My goodness, it's like the crowd from MadPriest's place wandered in. We have set a record for comments on that last post, friends. I love hearing from you-- all of you-- though, do be loves, and stop SHOUTING. (You know who you are.)
So I've been thinking about the older women in the congregation who have never been married. I have been wondering whether any of them might, in fact, be women who were oriented to love women, but in a day and age where they couldn't find their way to that life experience.
Years ago a minister I know preached a sermon on same-sex love and the church. She brilliantly (to my mind) used Acts 10, the story of Peter's encounter with Cornelius, and the vision Peter had that changed his mind and heart. Go ahead and read it here; I'll wait.
Good. The gist of the story, of course, is that Peter had been convinced that only those who observe the law to the full extent (including the laws around food and circumcision) could be Christians, could be saved. But he has a vision, in which God says, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” Peter realizes that God's vision is bigger than his, and he says, ultimately, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him."
This minister wove this story into a sermon that was powerful and true; afterwards a woman of her congregation, a pillar of the church who was about 75 at the time, came to her. With a trembling voice, she said, "I waited a long time to hear that sermon." And that woman left there, for the first time in her long life as a faithful Christian, hearing that she was not bad or corrupt or polluted by virtue of who her soul longed for. That woman went home healed.
I am here to say that I believe that those who "do what's right" are many, and they have not been accepted. What God has called clean, by the growing sensus fidelium, includes, in our day, committed same-sex partnership. I believe this with all my heart.