Summary: Keeping ourselves as Christians pure against distractions to God's way
Last Sunday, televised on CBS, was the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Grammy is, just in case you wondered, short for the complete name, gramophone, the invention that first allowed recorded music to be stored and replayed. Each year, executives in the music industry nominate and select recipients for varied genre specific awards; those they feel have been standouts in their area. All in all, the public must be drawn to it, because estimated viewing in the U.S. alone was 28.5 million people.
This year’s program, much like years past, had various artists performing, comedic interludes, and of course, awards were given. Overall perception, at least as social media recounts it, was a stellar evening with wonderful and over-the-top performances.
Lost though, in the media circus that surrounds these types of things, was an incident that is of particular interest, and topically related to all Christians. It would seem, that after seeing a few of the live performances which included a seemingly satanic episode by Katy Perry, and the marriage of 33 gay, straight, and lesbian, couples, Natalie Grant, a Christian artist who had won multiple previous Grammies, and was selected for 2 more at this year’s event, stood up and left without further comment.
Our world today leaves little unturned and so bombarded with questions as to “why” she left, and knowing that eventually social media would create their own answers if given the opportunity, Mrs. Grant offered the following statement:
“We left the Grammy’s early. I’ve many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head, but I'll say this: I've never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I've never been more sure of the path I've chosen.”
Now without taking undue liberty, and having read numerous other comments in conjunction with this incident I offer the following explanation. In short, displeased with the integrity, or lack of, depending on your point of view, of the performances, and convicted to uphold her Christian principles, Mrs. Grant chose to separate herself from activities that in her Christian opinion did not fit in God’s intended lifestyle.
Not to be outdone, mainstream media blasted back against what can only be considered a cordial and proper explanation of why she left, by labeling her a bigot, gay-basher, and prejudiced person. Of course, the band wagon gang joined in, and suddenly, Natalie Grant who has always been the epitome of grace in the music industry, is now seemingly hated and disrespected by many. Ain’t that great?
I however, wish to applaud her, because I can’t think of a better example of God’s calling to remain separated, and yet loving, than that of Mrs. Grant and the events of last Sunday evening. And it is in that context that I give to you today God’s calling as Christian; to realize that we must maintain a separation from non-Christians, however, we must do so in a loving and caring way. Call it if you will, maintaining a vividly separated identity.
Now immediately recognize that what I have just said can be, and often is, misperceived. After all, just a few weeks ago I preached on prejudice, encouraging you to accept and love people of all kinds. I am not reneging on my previous sermon, but rather extending the comprehension of it. Maintaining a separation does not mean assuming a prejudicial stance, but it does mean accepting the fact that they are not us, and we are not them; we are separate, and we are not equal, but we maintain this stance with love.
I’m getting a glossy-eyed look so let’s take a moment to look at our text and maybe that will help. I have to tell you that I challenge myself to preach from every part of the Bible, and sometimes you end up with text like today’s which superficially seems like a call to shun post-birth and menopausal women. Now I know that in both instances hormones can make our lady friends hard to get along with, but by no means should we propitiate the Jewish custom of sending our lovely wives out of our homes and sights for periods of time following these events (Now that would be quite a sermon wouldn’t it?). So there must be something useful and relative that we can decipher from these verses, which if you read the surrounding text, seem to just jump up, out, and then disappear again into unrelated topics.
Well here’s the correlation; remember way back in Genesis (3:16) when God is chastising Adam and Eve for their transgressions? Well, one of the results is that God tells Eve that He will multiply her sorrow in childbirth (make it painful and unpleasant). What He is saying is that man, who forever more will come forth as sinful creature, and he will come from woman, but not without her having to experience pain and discomfort associated with giving life to sin; Women will birth sin. And think about it, if a woman is giving birth to sin (or at least a sinful creature) shouldn’t there be discomfort and pain associated with doing so? And at that moment, the moment of conception of sin, there has to be, according to God’s demand for perfection, a separation; if nothing else, than for a temporary time period. God demands that good be separated from evil; sin from righteousness.