Homepage  > SCOTUS RULING--Pastor Kent's Response

June 27,  2015

Dear People of Zion and others who have interest in our community of faith,

The Apostle Paul once wisely counseled, “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

Today is a day when I am, out of my respect for so many people of good faith, doing both. Here’s part[i] of the reason why…

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling on same-sex marriage in our country. As you may know by now, the justices legalized same-sex marriage by a 5-4 margin.

(Here’s a link to the entire ruling.[ii] The document is long but, at least in my view, both the majority and minority views are quite interesting. You can also read a response from our Bishop of the Northwestern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) here. Also, I’ve been informed that a statement from Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of our ELCA, is expected on Monday. Yesterday she was attending the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, SC.)

Like me, you probably suspected ahead of time that, regardless of which way the ruling landed, some people would find joy in the ruling and others would be in a state of lament.

This diversity of opinion/belief is also found within the church among people of sincere and informed faith.[iii]

Which brings me to the heart of this letter—how might we as the people of Zion best demonstrate our love of God and love of neighbor in such times among such varying opinions and beliefs?

For me, the Apostle Paul’s counsel to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” are both my guide and my heartfelt desire.

I personally know many people of GOOD FAITH (including a good number of pastors) for whom this ruling is like a breath of fresh air and hope in their life. They are beside themselves with JOY after having wondered if they’d ever see the day. Their rainbow flags are held high and incorporated into their new Facebook profile picture. They embrace and high-five their loved ones and cry with tears of thanksgiving to God for what they see as righteous vindication. I am very happy for them. I can see their point.

I also personally know many people of GOOD FAITH (including a good number of pastors) for whom this ruling is like the smell of death for what they had previously held dear. They are beside themselves with SORROW after having hoped that they’d never see such a day. They cringe at the sight of another rainbow flag and might change their own Facebook profile picture to express an opposing view. They gather with their loved ones to lament the ruling of the court and to cry out to God for intervention. I am very sad for them. I can see their point too.

And so I find myself this day in a state of both joy and sorrow. Regardless of my personal opinion, as a fellow child of God I cannot in good faith love people of one view and not the other. In fact, I can’t help but think that it is precisely at the intersection of the two views that the reconciling work of Christ is most surely found. He is the one who will ultimately draw all people to himself.

Given that belief, regardless of what our individual views on this particular SCOTUS ruling or any other important matters might be, allow me to reiterate Christ’s invitation for us all to gather in worship again this weekend, finding our ultimate identity through how God claims us in those baptismal waters and how our crucified and risen Lord continues to nourish us at the table.

Perhaps there we can all both weep and rejoice together.

In Christ,

Pastor Kent

 


[i] Other current events prompting rejoicing and/or weeping include: funerals for the shooting victims, recent terrorist attacks, SCOTUS ruling on healthcare, and various opinions related to what is commonly referred to as the “Confederate” flag, to name a few.

[ii] The ruling is readily available from a number of different news sources. I choose to post the version posted at CNN (as opposed to, for example, the one at FOX) simply because for some reason the CNN version offered some additional navigational tools, such as the ability to skip directly to the majority or minority opinions.

[iii] I’m referring to the opinions of people of faith in regard to same-gender marriage itself, not the related but more secular question (of which people of faith might also have opinions) of whether the SCOTUS had constitutional authority to make such a ruling in the first place or whether it should have more appropriately been left to the states and/or the people to decide.