Last Friday the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling that requires the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in all fifty states.
As Christians, we are not of this world, but we are in it and we care about and are concerned for what happens here. And so on Sunday at Desert Springs Church, in Albuquerque, NM, we prayed in reflection on the Supreme Court’s decision for our nation, for the church, and for everything in-between. Here’s how we addressed the Lord when we gathered this Lord’s Day:
Father, increasingly, our nation is calling evil good and good evil, and we have a mixture of responses to this.
We know who rules the world, who set the stars in their place, and who orders history. You do. The nations are as a drop in the bucket to you, and our leaders, in all of their righteous and unrighteous decisions, are ultimately working out your plan for history. And so we are calm and we are confident because history is yours, and we belong to you.
And yet, though trusting you fully, we are troubled in so many ways. We look to you, yet we lament.
- We’re troubled for a nation that has set its way against the Creator. Marriage is something it has and should recognize and regulate, but marriage is not the state’s to change, for the state did not design human beings. It governs them. Lord, may we trust you with vigilant and happy reverence for the institution you made, even if we look crazy for it.
- We’re troubled for those who experience same-sex attraction, that the affirmation of their desires as good might put them farther from the life-saving truth about sin and salvation in the gospel. Lord, may we trust you to perform the miracle that is always yours to perform in conversion—to open blind eyes and save sexual sinners of all kinds, as you have each of us.
- We’re troubled for those in our lives whom we love, people made in your image, who believe and even celebrate a lie that leads to death. There is nothing more serious and sad than this. Lord, may we trust you and your Word to convict of sin as we labor in conversation and love to commend the truth to our neighbors.
- We’re troubled for children yet unborn who will inherit a world with a more confused vision of marriage than we’ve known ourselves, children who will have a lesser chance of growing up with the mother and father who made them. Trends in other lands confirm what we would expect: that laws teach norms and norms matter. Lord, may we trust you to be the Father of the fatherless.
- We’re troubled for what it will mean to be wrongly identified by culture and law as bigoted—for what this will mean for our influence in the schools, as teachers, as parents on PTO boards; for what it will mean for our workplace relationships when we can’t congratulate a friend on their engagement or attend their wedding; when we are ruled out for a promotion or position of influence; when certain vocations, in time, are simply out of bounds for people who believe what we do. Lord, may we trust you more as exiles in this world, as strangers and as aliens.
- We’re troubled for how this will effect the freedom of people of all revealed faiths—Muslims, Jews, Christians, and others—who hold to a traditional understanding of marriage, and for the temptation they will face to deny what they know and so sin against their conscience. Lord, may we trust you with hard work for the just freedom of all persons to believe without coercion and exercise their religion in the normal course of their lives.
- We’re troubled for how this may over time effect our work together for the common good in Christian day-cares, schools for children, Christian colleges and universities, campus ministries, military chaplain programs, adoption agencies, and even perhaps Christians who desire to foster and adopt little ones. Lord, may we trust you with persevering and painstaking work for the good of our communities.
- We’re troubled for the pressure our elected officials will feel to be on the so-called “right side of history” on future erosions of marriage that seem inevitable when marriage is untethered from the twoness of the sexes. Lord, may we trust you with patient, persevering, and prudent self-government.
- We’re troubled for the temptation Christians and churches will face to abandon a faithful witness by either denying the sinfulness of sin and so losing the gospel, or by affirming the truth about marriage in a way that denies its beauty and repels sinners. Neither response will ensure that we are a refuge for sinners who need refuge when sin’s empty promises leave them hurt, guilty, and alone. Lord, may we trust you to keep us from timidity and from pride as we boldly make known the truth about sin in order to boldly make know the only Savior who can take it away.
- Lord, we are troubled about many things. We are even troubled by how much others are or aren’t troubled by these things we have lamented. Give us unity around the main things and wisdom together to know when those things are at stake. Give us patience in our listening and wisdom and winsomeness in our speech.
Thankfully, while there many reasons to lament, there are still many more to trust, and in trusting, to sing and to rejoice.
- And so we rejoice in Christ, risen from the dead and seated. Our world changes, but he isn’t going anywhere. We fear nothing for nothing can separate us from him.
- We rejoice in Christ, who was a stranger in this world. Every difficulty for his sake confirms that we are his.
- And we rejoice in Christ, who is building his church. May your church shine brightly with marriages that are more faithful, more pure, more loving, and more enduring, that the world may see and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Glorify your Son—the King of Glory, the Highest Judge, our Risen Lamb—in whose name we pray.