All means ALL! To treat some as less than–or as an aberration or abomination–is in violation of the Gospel and incompatible with Christian teaching.
I preached these words at First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (website) on November 20, a pivotal Sunday in the liturgical year and in this congregation’s history.
Christ the King Sunday pivots the liturgical year from the culmination of Pentecost to the expectancy of Advent. Added to the significance of this particular Sunday was the fact that this was the congregation’s first opportunity to vote on whether to join the Reconciling Ministries Network (website). A “Reconciling congregation” openly welcomes all, including LGBTQIA+ people, into the full life and leadership of the church.
It is a pivotal period in my own life too! I just marked my 82nd birthday and my 62nd year of ministry in The (United) Methodist Church. It has been an ever-expanding journey from narrow provincialism, rigid moralism, and dogmatic exclusivism to a sense of mystery before an expanding cosmos created by a loving God; ongoing experiences of grace upon grace; and ever-deepening friendship with Jesus the Christ, who is “all in all.”
Since Christ is all in all and has reconciled all things, the usual categories by which we evaluate people and build dividing walls of hostility and exclusion no longer apply.
“There is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free,” male or female, gay or straight, traditionalist or progressive, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican! All are one as beloved children of God.
Here is the link to the service. The sermon begins at approximately 39 minutes, but I encourage you to experience the entire service.