Order, Words, & Voices 10.17.21

Order

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (3:09)
Call to Worship
Love God Love People (Dan Gokey/Michael W. Smith)

Live/OnLine
Prayer (14 Slides)							Rick
Music 1	Billy	                                            
           	Thank You Lord (Dennis Jernigan)
Today’s Story	Online - Jaimie	& In Person-Chris													
Music 2								Billy
            	Show Me Your Ways (Russell Fragar)
Message    ‘Abominable”		Rick
Music 3								Billy           Revelation Song (Jennie Lee Riddle)
Community       Rick							
Benediction	Online - Jaimie	& In Person-Chris							
Sharing the Peace    Rick                                    		
Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


Voices and Words

Prayer

God,
Lord make Me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness joy.

O Divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved. as to love
For it's in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born...
To eternal life.
Amen

Prayer of Saint Francis

Music 1

Thank You Lord
CCLI Song # 577439
Dennis Jernigan
For all that You've doneI will thank YouFor all that You're going to doFor all that You've promisedAnd all that You areIs all that has carried me throughJesus I thank You
Pre-Chorus
And I thank You thank You Lord(And I thank You thank You Lord)Thank You thank You Lord(Thank You thank You)
Chorus
Thank You for loving and setting me freeThank You for giving Your life just for meHow I thank You Jesus I thank YouGratefully thank You thank You

Today’s Story 

Chris: Today we are looking at 2 different passages from the book of Leviticus. The first one comes from Leviticus 18:19-25. “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. You shall not have sexual relations with your kinsman’s wife, and defile yourself with her. You shall not give any of your offspring to sacrifice them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. You shall not have sexual relations with any animal and defile yourself with it, nor shall any woman give herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it: it is perversion. Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. “Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” … Well, that was a lot of fun, let’s hear your verse Jaimie.

Jaimie: That was very uncomfortable,  I think I’m developing a cough, why don’t you go ahead and read it.

Chris: No, not falling for that.

Jaimie: (fake cough)

Chris: We will wait.

Jaimie: Okay, surely this is not as squeamish as what you read. Leviticus 20:10-16. ‘If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed perversion, their blood is upon them. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is depravity; they shall be burned to death, both he and they, that there may be no depravity among you. If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and has sexual relations with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall be.…’ I think I will just stop there.

Chris: Abomination, depravity, burned to death, killing innocent animals!? What is that all about?

Jaimie: The law was a gift to the Hebrews, this doesn’t really sound very gift like.

Chris: Nor does it sound very loving, or like Jesus.

Jaimie: It is horrific, it is very unmerciful and extremely no compassionate.

Chris: So, there has to be more to it.

Jaimie: Not sure how this can be redeemed, I do not understand how this lines up with with Jesus’ own words when he said “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.nIndeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.:

Chris: Or with other words of Jesus when he said, ““‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jaimie: I guess there is some hope for this morning.

Chris: Hopefully it is also a hope for all humanity.


Music 2

Show Me Your Ways
CCLI Song # 1675024
Russell Fragar
Verse
Show me Your waysThat I may walk with YouShow me Your waysI put my hope in You
Chorus
The cry of my heartIs to love You moreTo live with the touchOf Your handStronger each dayShow me Your ways
Verse
Show me Your waysThat I may walk with YouShow me Your waysI put my hope in You
Chorus
The cry of my heartIs to love You moreTo live with the touchOf Your handStronger each dayShow me Your ways
Message        ‘Abominable’

It is speculated that the average person says 860,341,500 over a lifetime.
Gyles Brandreth, The Joy of Lex: How to Have Fun with 860,341,500 Words



John Steinbeck wrote 
“A writer lives in awe of words, for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator.”
William Robert Rich, October 8, 2012, Screenplay Blog

Jerry Falwell Sr. used some of his words to say, “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
Christopher Reed, May 17, 2007, The Guardian

Billy Graham used his words to call homosexuality a “sinister form of perversion”
John Paul Brammer, Feb. 22, 2018, NBC News



Reverend Dr. E. Dewey Smith, used the words of his sermon to his 10,000 plus member church, to say.

“We have done what the slave masters did to us—dehumanize us, degrade us, demonize us. On one hand you quote homosexuality is an abomination from Leviticus. But you say that right after you ate some shrimp, some catfish and some lobster. You quote Levitucus while you're wearing a wool blend suit. It's also in Leviticus that you shouldn't wear mixed linens. It's in Leviticus that if your wife is on her cycle that you shouldn't go in the same house with her or even sleep in the same bed with her. Here's my point. We pick and choose the scriptures that we want to use to beat folks up with rather than look at our own lives. Look at your neighbor and tell your neighbor I don't condemn you, I don't judge you. You can't evangelize and antagonize at the same time. You cannot insult and inspire the same people that you insult.”
Dr. E. Dewey Smith, senior pastor at House of Hope Atlanta

So, let’s focus in on a specific word.

Abomination.


‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.’
Leviticus 18:22 (NRSV)



“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
Leviticus 20:13 (NRSV)

This instruction was given by God to Moses to the Israelites. This was part of the gift of the law, given only to the Hebrews because only the Hebrews would receive it. The Hebrews were a fragile people enslaved for centuries. Their ancestors had little knowledge of God prior to slavery, as a result, they had little understanding of God after slavery. However, they were the lineage of the redeemer, Jesus. Their earthly strength was in their population numbers. The more Hebrews people - the more fighters and protectors.  Their strength was not weapons, it wasn’t about chariots and horses, it was about a lot of physically, mentally, and spiritually strong humans. It was essential that they quickly grew in numbers and health. 

Leviticus takes place about 50 days after the release from slavery. Healthy propagation was their primary task. For this reason God addresses those things, primary those sexual things, that can hinder healthy population growth. Therefore activities such as incest could do great harm to the bloodline, and homosexuality would be totally unproductive. These words were also a warning of the customs and cultures they were about to encounter, idolatry and rejection of God, Child sacrifice, selling their own bodies, - a people who could not love others because they so deeply disrespected themselves. It was about using sex to disrespect self and others.

Abomination.

It is a word that immediately solicits a negative perception, although, it is seldom something that we can fully define. It is a word that immediately adds a negative connotation. It is defined differently by who is saying it and heard differently by the receiver. It is used as a hammer, a weapon, to attack.

This Ancient Hebrew word in the original text is towebah and is found 16 times. The root of this word, toaybaw, is found 117 times throughout the old testament. Both are commonly translated Abomination.

The majority of Christians, when hearing this word, automatically think that it is a categorization of sin - these passages are thought to define homosexuality as the worst of all sins. However, we do not theologically believe in a categorization of sins. There are not greater sins, and there are not lesser sins. Sin is disobedience to God, period. A sinful action may have greater and more blatant earthly/fleshly consequences, but sin is disobedience.

Abomination does not indicate a ‘worse’ sin, in fact, it does not automatically indicate sin.

Towebah, is saying ‘this is unproductive’ ‘this is uncomfortable’ ‘this is a taboo gray zone thing.’ In other places in scripture, this word is also used to confront mixed nationalities or religions sitting at the same table, or heartless religious practices, or woman wearing pants, or not being Kosher. It is about a lot of things that we do not classify as “worse sin.’

The problem with the word Abomination is not the Biblical translation, it is about how our brains have been trained to automatically interpret it.

Paul uses many words like abomination in the New Testament. Jesus drew close to addressing the LGTBQ population with the words.

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs. Accept this.”
Jesus, Matthew 19:12

Let me pause for a moment. It is not time to agree with Rick and come out as an LGBTQ activist and start fights with everyone you encounter to make them accept your point of view, being hateful and unchristlike. Nor is it time to crawl back into the comfort of a cave where we can isolate ourselves from things we do not understand, things we are uncomfortable with, while we become unchristlike. 

In Judaism there is a term for things that we accept but do not understand, things we are uncomfortable with. The word Teku is a term that the scribes and rabbis use when there was something in the holy words they do not understand, ‘something that still needs to be determined and understood.’ Teku instructs us to still follow God and unconditionally love regardless of our understanding and regardless of any conditions.

We do not have to understand to accept, to affirm, to love, to embrace. 
We live by a higher calling. We are called to Love. It is a call to embrace, to accept, to affirm, to recognize the equality of all created beings, to sacrifice our comfort - all without regard to our understanding. It is the love that led Jesus to the cross even while we were still sinners. It is a love that is beyond our understanding.

I cannot win this argument, I cannot lose this argument, truth is, I cannot maintain a consistent comfort with this argument. But, I do know this, when I come to a TEKU moment, a moment I do not understand, that I am uncomfortable with, that is when I Love, that is when I show Jesus through my life. That is when I trust God. The God, who, when I was still waist deep in my sin, put Jesus on the cross for me. The God who sent his son not to judge or condemn but to love all the world - because God SO loves the world.

I have sat with many who, on a very personal basis, struggle with this LGBTQ. Parents of gay children, gay individuals, - they have not chosen this path, they didn’t ask for any of this. They have listened to our ignorant insistence that they just don’t do gay sex, when that is not what this is about. They have tried to follow our demands that they abstain, only to hear us say blanket statements about all gays being evil and sinister. They have tried to not be what their very being tells them that they are, and yet have realized that it just doesn’t work. They have prayed, been prayed over, been persuaded, and finally have given up - sometimes to the point of their own death. They have tried, and the church has failed them. The church has failed to truly and unconditionally love.

The true abomination that faces the church today is placing the ‘less than’ label’ on any human being. Making anyone sit at the back of the bus, forcing any created in the likeness of God human, created in the image of God, to be less human, less loved by God, less anything. We accept after we establish a response to all of the ‘what its’. We accept them after they decide to act like they are what makes us comfortable. They have tried but, in the end, only to find themself lying flat on their back in an inescapable pit.

We have told parents just to kick them out, reject them, and then expect them, through our prayers, to turn to the Jesus that we claim led us to be so unloving, so judgy, so filled with the confused hatred of condemnation.

Ironically the greatest abomination of the church, is how we have hatefully rejected people that God loves. God calls us back to his unconditional love, and then to trust God’s spirit to work his transformation in all our lives. God’s transformation of us, not our expected transformation of others.

“We, human beings are very good at many things. Unfortunately, one of the things we are good at is discrimination. Jesus knew this. That is why he was so passionate in his story of the Good Samaritan. That is why he posited what we call the golden rule of doing onto others as we would have them do onto us. That is why a basic theme throughout the New Testament is that we should love others as we love ourselves. To discriminate against sexual minorities is clearly incompatible with Jesus’ core teachings throughout the Gospels.”
Rev Dr. Philip H. “Hutch” Hutchens

It is time we hang up vague hateful words and let God change our hateful hearts, it is time that we see everyone in the way that Jesus saw everyone. In the end, understanding is not a factor in loving, nor is it a factor in living out the message of Jesus Christ. In the end we are left with LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS.

Let’s pray.


Music 3

Revelation Song
CCLI Song # 4447960
Jennie Lee Riddle
Verse 1
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slainHoly holy is HeSing a new song to Him Who sits onHeaven's mercy seat
Chorus
Holy holy holyIs the Lord God AlmightyWho was and is and is to comeWith all creation I singPraise to the King of kingsYou are my ev'rythingAnd I will adore You
Verse 2
Clothed in rainbows of living colorFlashes of lightning rolls of thunderBlessing and honor strength and gloryAnd power be to You the only wise King
Chorus
Holy holy holyIs the Lord God AlmightyWho was and is and is to comeWith all creation I singPraise to the King of kingsYou are my ev'rythingAnd I will adore You
Verse 3
Filled with wonder awestruck wonderAt the mention of Your nameJesus Your name is power breath and living waterSuch a marv'lous mystery yeah
Chorus
Holy holy holyIs the Lord God AlmightyWho was and is and is to comeWith all creation I singPraise to the King of kingsYou are my ev'rythingAnd I will adore You

Community
Community
hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Study - Thursday
Next Sunday - ‘The Disregarded Women Of Sodom and Gibeah’ Genesis 19 & Judges 19
Communion, Sunday, October 31

    
Benediction

Chris: We go from here knowing that God loves us and that God loves everyone else as well.

Jaimie: We go from here recognizing that it is my choice to accept God’s transforming work in my life and it is the choice of others to accept God’s transforming work in their life.

Chris: We go from here understanding that God works transformation, not me.

Jaimie: We go from here knowing that God’s transformation is out of his love and motivated by his love.

Chris: We go into a reality that, for all of us, depends on God’s strength and power.

Jaimie We go gratefully in God’s mercy and compassion.

Chris: We go from here in, and because of, God’s grace.

Closing Peace

May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, and hope go with you.

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, hope.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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