imperfectly expressed, and a strength in life.   I think this story invites us to put away our fear of embracing the love of another, whether they be a friend or potential romantic partner, based on fear it will not work out. It didn’t work out in the case of Jonathan and David. Ultimately they never get their day in the sun together, never can have the sort of restful relationship that we all long for in our friendships or romance. But David in the end says it was worth it, and their love carries them forward.

Our world can teach us love has to come packaged in just the right way – fitting the Hollywood image, or only between a man and a woman – overlooking the many diverse ways love can burst forth in our lives.   Yet to me the story of Jonathan and David embraces the messy, complicated, untidy ways love can burst forth in our lives that are life-giving. It acknowledges that even in such unexpected ways that love can be a gift of God and make our lives, as well as other’s lives, richer.

This picture of a love that warms us through the winters of this world to me is so beautifully pictured by the words of “I’ll Cover You” from the musical “Rent”:

Have you had relationships – whether friendships, romances, or even renewed kinship with family members – that you did not expect to become important yet were life-giving and transforming to you? I’d love to hear your stories on my blog.

Let’s embrace love in all its many forms, choosing to be shaped by love and to help weave more love into this world.

And I ain’t just whistling Dixie,

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

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Daily Devotional: Seeing the Bigger Picture

st stephenActs 6:15-7:6

What strikes me as I read the account of Stephen’s testimony is how Stephen does not simply tell his personal story but places that story within the context of the larger story of what God had been doing for generations with God’s people.

So often we see both the acts of grace people do, like Dr. King’s March on Washington, the recent choice by the people of Mother Emmanuel AME to extend forgiveness to their shooter, the work of groups like the Campaign for Southern Equality for LGBT equality here in the south-land, or the work of  Organizing Against Racism in Greensboro to help work toward reconciliation and healing across the lines of race and class as individual people doing good deeds.

Similarly, when we see acts of violence against people of color by police and by armed gun-men, when we see people thrown in jail for illegal drug use, when people struggle to get by at minimum wage jobs, or people who can’t get appropriate medical care, we can look at this as on the one hand just bad people making bad choices and on the other individual people experiencing tragedy.

Stephen’s example, though, suggests we cannot ignore the context of any of these situations.

A year ago I was blessed to attend a Racial Equity Institute workshop done by Organizing Against Racism North Carolina at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church of Raleigh.   This workshop proved transformative to me, as I did not know the ways in which I would see the organizing against racismprinciples I learned there lived out in as public and widespread a way as I have across our country this year . What the Institute challenged in those meetings was the misconception that racisms is just one’s  personal feelings felt in their heart.   No, the Institute suggest.  Racism is not just choices here or there to discriminate against people of a different race than me, it argued. Instead it’s a whole pattern of life in which we are swept up that exists throughout our culture and is woven into all of our institutions from the start of this country. Without raising our awareness to its effect, it can influence us without us even realizing it.  The fact it colors our mind’s unconsciously with racial bias has been shown to in studies of children’s reactions to pictures of people of varied races. Even before explicit racism can form, children raised in our climate of structural racism and implicit racism in the US already at an early age begin to make racial judgments.   In order to combat racism, we must become aware of the history and context in which racist acts occur, so that we can help combat racism’s effect on our thinking and change the climate of our culture at large.

This same theme is true on other issues.   Ecological problems don’t just happen; they come out of a context of negligence about caring for the earth.   Drug abuse is in part such a problem not just because of the way in which people make bad choices but also because of how our country handles access to medical care, the way it criminalizes addiction instead of providing treatment options, the way in which it treats those in poor communities. Mass incarceration at the rate we face it in this country is no accident but, as The New Jim Crow explains, is a direct result of the policies we have in place.

Likewise, change and transformation for the good don’t just happen but occur in a context.   The expansion of recognition of LGBT people as persons deserving rights has occurred as a result of people coming out, raising their voices, engaging in dialogue, letting the community know their needs.   In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s laws that see_the_big_picture_260protected children from abusive labor practices and the groundwork toward education for all children came about not out of nowhere but out of the blood, sweat, and tears of activists, of outspoken churches & preachers, and the expressing of the costs of not having such laws in print.   Together these changed the conversation. Communities that are now accessible to people with disabilities didn’t just become that way over night. No. Laws were passed and enforced. People spoke with city councils and businesses.   People with disabilities, their families, and friends all raised their voices. And, despite many obstacles, things changed.

Stephen’s example reminds me of my need to continue to not just look at things on a surface level but deeper. It also invites me to consider how I might help raise my own & other’s awareness in order to help be a part of what shapes the context into life-giving and liberating ways. After all, isn’t the call of the people of God to be able to join Jesus in being ones who say the Spirit of the Lord is upon us to proclaim liberty to the captives?

Let it be so!

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

Daily Devotional: Sometimes You Have To Roll Your Sleeves Up and Fight

coffee-prayer-scripturePsalm 144 reminds us that it is the Lord who gives our hands strength to fight as men and women of war.

I don’t think I have to take from this that God is violent, literally a soldier in arms. Rather I think it can remind me there are times we have to stand for what is right, and silence is not called for. There are times we must fight for injustice, even non-violently like Dr. King, Sojourner Truth, Gandhi, and Desmond Tutu fought. They did not raise a gun but they were soldiers for justice.   To sit down and do nothing when other people’s rights are trampled on is to miss the call of God.

I cannot help but think as I write these words of ways here in my own blessed south-land, people are doing just this: trying to write into law rules that discriminate against the GLBT community, trying to discriminate against other faiths, setting up rules making it harder for minorities to vote, stripping programs to support those with disabilities. If we do nothing, we miss the call of this Psalm.   We must stand, in our own way. And that is not easy.

Yet Psalm 144 is also a word of hope. It is the Lord who trains our hands for the battle. Ultimately it is God who goes before us, ready to overturn oppression and bring freedom. We are called not to fight this battle alone but to work together with this God, participating with the One who brings liberty. We can know if we do this, victory is coming whether it takes days or decades.

Let us stand. Let us not give up in this fight for freedom.

Daily Devotional: Learning To Truly See

jesus healing blind

John 9:1-17 shows not just the power of Jesus’ healing but also the power of our prejudices against others for their difference. People had an image of what a man born blind could be or become.   When Jesus transformed this man into something beyond that imagination, those around him ceased to be able to recognize him. Their prejudice blinded them. A man born blind certainly could never be like this…

We do this all the time, don’t we? We say a person born with a disability can never be a preacher, a professional, a parent, … you name it.   We fail to trust what Jesus can do with and in them.

We say a person born poor, or born gay, or born different can never do or be what others can be. We fail to trust that God can do something more or beautiful in them.

love is not blindWe might even turn that prejudice inward and say “A person born like me can never…” Yet learn the message of the man born blind. This difference was not to hold you back, but so God’ s glory can be made known in your difference!   Trust God as able to work something wonderful in yourself.

Let us learn to lay aside our prejudices – both against others, and our internalized prejudices which we aim at ourselves and people like us.   Let us know our God is able, and through that God you and I can do immeasurably more than we would think to ask for or imagine.

A poem for Holy Thursday — ongoing incarnation

Today is a holy moment.  It is tonight in the Christian year that we mark Jesus’ last supper, when he broke bread and offered a cup, introducing the central celebration of the Christian life — the Lord’s Supper – and also when he was betrayed by one of his own, to begin the journey to the cross and through the cross to resurrection.

As a way of marking this time, I would like to share a poem based on the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  May it help you sense your part in the journey of Easter.

And I’m not just whistling Dixie,

Your Progressive Redneck Preacher,

Micah

Image

Ongoing Incarnation

breakbreadI lift it up, firm yet pliant, aromatically doughy

hear the rip of it tearing in my hands

and think of the calloused skin

of men toiling under the hot sun

often with little pay

in constant threat,

ever asking themselves:

Will I be sent back as illegal

unwanted

rejected?

despite their long labors

and searching for hope

toiling to plant and harvest the grain that bore this loaf?

As I open my mouth, ready to whisper ancient words

I cannot but think of the body I watched

laying still and quiet

a tangle of cords its shroud

entombed amidst white hospital walls

just as sure as that fated Galilean lay

in rocky borrowed grave

the only sounds surrounding it are

the constant beep of machines

we call life support

which instead of bringing life

simply delay the inevitable

freeing of that one woman’s soul

from a body

transformed from a house of joy

to a stifling prison of pain,

a sound that mingles with

machine-borne labored breaths

which together resound in that room

like water dripping

on stalagmites

deep below Linville caverns.

“This is my body,” my lips whisper

and I cannot but have my mind transported

to the hills and seas of Uganda

where Idi Amin left bodies

Child Abuse Statisticspiled in the sun

of little girls

just like that African princess

who is like a daughter to me

whom he thought defective,

and the smoke clouds of Aushwitz,

which rose engulfing all those

whom madmen called unworthy

while good people watched unmoved.

“Broken” I whisperabuse 1

and think of the man

whose life remains shattered

by one he trusted as a boy

who left scars no one , nor time itself, can heal.

“Broken” echoes

as I remember little girls and mothers

hiding for their life

from the ones that left them bruised.

communionI take the cup, I raise the glass,

and realize

in each of them the Sacred Light burns bright

just as surely as it shined in Mary’s baby boy

and in me.

This is my cup, I hear him whisper as I say his words

poured out in you and many.

As I hear Him, I rememberhomeless in jesus arms

how often we fail to see.

We say “keep those dirty souls out of our parks”

not letting love win for the likes of them.

We say “send them back”,

forgetting that it is in their eyes,

eyes of the stranger

the broken

and the poor,

that the Savior’s eyes shine back upon us.

We say “they are too far away”

while so many baby girls

fall under tyrant’s tank

and terrorist’s bomb

their fathers likewise

helpless to save them.

And I fall to my knees

broken

remembering

all those I turned away

not seeing

calling crazy, faggot,

wetback, and gimp

heart broken wide,

face wet with tears.

And somehow, somewhere,

in the music of the moment

I hear a whispered reminder

This, broken, is my body.

gods handsThis one poured out bears my life.

Be my body, broken with the broken,

be my life, poured out to the empty.

Let us lay a table together

in the valley of death

so your cup overflows

with drank of healing

for all my who lie broken

trembling in fear.

A Week in the Word: 6 Reasons Stone-Throwing Christians May Need To Retire “Go And Sin No More”

For this week’s “A Week in the Word”, I want to share a wonderful commentary on John 8:1-11, debunking some of the way well-meaning Christians often misunderstand and mis-use Jesus’ words calling for us to “go and sin no more”.

I found this message thought-provoking and inspiring.  And with the way in which Scripture is still being brought into debate about issues like GLBT right here in the south-land, I find this highly appropriate for Progressive Redneck Preacher.

You can see this message at the link below:

6 Reasons Stone-Throwing Christians May Need To Retire “Go And Sin No More”.

I hope this commentary blesses you, as it blessed me.

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

Week in the Word: When God Brings the Keg

I’ve been taking a break from sharing my regular series of reflections on my daily Scripture reading and sharing a series on the life of Jesus here.  This is from a sermon I gave at Diversity in Faith, Fayetteville, NC.  I hope it opens you up to the beauty and wonder of the life God has invited you to share in.

And I ain’t just whistling Dixie!

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

Your progressive redneck preacher at the wedding party he had when he married  his California girl, 11 years ago.

Your progressive redneck preacher at the wedding party he had when he married his California girl, 11 years ago.

Our Gospel reading comes from John 2

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, wedding at cana 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

I want to begin by sharing a short video:

I can relate to this video because of my experience in college. I was a pretty strict religious guy in college… I did the whole “True Love Waits” thing, and stuck to it. And in part because of trying to stick the straight-laced faith I grew up with, and in part because of having a family member who was not just an alcoholic but at times an angry drunk when he drank, I would not really touch the stuff.

So I was that guy in the video, standing around puzzled while others partied.

Because of this, like a lot of religious folks, I found this whole story about Jesus a little embarrassing. Like many I had grown up with this picture of faith as a life of discipline, constantly working hard to do the right thing. Which usually meant sacrificing pleasure, choosing the narrow road few went by, however painful. Sacrifice. After all, didn’t Jesus call me to take up the cross.

serious kegBut here we see Jesus’ first miracle, which you would think would be the one to sort of picture what his ministry and his work was all about. And what does Jesus do? Jesus goes to a party. And, as important as I still think a designated driver is, Jesus does not seem to go as one. This is why later in the Gospels when Jesus is criticized, it is for drinking and partying too hardy … unlike his cousin John the baptizer who never touched the stuff & his criticized for being too rigid. No, Jesus was known to have a drink. Here Jesus went one better: Jesus not only had a drink at the party, brought the keg. Jesus’ first miracle is bringing the keg of wine to the party. Not only is it bringing a keg, but turning the barrels of holy water, which are about the size of a beer keg, into strong wine, the kind you bring out at the beginning of the party when folks are still sober or on a light buzz, not the cheap stuff you bring out later.

In fact Jesus doesn’t bring one keg … he brings six. Six kegs of strong wine to a group of people who’ve already drunk enough.

What can we make of this? What does it teach us about our lives and our calling?

The first thing this shows me is that Jesus did not come to call us to sacrifice.

In fact Jesus tells us this in the Gospels.

Later in John, Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) and in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus repeatedly says things like “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” (Matthew 12:7).

I don’t know about you, but for years the opposite message is what I heard: that if you want to follow God, it means choosing suffering, choosing sacrifice. It means giving up the celebration, giving up the joy, giving up the career you love, the life your family wants. I’ve seen people sacrifice caring for themselves, for their families, in the name of this sacrifice, all because they believe that is what God asks of them.

And I don’t know about you, but I have seen the innocent condemned based on this belief that Christian life is all about sacrifice.

I remember having a man, heart-stricken, come to me as I served in a church in Los Angeles, saying “Here’s the thing, I love God, I love this church, but I also know I’m gay”. The message he had been given was that in order to please God, he had to sacrifice who he was, sacrifice his sexual orientation, be something he is not, and live without love and alone. That Jesus, not the thief, was the one who had come into life to steal, kill, and destroy who he was.

I remember seeing a young lady told she had no faith and that is why she was not healed – that her disability was a sign she was not a believer. That preacher and that church lived out sacrifice, not mercy. They taught Jesus came to steal, kill, and destroy who she was.

I am heart-broken to recall a young person struggling, feeling like a woman trapped in a man’s body, having a church respond that “we don’t want someone like that here”, because they saw sacrifice, not mercy ruling the day.

I think that Jesus’ miracle shows us that God’s focus is not sacrifice. God’s call is not for us to deny who we are in order to serve God. Instead as it says in Ephesians 2, verse 10, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do “

 

Turn to someone and say “You aren’t junk; no, you are God’s handiwork”

Turn to someone else and say “God doesn’t call you to deny who you are, because you were created in Christ Jesus”.

In Jesus’ first miracle, Jesus blesses the very things in our lives so often we are told to sacrifice in the name of religion.wedding at cana Jesus blesses celebration, pictured by the wine and the party. Jesus shows us being filled with God’s presence ought to cause you to enjoy life, to celebrate – drawing you closer to others, helping you see the joy in each moment. For some people, this might not mean lifting wine, because for them that bottle might very well be the very thing that causes them to become so broken they cannot be present in the moment, truly enjoying others, truly embracing life. I know that family member whose drinking made me decide to turn away from the bottle at one point in my life later decided that, for himself, he had to give up the bottle not to sacrifice a good, full life but in order to find it. Now after working through some of my experiences stemming from that relative’s drinking and from my own experience of legalistic religion I can have a drink from time to time in celebration. What is important is not the bottle, but the fact that Jesus is showing us that being able to drink deep of the joy and blessings in life, and doing so with others, is part and parcel of the life he brings. Our faith ought to awaken us to the depths of joy in our life. This is a part of what we have been talking about by saying that God becoming flesh and blood in Jesus not only is a promise of salvation, but a picture of what it makes possible: that in your life, however unique or seemingly ordinary, God is already breaking forth every day in big and little ways if you have eyes to see. So in you, in your every day life, God can also become flesh and blood so that through you others can find more fully the healing, the hope, and most of the joy and celebration in their own lives every day.

Also, though we often fail to notice it in this passage, Jesus is celebrating sex through this miracle. After all, what follows the wedding party but the wedding night? For many of us, we have learned from the church the opposite message – to be ashamed of our sexuality. How many gay, bisexual, or transgendered folks have heard from the church over the years that their sexuality is a curse, their love an abomination, and their relationship a pathway to hell? Even many straight couples I’ve worked withas a pastor over the years have told me stories about how mixed messages in the church calling for them to sacrifice led them to feel ashamed of their sexuality, to struggle to really celebrate intimacy with their spouse.

But in celebrating this miracle at a wedding, Jesus is blessing sex as a beautiful gift. Jesus is showing sexuality to be a beautiful gift with the power to draw people together in ways that are healing and life-giving. I thank God that this miracle is here, because we know so little about Jesus’ own sexuality.

Turn to someone and say, Who you love is a gift. Love can never be an abomination.

In her book Christ the Lord: the Road to Cana, Ann Rice imagines this scene as being the marriage of a young lady that Jesus had been smitten with to someone else, and coming after Jesus, having confronted his own sexuality, chooses to forsake marriage for a life of singleness, because he knows that, headed to the cross, he cannot be there for a wife or children. This is the traditional understanding of how Jesus expresses his sexuality: by choosing a life of singleness. Yet some scholars point toward some writings in the early church that suggest Jesus might have had a wife, as other rabbis did, to suggest Jesus was married. Still others point to the text at the end of John where Jesus entrusts his mother into the hands of the beloved disciple, traditionally the apostle John, as a sign that Jesus was bisexual or gay and had a loving partnership with another man.

The Bible is not very clear on whether Jesus was single, was straight and married, or gay or bisexual and in a committed same-sex relationship. I think the reason why is that any of these paths can be paths of holiness, where we allow God to become flesh and blood in our lives. By not telling us clearly which path Jesus is on the Bible makes room for us to imagine each of these paths as paths in which God can be made flesh in our world. Being single can be a way we experience our sexuality, and do so in a way that is healing and life-giving if we are ones called, whether for a time or for life, to singleness. Straight couples can and do reflect the life and love of Christ when they let Christ-like love rule their relationships. And I have seen so, so many same-gender couples whose sexuality is turned into a portrait of the love of Christ in how they allow their sexuality to help them find true, deep meaningful love through which they build a life together that reflects the life of Christ.

love is loveThis means that following Christ does not mean denying who you are in terms of your sexuality. Instead it means accepting it, whatever it is, and asking not how can I get rid of this but instead how can I be true to this in a way that reflects the love of Christ? There are a few people who, like Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, will determine the best way for them to be true to who they are in Christ is to be single, whether for the moment or long-term. Most others will find Christ showing them how their sexuality can be a gift which binds them together with others, in relationships whether same-gender or opposite-gender, that call out the best of who they are and help them learn how to love another selflessly as Christ loves us and gave his life for us.

Turn to someone and say Love can never be an abomination, because the Bible says against love there is no law.

 

In closing, I want to ask you to listen to the words of a Bon Jovi song, which illustrate the central truth of this passage to us.