Hespeler, 22 November, 2015 © Scott McAndless
2 Timothy 3:10-17, Romans 1:26-32, Psalm 19:7-14
oday we come to the end of what I think is the longest series of sermons that I have ever preached. Since the beginning of September we have been looking at what I call the Script Out passages of the Bible – passages that we love to hate and often wish weren’t there in the Bible at all. I’m going to confess that I am kind of glad to bring this series to a close on this, the last Sunday in the church year. It can be a little bit difficult to spend all that time focusing on Bible passages that you don’t really like. Next week, the first week in Advent, I am going to be very happy to turn to some more traditional themes of the Christian gospel.
But I hope that you have picked up that, even if it is hard, I do think this kind of work is important. If we are people who believe in the Bible and take this book seriously, we have to be willing to invest the energy to struggle with those parts of the book that may make us feel uncomfortable or that we just plain don’t like. You cannot pick and choose which passages to follow.
But even more important than that, I think that we need a better general understanding of how we can approach this book that we say is so important to us. One of the reasons why I felt I had to tackle the Script Out passages of the Bible was because I was hoping to develop some basic principles that we could use to apply whenever we come across passages that challenge us or give us trouble because this
is just something that is going to keep happening and we may even find that, as times goes by, there will be more passages that we stumble over for various reasons.
A perfect example is a request that comes to us this year from the highest governing body of our denomination: the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The General Assembly has asked the congregations and sessions of our church to discuss and get back to them on a somewhat thorny social issue of our time. They want us to talk about how we include (or perhaps fail to include) LGBT people in the church. Just to be clear, LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. So it is simply a reference to a group of people who for various reasons, don’t quite fit into what might be called the traditional approach to how to live out sexuality.