Saturday 24th April – What About Other Forms of relationship?
Exodus 20: 14
You shall not commit adultery.
Relationships are complex, here ends the devotion!
Relationships extend far beyond the traditional concept of a) man and woman b) these two people getting married c) these people then living together. Now, only some, or even none, of these may be true about a relationship. Relationships used to follow a logical sequence of: marriage, then moving in together, then sex (probably not all in the same day). It’s more common for sex to happen before marriage now, or indeed not with a person one intends to marry. Of course, some will disagree with this practice, common does not necessarily equal correct. Regardless of opinion, sex creates an intimacy and vulnerability that should not be overlooked just because it’s happened before marriage, or outside of a committed relationship. Deep levels of trust and communication are required in any case.
On so many different levels, relationships have moved on from their traditional understanding. After all, it was only half a century ago that having homosexual relations was decriminalised in England and Wales, but even then only legal for men the age of over-21 (lesbians were ignored by the law), the age of consent for gay men was only matched with the heterosexual age in 2000. Much more than this has happened, of course, but it just puts into perspective how things have changed.
Our own Statement of Nature, Faith and Order states that the Bible is “alive for his people today through the help of the Spirit.”, today, not yesterday. We continually refresh and renew God’s word in us, interpreting what it means for us today.
Is there a definitive answer to these questions? Perhaps not. Each of us may hold, with conviction, our own opinions. But it’s important that we allow others to thrive in our own ways, love in the way we choose to love, and allow God to evolve our lives.
God of all, Who puts a loving hand on each one of us. Give us courage to live our lives as you would wish. Modelled on the life of your son, Jesus. Give us patience and respect. Love and kindness to one another. Send your Holy Spirit, to guide our thinking and inspire our actions So that we may become more Christ-like Day by day. Amen
Dan Morrell, Media for Ministry Consultant and Children’s and Youth Outreach Worker, Emmanuel Church Waterthorpe, Sheffield.