I certainly sense the shock and struggle of our membership over the Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in our nation. Those who research the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBT?) population suggest that this is a small portion of our entire population, under 3 %, yet their voice is being heard. Keep in mind there is a lot of momentum behind this including the way God and prayer has been removed from the public square in class rooms and on lawns. Even within the Christian community there has been a liberal agenda going back to the Enlightenment that has sought to take away the authority of the scriptures. (Echoing the Devil… “Did God really say?”) It has actually blessed me to see how this decision on marriage doesn’t make sense to our family of believers. I’m also blessed to see the desire to understand what the Bible says on this. To be sure, the reality of change in our post-Christian culture is accelerating which is a call to seek the Lord and turn to His Word.

Marriage is still a gift from God … as well as sexuality in that union. Some suggest that marriage has always been in a state of transition. Steve Blow in “The Dallas Morning News” is one, even calling on the Scriptures to make his case for him. At Creation and re-affirmed by Jesus in the Gospels, marriage is between a man and woman (Genesis 2:18, 22,34 and Matthew 19:4-6). God doesn’t hesitate to give illustration in the history of scripture showing what happens when this is not heeded, not to condone it, but to instruct. It is important that a believer marries another believer to avoid the heart ache and struggle of being unequally united. There are even occasions when it is better to not marry at all as Paul instructs the Corinthians due to some challenge going on among them. Check out first Corinthians chapter seven and see also how Paul speaks of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.

America is not the Christian church, nor is God a Republican or Democrat; He’s not even an American! Recall what the Bible says. The unconverted human race will rage against God’s ways seeking to be free from them, but blessed will be all who take refuge in Him (Psalm 2, John 15:18-16:4). Also, many will fall away who claim to be believers (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 4:3,4). Even we who are converted to a living hope of the resurrection fall daily into the ways of the Devil, world, and sinful nature where we are rescued over and over by the Holy Spirit Who brings us to our senses and renews us in faith, hope, and love (John 16:5-15, Ephesians 4:25-32, Colossians 3:12-17). While it is tempting to spend time moralizing the unbelieving world with our judgments, we are better to care for each other providing an alternative lifestyle of love, forgiveness, and self-control to those who do not know Jesus  (1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Hebrews 10:19-25).

Our nation is filled with generations of men and women broken and battered by the spiritual abuse and bullying of our world and its rulers. The Devil is in the details as well. We are definitely in uncharted waters as we move forward as God’s family in our culture, but Jesus is in the boat with us caring for us under Word and Sacrament! He also wants us to fish!

There is still a place for us who believe in traditional marriage. We can celebrate and live out our own marriages. We can pray for our fellow believers including those who confess their own personal struggles with their sexuality and this issue. We can encourage our children and grandchildren with conversations about the gift of sexuality in marriage. We can share forgiveness with those who struggle now or bear scars from their past. We can also consider what the dissenters on the bench of the Supreme Court had to say about the decision on same sex marriage. There is also a place for us to be active in shaping the laws of our land in our right to vote and be a part of the civil discourse.

As our culture’s moral compass moves more and more out of sync with the Judeo-Christian tradition we will continue to have the opportunity to bear witness to Jesus’ call to repent, believe, and follow Him. As much as we love our Nation, we are forever a part of God’s Kingdom that has no end.

What would Jesus say to those who celebrate same sex marriage today? I love you, I died for you, I know what it feels like to be misunderstood ... abused ... rejected, I want better for you ...follow me out of your bondage, whatever it is. And, Trust My Word. He says this to us all!

More will follow in the days and months ahead as we talk and consider where we are as God’s people in a nation growing more secular and religiously pluralistic. Please:
   - go online to the LCMS.org website for more information
   - call 888-843-5267 to register for a free webinar on July 14 at 9 a.m. Central Time with Jim Campbell – senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Peace and love in Jesus,
Pastor Stace
John 3:16,17