Hey folks, a few quick thoughts this week…
On Saturday, I will leave the fall retreat early and fly to Nairobi, Kenya. A few years ago, in response to the growing crisis within the Anglican Communion, a new fellowship was created of provinces, bishops, and dioceses who hold fast to a common belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is called the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Next week, this body will gather in Nairobi for the second Global Anglican Future Conference. I am privileged to be one of four representatives from the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.
In Nairobi, I expect to meet faithful men and women who are holding to the Gospel in situations of great challenge. Most of the attendees will be from Africa– Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya. There will also be brothers and sisters from Asia, and Latin America. I am hoping to connect with the leaders of the Diocese of Singapore who over see Cambodia, where our missionaries Jesse and Sarah Blaine are working. I am sure I will hear great preaching, inspiring stories or perseverance, and meet people who are courageously walking with Jesus. Thank you for sending me. I look forward to giving an update on our blog while I am gone.
On Sunday I preached about the Gospel hope of being naked and not ashamed. I would like to give a couple reflections on the sermon:
I was trying to do 3 things with the sermon–
- Introduce the consequence of gender as created categories that are good
- Critique the narrative that is given us by the wider culture– a story that is destructive and attractive and working it’s way into every area of our life.
- Talk about the goodness of marriage as a covenant relationship where people can get what they most want– which is not sex or gender exploration– but being known completely by someone else.
I made the mistake of trying to preach 3 sermons on one day. It was long and unwieldy. I feel like I introduced a lot of significant ideas, but I did not have the time to unpack all of them. This is actually always a problem when you talk about gender, sexuality, or marriage. You have to frame the issues and then make sure you talk about all the ways the Gospel speaks to them. It is very difficult to do in 25 minutes. And this one was closer to 35.
I did not try to caveat the goodness of marriage in order to be sensitive to those who are not married and who really want to be. This was a function of time and information overload. But at the end of the message, the strength with which I was talking about the goodness and intentionality of marriage would have made a caveat to singles seem like an insensitive nod. I didn’t want to be trite with those who are experiencing deep longing and pain about being single.
Our best spouse is Jesus. Everything else is proximate. He is my best spouse. He is my perfect help-meet. He is the one who submitted His will for my needs. He is the one who is most perfectly committed to my transformation and wholeness.
There are days when that truth is transformative and there are days when that truth just rings hollow. I know it. And I try my very best to not give trite answers. So for my friends who are married and not experiencing the intimacy they long for. And for my friends who are not married and long for the opportunity to know and be known by another human on earth… I know that these topics can be excruciatingly painful. And I don’t know, I can’t know, the pain of your particular story. But I do know that Jesus is exceedingly committed and exceedingly able to meet your every relational need. Sometimes He does that by providing a human spouse. Sometimes he doesn’t do it through a spouse because your spouse falls short or because you don’t have a spouse. But He is committed to doing it and He will find a way.