You matter to God.
Today half-a-million people – the same number as there are residents of Vancouver – will descend upon downtown for a party and spectacle on a size and scale unlike anything else.
The Prime Minister is here. Downtown Roads will be closed for three straight days. Rallies. Parades. World-class firework shows. Joy. Love. Pride.
This weekend marks the celebration of the LGBT2Q+ communities, of progressive sexual acceptance and tolerance, and of the inclusion of people in minority groups due to their sexual or gender orientation. (Please forgive me if this description fails to acknowledge everyone).
Christians, myself among them, are conflicted on how to approach Pride.
On the one hand, we worship God who created the whole world and who loves it so much he gave His Son to redeem and save His Creation. The entire law of the God of the Bible is summarized by Jesus as, “Love the Lord and Love your neighbour”. As Christians, we should fight to protect our neighbours from harm and hate, whoever they may be, and make sure that our city and society is a place where all people are loved and can thrive.
Perhaps problematically, Christians are also people who are under authority. We believe that our desires, our thoughts, and our motives are not the absolute authority that should direct our lives and decisions, but rather we look to God and what He has instructed, to know how to live our lives the way He intended. God created all of us, He loves us, He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, he counts the hairs on our heads. He is like a good, loving parent. And God gives us directions for how we are meant to live to the full in this incredible life He has created for us. He gives us boundaries for blessing, lines over which we should not trespass, like a loving parent who builds a fence to keep their child safe. And if God is your authority, and His Word is your guide, then it is absolutely clear that the only proper setting for expressing our sexuality is in the context of a life-long covenant between one man and one woman in self-giving service and love.
I realize that sounds like nails on a chalkboard in Vancouver in 2019. I realize it sounds intolerant, judgmental, unloving, exclusive and maybe even bigoted.
But it is what the good, loving God says to us in His Word.
Let me be honest: I struggle with this. I struggle to see how the gospel is good news of great joy if you are a gay person. I see how it seems exclusive and restrictive and for many, like a life-sentence of solitary confinement, celibacy and isolation.
So what is the message to our beloved neighbours in the LGBTQ2+ community?
You matter to God.
You matter to us.
You are loved.
God loves you.
We love you.
We are sorry for all the harm Christians have done.
We are sorry for all the harm Christians are doing.
We want to be part of God’s great solution to restore this broken world.
And you are invited to be a part of it.
I cannot march in the parade, in part because I will be working, but also because I cannot stand up to support something the God I serve clearly prohibits.
But I will walk with you in the march of life, live amongst you, love you, as you try to explore who God is, how He made you, what He wants to tell you, and why knowing Him is better than anything the World can offer.
Pastor’s Note: I think this is the most important conversation for Christians today to be having. I think we generally have done a terrible job of loving and relating to our gay neighbours and loved ones. I want to be part of the solution. If I have offended you, please connect with me so we can continue this crucial conversation. If I have confused you, please reach out so I can clarify. If you want to hear more about God and how we know He is good, it would be my privilege to chat. I am available, and I really like good coffee, so please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org