As the leadership of the Episcopal Church meets in New Orleans to confront dissension over the role of gays in religious life, the church's first openly gay bishop gave a sermon at a liberal church on Canal Street focused on the inclusiveness of divine love.
Although Robinson occupies the center of the controversy, he did not use the sermon he gave at Grace Episcopal Church on Sunday to advocate for the rights of gay ministers. The sermon, rooted in the Gospel of Luke, nonetheless conveyed his view that the church should embrace outsiders who live "on the edges of acceptable society."
If all scripture were lost save for one story, Robinson said, he would preserve the parable of the prodigal son: a young man who left home, squandered his inheritance and crawled back to his father in shame. His older brother lived a sober life and grew resentful when the father welcomed the wayward son home.
Robinson said the older brother did not understand that "the father's love is big and expansive enough for everyone, for both the good and the bad sons."
His sermon turned on two points: The church should offer a haven for sinners and outsiders who want to repent, and it should be a place where the faithful can come to renew and recharge their commitment to seeing justice done in the world.
"You and I are called to take a risk, trusting in God who loves us beyond all our imagination," Robinson said.
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