A new day has dawned. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. It’s no surprise. We all saw this coming. The momentum for the proponents of same-sex marriage has been building over the last several years as state by state has fallen on this issue, mostly through legislation from the bench. The judges have ruled, and “Everyone can now do what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Now what? While same-sex marriage may now be the law of the land, it doesn’t change God’s Word on the matter. God’s truth is still God’s truth, and we are bound to obey God and His Word rather than men (Acts 5:29).
What does this mean for us on campus? We remain faithful. We confess the truth of God’s Word. We love our neighbors, just as we have done before. Yes, the times are changing, but this should be of no surprise. While we don’t yet know all of the potential impacts of this ruling on our life together, and they will be significant, we know this: Our life together is still bound in Christ.
It is truly a struggle to remain faithful and be Lutheran on today’s college campus. I don’t need to tell you that. You also know that the level of persecution and discrimination that Christians are facing on secular campuses has been on the rise. I fear that will only increase, especially as we head back to school this fall.
We broke new ground by tackling many of the issues that you face at this unique time in your lives at the TABOO National Campus Ministry Conference this past January. We will continue to tackle these issues together, and we will confess together all that God has to say about the holy estate of matrimony, in season and perhaps now out of season.
Yes, the challenges ahead are great. But so are the opportunities! At TABOO, we had the chance to send hot cocoa to some who disagreed with our confession of faith. Some of our campus workers dialogued with them, and a negative was turned into a positive. What a joy! Many more such opportunities are ahead for all of us.
No, we can’t sugarcoat this. Some dark days are ahead too. But “let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). God has a habit of working great things out of dark moments. The same God who sent His son to suffer, die and rise from the grave for you has not changed and neither have His promises to you, no matter what you face. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b).
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to do the following:
1. If you haven’t done so, read President Harrison’s blog post in advance of this ruling.
2. Continue to learn and grow in your own understanding of God’s holy estate of marriage. There is a great collection of resources on the topic that can be found on LCMS.org.
3. The best witness to God’s gift of marriage is still God’s gift of marriage. Take this vocation seriously. Pray. Do all you can to seek a godly spouse. “This mystery [marriage] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32).
4. Go to church, hear God’s Word and receive Christ’s body and blood. Be in God’s Word. Learn, grow and mutually encourage one another. These things, of course, are always a good thing. But we need to remain together as the body of Christ as much as ever!
5. Get connected and stay connected with LCMS U. Also, check out The Student Union, our new weekly 30-minute radio program starting at the end of July.
You are baptized children of God. Though the whole world may hate you, though your friends disagree with your faith, though your professors challenge your beliefs, you are not the walking dead. No, you are those who walk wet in the name of Christ, who marked you as His own in Baptism.
You are His. God is with you on campus and beyond. He is faithful.
Fraternally in Christ,
Rev. Marcus Zill
Director, Campus Ministry and LCMS U
In regards to today’s Supreme Court ruling what would happen if a gay couple walks into a church and wants to get married there or wants the pastor to marry them at another location? What impact will this have on religion as a whole? I’m so confused praying for some understanding!
Our Lutheran congregation drafted a marriage policy some time ago in anticipation of this Supreme Court decision. Congregations have the right to conduct marriage ceremonies exclusive of the scenario you are talking about. But it’s best that they have something approved on paper if they are challenged on the matter.
Thank you, Reverend Zill, for your reassuring words – and for the reminder that we are God’s children! I especially was moved by the comment that we are not the walking dead, but we are those who walk wet in the name of Christ, who marked us as His own in Baptism.
This is the best approach to the issue.
We are all sinners, and we are all saved in Christ. It is a reminder not to get hung up pretending that we Christians are not without sin – but acknowledge it daily and ask forgiveness.
There have been periods in the past where homosexuality and “freedom” of choice in this regard was rampant (eg Rome, Greece, etc.) as it is today, so this is not an entirely new animal. What makes it new is allowing it to have the word “marriage” and the various secular rights associated with the word “marriage”.
However, we must not accept a secular definition of God’s plan.
It may come down to the same way we attempt to differentiate ourselves in Holy Communion as Lutherans. The name “Communion” is widely used in various churches throughout the world – but the meaning is different for the Lutheran church based on the oaths we take and the meaning understood and associated with it. In the same way we can distinguish marriage as God’s intended plan by continuing to uphold it’s long standing definition by God in the Lutheran Church.
We must never forget that it was God whom defined the Union of marriage. Man can not and must not try to change that union and in so doing, defile His word. Who are we to think that we know better then God as to what marriage should be?
There are many Pastors serving in churches that will unite gays. Also many lay men and woman that are certified to officiate in uniting couples legally. Pastors have been guiding couples for for decades on the traditional Bible based marriage ceremony. I don’t expect that will change.
I think the Christian religion will grow stronger because of the recent ruling. We are alive and well, and working hard 🙂
God’s Blessings to you, and keep praying! 🙂