8th December - Gay and Bisexual people
It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God
There are probably gay and bisexual people in your church. Start from there. When you speak in church, you are speaking to us.
When you talk about sexuality, you are telling us about the validity of our lives and relationships.
If you condemn same-sex relationships, you are telling us that we can never bring our partners to church for the fellowship that most Christians take for granted. That we can never come to you if we need support in our relationships. That you won't celebrate with us as we celebrate your marriage and children with you.
If you say changes in the law are destroying marriage, you are saying that our relationship not only does not compare with yours, its presence under the same name is enough to degrade your relationship.
If you stay silent, that is certainly better than to condemn; but it means that we don't know if we are welcome; or if an unguarded remark, or a kiss on the cheek, might mean we are no longer accepted.
Some gay people will choose to be celibate, and that's great - Paul says that to be single is a blessed way of life. But he also recognises that only some are called to it or capable of it. Must we assume that this calling exists for every gay person?
You might disagree with my theology; I understand that. If I had an undefeatable argument, this debate would be a lot less long and painful. In that case, you need to choose what is the first thing you let us know when we come to your church - is it Christ's love for us, or your theology about our relationship?
It's pretty hard to express both those things at once. And I don't think Jesus is unclear on which is most important.
Tim is involved in the ministry of a church in Durham
Lord, as we anticipate the celebration of your light, help our church to be a place where all can bring their lives and relationships into the light, and none have to hide in darkness.
Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.