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Sex, Sexuality and Scripture words from Pastor Sherry

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.  Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.  Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.  If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.”  (Song of Solomon 8:6 – 7)

There is nothing more powerful, nor more valuable, than love.  Maybe this is why love is so controversial.  Maybe it is the known power and value of love that makes us want to control it, legislate it, limit it.  Prior to 1968 there were states in our nation where it was illegal for a black person and a white person to be married to one another.  Many of us grew up with unwritten rules regarding dating (not to mention anything of marrying!) a person of a different faith.  And, the Church, our faith, the Scriptures were touted as giving a basis for such limits on love. 

Today we often hear the Scriptures touted as a basis for “one man, one woman”, for the immorality of a homosexual lifestyle, for no sex before marriage.  On the other hand, adultery seems almost commonplace, with a quick to forgive and forget attitude within the Church.   However, there is not one description in the scriptures of a married man and woman (one man, one woman) with a couple of children living “happily ever after”.  There is no scripture specifically denouncing sex before marriage.  The couple of scriptures denouncing homosexual acts do so in the context of multiple “shameful acts”  thus begging the question of whether or not the “shamefulness” is related in any way to the homosexuality.  Surely, there are shameful, detestable, deplorable acts of sex.  I do not mean to imply otherwise.  They are recorded in the Scriptures and in our daily news sources.  These include abuses of power like teachers with students, priests with children, doctors with patients.  These include forced intimacy as in sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape.  These include intimacy in multiple relationships at one time without knowledge or consent from the multiple partners.  Jesus says almost nothing about sex and sexuality.  What Jesus does say speaks to this notion of “multiple partners”.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus condemns, not only adultery but any form of lust, more generally. 

There are many misconceptions regarding what the Bible does and does not say regarding sex and sexuality.  The Bible absolutely upholds the power and the value of love, including intimate love.  The Bible puts far fewer limits on intimate love than the Church sometimes touts.  The Bible most certainly limits acts of sex that have no relationship to love.  Our Grace summer worship series will take a critical, and I hope insightful and inspiring, look at “Sex, Sexuality and Scripture”.  This is an excellent opportunity to invite friends, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances to Grace worship as we explore the true beauty, power and value of love – the greatest of all gifts we are given. 

Grace and peace,

Pastor Sherry

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