Our Bible Study on Thursday night was over the “Bread of Life” passages of John 6. I had never noticed before the parallels with the earlier passage in John about the Woman at the well. These parallels should not be surprising as John, in both Revelation and the Gospel, has a complex and elegant structure. Both texts reference the birthing of Israel through the Old Testament account of the wanderings in the wilderness; the one alludes to the water God provided from the rocks, the other with the manna sent every morning. Both describe Christ as giving eternal life, one through living water flowing from inside and the other through Christ as the true bread.
What is interesting about the parallel is that it gives a new depth to John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” It certainly does refer to faith and that we can not “make a decision” to follow Jesus without the Holy Spirit. But when we put it in conjunction to the response of the Samaritans who heard what the woman testified “May believed” and the response of the Jews to Christ’s declaration of himself as the Bread of life “after this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” there is another message as well. The Samaritans, whom many felt were outside of the grace of God and enemies of God’s people, accepted Christ because God had wanted them and drew them to Christ. Meanwhile, many of Jesus Jewish disciples walk away, at least for a time because they looked to themselves and their works for salvation. These two text can say much about what the Church is and who is a part of it – especially that God often draws those to Himself whom other might reject or find unqualified for Church membership.
In my last post, I mentioned how a celibate gay Christian is a witness to the 2nd and 3rd article of the creed. Here, I think the straight members of a congregation can witness to that third article, the Body of Christ, by the way they treat and minister to LGBT people. Human love, kindness and respect are not the Gospel. But they can be witnesses to the Gospel in that they say “I believe you too are those for whom Christ lived and died and so I treat you as loved children of God and siblings of Christ.”
Ministry to LGBT people may be rather complex. But loving LGBT people need not be. Here, Chris Damien has an amazing post, “I Cant Save the Unhappy.” I am not going to rewrite his post here. But essentially he says “do something.” If you can’t fix the problem then do something kind or loving. In doing that you are saying “I and God love you and find you important.” If the LGBT person can confess the Church by bringing their sexuality into line with God’s law then the congregation can, equally, confess the Church by just doing kind and loving things for LGBT people. We can not be Christ, but by being kind and caring we can point to Christ and His love which is the foundation of our love.