“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 43-45 NLT)
There’s been a lot of controversy lately about who should be served and who should not be served. Much of this has been created by Christians who feel like they should have the right to “refuse service to anyone.” Well, by “anyone” what they really been is LGBTQ people.
The theory goes a little something like this: It says in the Bible that male homosexuality is a sin. (Interesting to note that these verses don’t seem to address lesbianism out right, but that’s for another day.) So anyway, since the Bible says that this is wrong, I should have a freedom, granted by my religious belief, to refuse to serve a gay person who attempts to patronize my business. If I do sell my goods and/or services to them then I am in some way condoning or sanctioning that lifestyle.
I just sighed really deeply as I finished writing that paragraph.
If you’ve read much of my writing, or checked out my Core Beliefs page, then you know that I don’t have an issue with LGBTQ individuals. In fact, I’d rather just see them as people instead of having to affix some kind of label to them at all, but our society tends to that, so I’ll continue to use the convention here just so there’s no mistaking who I am talking about.
So I guess when I look at this situation, I’d rather look at the example of Christ over the example of, say, Leviticus. Christ is the center of the Christian faith, and God’s Final Word.
So let’s say Jesus ran a bakery and a gay couple wanted to order a cake for their wedding. Would Jesus refuse to serve that couple?
If your first blush to is to say “You bet he would,” or “Well he’d serve them but he would scold them for sinning first,” then I invite you to look at the situation through 2 different lenses.
First, let’s view this situation through the lens of Maundy Thursday. John chapter 13 tells us the story about how Jesus washed the disciples feet before the last supper as a symbolic act of sacrifice and servanthood. Think of the feet Jesus is washing. He is washing the feet of all these guys who will run away in a few hours when he needs their support most. He washes the feet of his best friend, who before the rooster crows in the morning will deny he even knows him not once, not twice, but three times. He is also, perhaps most pointedly washing the feet of the man who will very shortly hand him over to the people that will execute him. He is washing the feet of the Betrayer himself, Judas.
Think on that for a minute. Put yourself in the, uh, sandals, of Christ. What would be going on as you washed the feet of Judas, knowing that shortly he would betray you to your death, with a kiss of all things? Do you think that was easy? Do you think that it wasn’t a big deal?
So I ask you this. If Jesus can wash the feet of the man who betrays him, can you SELL a cake to a gay couple? I mean, you’d even get money out of the deal, and isn’t that what we ultimately worship in this country anyway, it’s true religion?
It’s about service. Service for everybody. Take the words I printed above from the Gospel of Mark for instance. James and John have asked that when Jesus is crowned king, that he allow them to sit on his left and right side. They want to be next to him in power, they want to be his lieutenants. The other ten disciples hear this, and it doesn’t go over well. They get into an argument over this, and who will be the greatest among them.
Jesus looks on, and gives us that sense that he gives so often, especially in Mark, that sense where he just goes up to the disciples and says “You still don’t get it, do you?” Christ tells them that if they truly want to be great, then they must become a servant. In fact he goes even further than that. He tells them that they must become a slave of EVERYBODY ELSE (emphasis mine). A SLAVE, a slave of EVERYONE. After all, he says, that’s what HE came to do.
Well, surely when he says “everyone” he doesn’t really mean everyone, right? I mean come on now.
Yeah, I think he means everyone. Remember, he washed the feet of the guy who betrayed him.
But gay people? Yeah. Even gay people. Do you want my take on this? Click here.
But gay people do something that Bible clearly says is wrong!
Well, that opens up a whole other can of worms about ancient moral codes in the Bible and which ones we follow and which ones we toss out. However, for today’s purpose, I invite you to look at the issue through this second lens, the lens of YOU.
Yes, the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. The Bible says lots of things are wrong, particularly in the Old Testament. I wonder…have you ever done any of those things that the Bible says are wrong? Have you ever willingly broken one of those 600 some laws? If you say you haven’t, well then I think you’re breaking one right now, something about lying.
“But they’re going to keep right on doing it!”
So are you.
You know you will. I know I will, as much as I like to think I wouldn’t.
So should someone refuse to do business with you because you’ve gotten drunk a time or two? Should someone refuse to do business with you because you charged someone interest on a loan? Benjamin Corey gives a great perspective on this issue HERE.
It’s all there in the Bible. So if you insist on casting LGBTQ people as “sinners in the hands of an angry God,” well, don’t forget that you’re in that boat too.
What did Jesus do for you, for his disciples, for all of us? Yes, he would wash your feet as well. He would be beaten and spat upon for you. James and John were right, Jesus would be crowned King of the Jews soon enough, but instead of a beautiful crown of gold it was an ugly crown of thorns. Instead of a throne he was given a cross. The point is that he did it for you, me, everybody. He did it for the men who died with him, one on his right and one on his left, telling the man that acknowledged him “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
That man was a thief, a criminal.
So what’s your problem?
Part of the message of Maundy Thursday is the great act of servanthood, of the Lord of all Creation, the maker of the Earth, the one who set the stars in their courses kneeling before the dirty feet of 12 common sinners and washing them. It blows my mind when I think about it.
So don’t you think you can bake a cake for a couple that’s really just two normal people, two people crafted in God’s image, two people that love each other enough to say that they’re going to bind themselves to each other?
I think you can. I think we all can.
It shouldn’t stop there though. Who else should we serve? Who else can we serve? How do we seek out opportunities to serve others in the name of Christ, in the example he modeled for us?
If we focused on this, instead of some made up right to make our service exclusive against people we don’t agree with, I think we might find the light of Christ truly shining through us into a world that craves the ultimate dispelling of the darkness in which we all wander.
Think about it, and I pray that you have a blessed Maundy Thursday.