The Star of Bethlehem - a hope that the Church will accept Gays
Christmas Eve 2005, Singapore . In a letter to participating churches, the organizers from the for the Christian Christmas functions at Orchard Road requested that the churches be forthcoming in the funds to meet the target of 800K SGD as less than half has been received. Claiming that Gays have asked the relevant authorities for a parade at Orchard, the organizers urged the churches to act quickly not to allow this to happen by confirming the venue first. However none of the Gay activists were apparently aware of plans of a Gay parade allegedly organized by them! Is it Christian to deliberately peddle a lie to one’s own gain? to the detriment of others!
As the churches prepare for their Christmas day celebration and the celebrations at Orchard Road, there is a buzz in the air in the Gay community. Incredible events have taken place - the civil unions in Britain of famous Gay singer – Elton John, the screening of the movie Brokeback Mountain, a gay love story that has captured the hearts both Gay and Straight in conservative America, and here in Singapore, a very radical Christian reflection on “Gay, Fine by me” by Rev Yap Kim Hao, a former Methodist Bishop and Bible school lecturer. The reflections posted at Fridae.Com coming from a learned and well credential pastoral matriarch gives a certain notion of credibility that Christianity may after all need not be incompatible with homosexuality and that there is nothing adverse in being a Gay Christian. Is the tide turning against the mainstream Christian churches on this issue?
The Methodist Church leadership will no doubt issue a strong statement against Gays and indirectly will bring pressure upon Rev Yap. In fact, Bishop Solomon of the Methodist Church has openly re-emphasized his opposition against Gays in his recent article published in their church magazine.
At times like this, we are asked to contemplate what is meant by blessed.
Rev Yap will be blessed because He is persecuted for righteousness sake. What is righteousness? It is defined ‘right’ action. However, Jesus is our righteousness, our right standing before God. Therefore, when we stand for righteousness sake, we are standing for Jesus’ sake. We are following the footsteps of Jesus, doing what He would have done. We are following after Jesus, the epitome of righteousness. Just like for Jesus, they would tell lies and say all manner of evil against us. But Jesus calls us to be exceedingly glad because we will be honored greatly in heaven and join the company of great men of God who have gone before. The Gospel gives us a picture of Jesus supporting the outcasts and very much against the self righteous religious community. Guess who will He be supporting and will be called blessed?
The declaration by the mainstream Church leaders that Gay groups have approached the authorities for a Gay parade as a matter of fact is a sign that the leaders felt threatened and are now resorting to rumors and half truths as an advertising ploy and a vision that the Christian church is somehow under attack by the Gay community. On the contrary, the church has led an unprovoked opposition upon the Gay community. It would be sad indeed if the Church begins to loose its role to declare the gospel of Christ. Has the church lost its saltiness? and has become less focused on its calling. Worst still, in the perspective of the Gay community, the Church is not salty nor even a tasteless neutral bystander. Instead, the Church has become a curse, a bitter drink who is obsessed with persecuting Gays instead of blessing and preaching the Gospel which it is mandated to do. Instead of salt, the Church has become grinding sand to many.
By coming against Gays who are innocent, and strongly persecuting them, the Churches have attempted to crush the Gay movement. But the opposite will occur. Instead, God will move in a greater measure to defend the Gay community and exalt them because they are defenseless minority. Persecution and cruelty by the church gives God the very reason to move mightily for this community to restore to them the basic rights that others have enjoyed. Since the late 60s there was a start in the move of God, with Homosexuality legalized in Britain in 1967, and Gay Churches forming in 1968. Nothing changed much over the next 20 years. But the 1990s, and 2000s, brought with it an almost obsessive attack by so called Family Christian based groups and key Christian leaders against Gays. In response there will be an equally miraculous move towards equality not achieved in the previous 200 years of Gay rights movement. More and more countries starting in Europe are beginning to give Gays the basic rights of marriage albeit called as civil unions to pacify the religious crusaders.
The star of Bethlehem of the first Christmas brought a new hope of a new beginning and move of God. Likewise, this Christmas brings forth a new hope in the Gay community. Just as the Star of Bethlehem brought together the wise men and shepherd to witness the miraculous birth of Jesus, so to would this Christmas marks the beginning of a new movement for equality throughout the world.
The star of Bethlehem was in fact an alignment of heavenly bodies each with a significant meaning. In 3 B.C., the planet Jupiter, the royal ‘star’, came into conjunction or alignment with Regulus, the star of kingship, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo. Leo was the constellation of kings, and associated by some with the Lion of Judah. On September 11, 3 B.C., the sun was in the constellation Virgo. I.e. the the royal planet in conjunction with the royal star while the sun is in a virgin. September 11, 3 B.C., is also the beginning of the Jewish New Year. (Rosh Hashanah). Could, Jesus perhaps be born on Sept, 3 BC?
The wise men or learned astronomers in Persia saw the heavenly signs, searched diligently the ancient texts for the meaning of this momentous event and found that in the Jewish scriptures left behind by the Jews in Babylon that the birth of the "king of the Jews" promised in their scriptures was imminent. When the three wise men reached Jerusalem without hesitation they asked "where is the King of Jews?" King Herod must have been shocked for he was the illegitimate incumbent. He feared that this child king would be His downfall.
The wise men also knew of Jesus not only as the King, but also as prophet and the messiah. Gold was tribute given to a King. Frankincense was used by prophets when they offered prayers to God, thus the Wise Men acknowledged a Prophet in Bethlehem. Myrrh was a burial spice and Christ’s role a Priest was to offer himself once as the sacrifice for all. Hence, they came prepared with the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What gifts do we bring to Jesus this Christmas? It is not what we have done for Him. The gifts He desired are that we acknowledged Him in our lives as who He is, our Lord and Savior.
The wise men traveled 1000 km from Persia to seek the Light whilst the Jewish Priests and religious leaders did not even bother to travel 10 km from Jerusalem. That was 2,000 years ago and yet today many still do not see the light. Concerning homosexuality and the bible, you have the 'best' preachers in Singapore coming against Gays not interpreting the scriptures with wisdom but with an inherent prejudice. It would take Bishop Solomon less than 10 km walk to visit FCC. Yet, he did not bother, to find out more before condemning FCC in his article in their Church Magazine. Truly God has hardened his heart that he came strongly against Gays not realizing that he is ushering in God’s exaltation of the gay minority.
The Christian Right claim that Gays are seeking for special rights. However, they are after their basic rights of existence and to be allowed to love and get married just like any straight couple. To deny would be an affront to justice and to all that Christ stood for. But God will not only give Gays their rights due to them, but will compensate them and perhaps over compensate them. He will exalt Gays and give them a special place within the community. God is a good God. On this Christmas day, Christ will give Gays a gift of liberty and honor.
We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome by the Blood of the Lamb
We shall overcome some day.