Looking through some posts on facebook last night I noted one from a lady who was responding to the United Reformed Church’s decision to allow gay marriage – she responded that she was now changing churches because of this, she would join the URC because that would allow her to marry (if she wants to in the future).
I had just been reading a post on John 10 and I felt God responding to this in verses 11 to 13.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep
We follow God, not a church. Our relationship is with God and God alone and we need to be careful that through following a church and their particular interpretation of the Bible we are not putting our spiritual lives into the hands of the “hired hand”. It is God alone who will judge, God alone who saves us and God alone who protects us from the enemy.
The preceding verse 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.
Let us be on guard against the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Let us put our trust and our faith solely in God, he is the way to eternal life, not the church.
There is also a message here for chuch leaders. How can you make your chuches a welcoming space for all? In doing so you will be giving people of all walks of life opportunities to meet with God and build their own relationships. Please don’t feel that the only way to make your church accessible to the LGBT community is to offer same sex marriages. Let’s think outside of the box, all are welcome to worship, how can you embrace and welcome newcomers to your congregations?