"We have blessed fields when crops were planted, houses when newly occupied, pets in honor of Saint Francis, and even the hounds at a Virginia fox hunt. We have blessed MX missiles called 'Peacemakers' and warships whose sole purpose was to kill and destroy, calling them, in at least one instance, Corpus Christi — the body of Christ. Why would it occur to us to withhold our blessing from a human relationship that produces a more complete person in each of the partners, because of their life together?"
–Bishop John Selby Spong, from: Living In Sin: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality, New York, Harper and Row, 1988, pp. 200-201.
New Testament Scriptures
All Scripture Texts are inclusive in gender language for God and the human community and for social justice and peacemaking images. Based on The Revised Standard Version, National Council of Churches.
In this the Love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent Christ Jesus into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent Christ Jesus to forgive our sin. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts our fears. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We Love, because God first loved us. If anyone says, "I Love God," and hates another person, that person is a liar; for those who do not love other persons whom we know and can see, cannot love God, whom we have not seen. And this commandment we have from God, that those who love God should also love all other persons of this world, those who are our brothers and sisters in the global community.
1st Corinthians 13: 1-13
[Paul teaches the Corinthians that love is the greatest gift.] Translation: An Inclusive-Language Lectionary, Reading for Year C, p. 59, c, 1985 National Council of Churches, USA.
If I speak in human tongues or the tongues of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends: as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child; when I became an adult, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
Put on then, as God's chose ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Sovereign has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Sovereign, Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father and Mother through Christ.
On Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way the disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" And Jesus said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when the needy and hungry, he and those who were with him: how David entered the house of God, when Abiathat was High Priest, and ate the bread of the Prescence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" And Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for humankind, not the humankind for the Sabbath; so the Human One is sovereign even of the Sabbath."
Again, Jesus entered the synagogue, and a person was there who had a withered hand. And they watched to see whether Jesus would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And Jesus said to the one who had the withered hand, "Come here." And Jesus said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. And looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the person, "Stretch out your hand." The one with the withered hand stretched it out, and it was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Jesus, how to destroy him.
The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray. It was about the sixth hour. And Peter became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And their came a voice to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "No, Sovereign One, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice came to Peter again a second time, saying, "What God has cleansed, you must not call common." This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.