This week, Canadian Anglicans are arguing among themselves (in fact, they are fighting among themselves) at their general synod about whether or not couples of the same gender should be “allowed” to marry in Canadian Anglican church buildings and Canadian Anglican priests allowed to preside at such weddings.
I am a moralist. The reason that I approve wholeheartedly with people of the same gender being married in Christian churches is that I want lesbian and gay people to have the opportunity of living righteously just as straight people have. In other words, you can’t expect people to refrain from having sex outside of marriage if you don’t allow them to get married.
Some evangelical Christians have a problem with this because they cannot find Biblical justification for it. Well, here it is.
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” ( Matthew 12: 1-8 )
When David was hungry he did something which, according to scripture, only priests were supposed to do and he was not condemned by God for doing so. Therefore, if gay and lesbian Christians hunger after a sexual and also righteous life, they will not be condemned by God for getting properly hitched to the person they love, even though there is some scriptural insistence that marriage is only for heterosexuals. In fact, there is a lot less in the Hebrew Bible about gay people not having sex with each other than there is about only priests being allowed into the Holy of Holies.
Elsewhere, Jesus insists that the need to cure a person, even on the Sabbath, overrides any rule about not working on the Sabbath. In such cases, doing a good thing is more important than obeying every jot and tittle of the law. Jesus stated very clearly that morality trumps legality and this is recorded in the very scriptures that evangelical Christians revere as the word of God.
Jesus is “the Lord of the Sabbath.” All law is subservient to his commandments. Do what he requires. Be merciful and do not insist that people sacrifice their happiness in life for, ultimately, petty reasons. Not even when the strictures of an old covenant state that you should do.