Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Church no longer a place for worst of sinners?

Published:Saturday | December 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I got home on the evening of Monday, December 8 and settled in to watch the news. As I listened to the headlines, I heard something about a pastor washing the feet of lesbians and I thought the church was fulfilling its true purpose - to open its doors to all, regardless of race colour or sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, I didn't hear clearly enough, because when the news came back in detail, I saw a bunch of 'churchgoers' - and I call them so intentionally - all irate about what happened as though the minister had committed an abomination.

I was appalled. When the news ended, the minister stood almost alone on his side of the fence, as only one member supported him - at least from the lot who spoke.

I could only remember the biblical account of the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus so he could sanction the law that said she should be stoned to death. Jesus rightly challenged that whomever among her accusers was sinless should be the first to cast a stone, but when the woman looked up, all her accusers were gone.

I also remember Jesus speaking to the woman of Samaria, to the disgust of many and dining at Zacchaeus' house, even though he could have chosen that of the high priest or some other member of the Sanhedrin, the high religious order.

In his sojourn on earth, Jesus was in the company of some who had far from impressive resumes. It seemed, however, to have been his purpose, as he said, "I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32) I ask those irate churchgoers, if you cannot open your doors to those you consider the vilest of sinners, what is your purpose?

christians not churchgoers

The word 'Christian' was first used in Antioch to refer to followers of Christ. I will not mar the word by using it to refer to those churchgoers, for they could never be. I reserve that term for people who follow Christ and who would do what he did.

Heaven smiled at the gesture of Father Sean Major-Campbell and he should be lauded instead of being chided for what he did. One of the ladies interviewed said she was not sure if she would go back to Christ Church after what happened, and I could not agree with her more. It is certainly not a place for her; for it is a place for people who will show love to all.

What has become of 'come just as you are'? What has become of 'chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed his blood for me'? What has come of 'just as I am without one plea'? What has become of the 'church is a hospital to heal my sin-sick soul'?

If members of the LGBT community are the worst of sinners, isn't the Church the place for them?

PATRICK LALOR

Human Rights Advocate.