God, that's nice and all, but what about my friends?!

   
I was reading Genesis 17 today:
God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."
Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!"
Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.  (vs. 15-20)
Interesting that God tells Abraham he will be blessed by giving him a son through Sarah, but it's not enough for Abraham.  Abraham pleads: "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!"
God essentially says, "sure.  I'm going to bless you the way I said I would, but since you asked, I'll go ahead and bless Ishmael too."
I'm reminded yet again of my friends in the LGBT community.  Conservative Christians hear God promise blessing to themselves, based on their piety and obedience, but they also seem quite comfortable with the [perceived] lack of blessing upon their neighbors.  They accept a bare minimum from God: their own blessing.
In Genesis 17, Abraham isn't satisfied with only himself, or only his legitimate son-to-be.  Abraham asks for more.  Abraham asks for blessing on Ishmael.
What might God do THROUGH Christianity if we simply ASKED?  The debate over scriptural legitimacy, accuracy, context and original-intent all aside (and if possible, try to forget which "side" of the LGBT debate you're on):  What if the church, rather than accept a rigid teaching on sexuality and gender roles, actually said: "God, thanks for blessing us, but we'd like you to bless them too!"  What if we asked more of God?
In Matthew 16:19 Jesus says, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
If we have the keys, we are given power as instruments of God's blessing and God's grace. 
Will we bless, or curse?  Will we bind, or free?  If Jesus is telling the truth, then I choose to LOOSE my friends and neighbors in heaven AND on earth.  I'm certain there'll be plenty of space...

8 comments:

Al said...

Bless you, Peter. That is an incredible thought.

Why shouldn't we be wanting God's blessing on everyone? Is there something special and good about being able to look down on someone because we are blessed more than they are?

Peter J Walker said...

Al, your gentleness and kindness continually inspire me. I wish we were geographically closer. We'd be great friends, I'm sure!

Peter J Walker said...

And Al, I call you 'friend,' now.

Al said...

Thanks, bro.

I receive and bask in the blessing that being your friend is.

Yeah, I could really enjoy a cup of coffee with you now and then!

Chris Ledgerwood said...

Well written! I couldn't agree more!

shallowfrozenwater said...

i've actually met Al when i was visiting his neighbourhood a couple months ago, and you're right, his kindness and gentleness inspire everyone around him.

Eruesso said...

Can't get enough of this post, Peter. I've been sharing it left and right. Oh and your logo always cracks me up!

Peter J Walker said...

Thanks!

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