"Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit." -Pope Francis I

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Teach Us How- A response to #Lovewins

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. Before I get started on this post, I want to clarify on a few things. As this is an emotionally charged subject, I invite all who read the remainder of this post to have an open mind and an open heart. We live in a culture today where Christians and those opposed to same-sex unions are called bigots and haters for holding an opinion different than that of the Supreme Court ruling. Members on BOTH sides of the debate have said ugly things to one another, and have failed to discuss the subject with love and compassion. It is important for us to have meaningful conversations about touchy subjects such as same-sex unions, without attacking the dignity of the human person. So I ask that all who read this keep in mind that I am not a hateful person. I am simply expressing my opinion on the matter. I am not condemning anyone. I am writing this post with these words in mind- "Maybe I don't agree with you, but I will still be compassionate and kind. And most importantly, I will still love you deeply." 
 I ask all who read this, please refrain from commenting hurtful or inappropriate things. If anyone would like to have a meaningful discussion over the matter, please contact me separately and I'd be glad to do so. 

A few weeks ago I was at church camp in Gainesville, Texas. I was blessed with the opportunity to coordinate the youth leadership team, work at an assisted living center, and help youth of the Fort Worth diocese encounter God through service. When I heard about the court decision, my heart dropped. Although the decision doesn't change the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and the union of a man and woman, in the words of Bishop Olsen, the decision does "deeply wound the fabric of human society by permitting in law the radical redefinition of marriage." Over the past couple weeks, I've pondered the ruling and watched many of my friends and family members raise their rainbow flags, and turn their back on the teachings of the Catholic Church. This perpetual distortion of love by society seems like a mountain that is impossible to climb. Our side lost, so where do we go from here? What do we do now? These are just a few of the questions I've been asking myself.

During prayer, I've asked God to teach me how to love and serve Him better. As I've meditated upon my week at church camp and searched for a solution, I was reminded of Thursday afternoon of camp. At camp, campers perform various service activities such as visiting a Boys and Girls Club, spending time with residents at a nursing home, working at a homeless shelter, building baby cribs out of wood for underprivileged expecting mothers, and giving back to the parish that houses the campers for the week. The campers are divided into small groups and each day, they visit a new site, and serve through one of the activities I just mentioned.

This year the parish we stayed at needed the mulch to be replaced around their school's playground. However, the delivery order on the mulch was delayed and we didn't receive the mulch until late in the week. I was overseeing service at the nursing home and wasn't there to actually witness this firsthand, so when I first heard about this project I thought it was no big deal. I wasn't aware that two semi trucks full of mulch were dumped outside the playground. The campers and adult helpers would have to move all that mulch into the large playground area. Now keep in mind camp ends on Friday, it was Thursday, the campers were working with a limited number of materials, and there were only 4.5-5 hours of work time available. The adult volunteer in charge of the project, Ms. Kim, talked about the whole event later on at our adult meeting. She told us that upon seeing the HUGE mound of mulch and realizing the lack of equipment, time, and help, she was a little intimidated by the amount of work that had to be done. However, she did not doubt. She simply thought: "Okay God, lets see how You're going to get this done." Despite the doubt displayed by the campers, Ms. Kim was confident in God and told them that the mound of mulch would be conquered. Sure enough, God provided. With the help of some of the workers who delivered the mulch, campers who came back early from other sites, and adults, the mound of mulch was conquered. The seemingly impossible task was completed.

So what's the point of this story and how does it relate to the Court decision? Well, as I said earlier, the amount of moral decay in our culture today seems to be a mountain that is impossible to conquer. It seems like there is no hope for Christians. As I've asked God where to go from here He's made a few things really clear to me. 
1. Just like Ms. Kim, we must not doubt the God of the universe. He's proven to us time and time again throughout history, that He is not going anywhere, He has a plan, He is watching over us, and He will do whatever it takes to protect us. I think way too often we look at a situation without eyes of faith, and allow the devil to put fear on our heart. Instead we need to remember verses such as John 16:33 
"In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Jesus conquered the cross. Sin does not scare Him. He and the Father have a perfect plan for the salvation of souls. Worrying about that plan does us no good.  Be confident in the fact that you have a God who loves you unconditionally, and will never let you walk through life alone. He is our loving provider, who will be there no matter what.

2. We as Christians need to be unified in the truth and love of Jesus, and work together to evangelize the world. On our own we can only do so much, but together as one body of Christ, united in prayer and love for God, we are strong and can accomplish so much with God's grace. In a time where Christians are constantly under attack, as a body of Christ we have to stick together and support one another through hard times. We must be accountable for one another, and help our friends in their pursuit for love, truth, and Jesus. Just like Ms. Kim, the campers, adults, and mulch truck workers, we must all work as a unit in our quest to make disciples of all nations. 

3. Our world is in desperate need for LOVE. Now our culture and our court system tells us that love is based on feelings and romance. However, the love that God made us for is sacrificial. It is laying one's life down for the well being of the other. Just like the crucified Christ, who laid His life down for His bride the Church, we must lay our lives down for one another. We were all made for this authentic love Christ calls us too, and  without it we will never find  true and lasting joy, fulfillment, or satisfaction. Christ doesn't call one sinner to partake in the authentic love they were made for more than another. Christ calls homosexuals and heterosexuals to love Him more than their sexual desires. Christ calls homosexuals and heterosexuals to live a chaste life. Christ calls homosexuals and heterosexuals to greatness. For Christ does not look at homosexuals and say "Oh you're especially bad." Christ cherishes all of God's creations. For He came "that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10)."
As disciples of Christ we must follow our Lord's example, and see others not as the sum of their sins, but as the sum of the Father's love for them.* Our world is thirsting for love. It's our mission to share the love that Christ has shown each of us with others. It is our mission to inspire others to live a fuller and deeper life with their Savior. 

4. We need to have a greater understanding of why marriage should be defined as the union of man and woman, and be able to articulate that well and with love to others. Often times I find that Christians and those opposed to same-sex unions, don't explain why the union of man and wife is distinct and irreplaceable. I think we've gotten into a bad habit of just telling people "No" or "because the bible says so." Which leaves questions unanswered and hurt feelings. But the fact of the matter is, the love encompassed within the marriage of a man and woman is unique. It is unlike any other friendship, or relationship, because the marital act that unites the couple in love also transforms the man and woman into mother and father. No other union can do this except that of a man and woman. This reality, that has been distorted by society, is worth discussing. As Christians it is our duty to be able to explain this reality to others or point others to sources that can inform others of this reality. We can't just throw verses out of context at others and expect them to understand. We can't just say no. We must be able to engage in healthy dialogue with others. 
Below I'll post some sources that talk about this reality in greater detail. I'd love to talk about this further.... But there is only so much you can discuss in one post😐

In a time where the culture says "give up, you've lost!" As Christians we are defiant in the name of Christ Jesus. We remember that love already won when Christ died on the cross. We refuse to settle for unauthentic love, and choose to strive for God's perfect, everlasting, never-ending love. We continue to love all creations of God, even those who don't hold the same opinions we do, and treat every person we encounter with dignity and respect. As I go forth, I ask that God may teach me how to love better, smile bigger, and see every person I encounter as Jesus in disguise.
 How will you respond to the Court decision? Will you choose to live in Christ's Resurrection? Will you unite with your brothers and sisters in prayer and fellowship? Or will you settle with the Court's decision? I pray for all Christians as they strive to live a life according to the will of God. I also pray for all those who don't know the love and grace of God, that they might find peace and rest in the Sacred heart of Jesus.

In His Love, 






No comments:

Post a Comment