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  • Amber

Nothing Can Separate Us From God's Love

"Who will bring a charge against God’s elect people? It is God who acquits them. Who is going to convict them? It is Christ Jesus who died, even more, who was raised, and who also is at God’s right side. It is Christ Jesus who also pleads our case for us.
Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
We are being put to death all day long for your sake.
We are treated like sheep for slaughter.
But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created."
- Romans 8.33-39 (CEB)

 

This set of verses is perhaps some of the most powerful for me. In particular, the line “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There are many folks that seem to miss this message and create a multitude of things that separate us from God, erecting a number of hurdles that must be jumped in order to obtain or deserve his love. But this simply isn’t the case.

 

As a millennial that identifies with the LGBTQ+ community, I often keep the fact that I work at a church on the down low. Not really a secret, but it’s certainly not the first thing I tell people because I know as soon as anyone mentions ‘church’ there’s a certain image that comes to mind. They’ll think about how the church has hurt them, how the loud voices in the religion have preached their beliefs that exclude others rather than messages of acceptance and love.

 

So, as a church employee, I find it very important to establish where my church stands. We are a member of the broader denomination of the United Church of Christ, which is one of, if not the most, progressive church denominations there are. My church, and my faith, stands with these marginalized communities whose identities have somehow become political. Here is me saying, yes this is a church, but don’t worry, we’re progressive! We actually believe that everyone is invited as they are, you don’t have to pass a purity test, you don’t have to work to earn grace. Jesus died for our sins, full stop.



It's disheartening that I need to add caveats to my faith because some have chosen to weaponize the idea of religion and make people into political platforms. Disheartening, but it can’t be ignored. I don’t want that image to be the image of Christianity, and in order for that to change, more people need to stand up for acceptance and speak on the love that is meant to be at the heart of this religion.

 

There’s a term in the Christian queer community called ‘clobber verses’: the verses used to speak against gay and queer folk. Many people have written about the proper historical context and translations for these verses and how the arguments don’t really hold up. Those responses are necessary, of course, but as the work has already been done, I wish to focus on a different matter. What if the focus was on the verses that clearly show love and acceptance. Verses like the one shared above. From a letter from Paul, no less!

 

Above all else, Jesus told us to love the Lord, our God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. All the laws and the prophets stand on these. Nothing about judging others - we’re to love them, not judge them. No lines defining who is and who isn’t our neighbor – because there are no lines, we’re to love everyone. And nothing about working to deserve His love or God’s love – because its implicit. Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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