Happy New Year friends! Thank you for interacting with this blog in the last year. I look forward to continuing to explore and expand our experience of generous spaciousness together in the conversation to come. As I think about the coming year, I wanted to share with you a picture that has struck me as a beautiful metaphor for the space this blog seeks to nurture. This year for the season of Advent our congregation focused on the image of the plumb line found in Isaiah 28:
“So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.”
According to Wikipedia, “A plumb-bob or a plummet is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, that is suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line.” The idea is that our commitment to and outworking of justice is the measure through which we find our alignment with the heart of God. The Hebrew word translated as ‘righteousness’ in the Isaiah text is tseh’-dek. This word is found over 500 times in the Old Testament and means: righteous, integrity, equity, justice. In English we tend to view ‘righteousness’ as correct moral, ethical behaviour. But when we return to the Hebrew, we are reminded that this key aspect of God’s character and his call to us has everything to do with how we treat others. God is perfectly righteous – he is perfectly just and equitable. His heart towards all he has made is perfectly complete in the love he extends, without favouritism, and his desire for all to experience the shalom that brings his intentions for wholeness. Justice is an important, essential aspect of the conversations that emerge at the intersection of faith and sexuality. Unfortunately, this idea of justice has at times had a polarizing effect. Different understandings of what justice for sexual minorities is contributes to the theological arguments concerning appropriate relationships and experiences of intimacy. What God intended to be the measure of our alignment with his heart has become a lightning rod for separation from and judgment of one another. My prayer is that we will have the opportunity to continue to explore justice together through our diversity and our conversations in 2011. My prayer is that we would seek and find alignment with God’s heart – even in the midst of our differences. I was encouraged by the image of our Christmas tree in our church. What I found fascinating as I contemplated this tree, was that there were multiple plumb lines. While the tree features two sides, it seemed to me that the centre of the tree, this double helix, was representative of the Incarnation. In Jesus, the human and the divine perfectly meet. He is bigger than our differences. It struck me, as I gazed at the reflection of the tree on the ceiling that the dominant image was that centre piece. I don’t have all the answers to our differences. I don’t know how we find unity in such diversity. I don’t know how to navigate such strong convictions on both sides. I don’t have the perfect response to those who worry about moral relativism. But I do know that when we centre ourselves in Christ, we can trust him to lead us. When we find our resting place in him, we will find his justice for one another. This is my prayer for 2011.