Following the very clear vote in favour of equal marriage in Ireland, the Archbishop of Dublin has spoken of a social revolution and of a Church becoming disconnected with the people. Watching the celebrations in Ireland, it begs the question, when will the Church of England embrace the revolution?
The saddest part of the present Church of England position is that it makes God look ungenerous. God’s generous love and desire to see each of us live life in all its fullness appears compromised. Some may speak of defending Scripture and Tradition, but what is heard is judgement and exclusion. By withholding blessing from two people committed to loving one another, the God the Church seeks to proclaim appears less than generous. By failing to embrace the revolution, the Church of England risks distorting the image of God.
And as a further consequence, the debate remains about the nature of marriage, rather than the more important task of supporting those in marriage and being alongside those facing the breakdown of their marriage. What should be concerning us should not be the gender of the couple but the quality of their relationship. The same Church which proudly helps couples celebrate their wedding, should be the ideal people to provide support and guidance in the journey beyond the big day. The Church should be known as “the relationship People”, the ones you would automatically think of being there to support you. Instead when their relationship is struggling, couples fear they will be met with judgement and not understanding. So instead they turn to Relate, who now carry the title “the relationship people”. Here at least they know they will find acceptance, understanding and the help they need.
For the Church to see two people genuinely in love, and committed to a life long exclusive relationship, and to refuse the sacrament of marriage misrepresents God. God joined the revolution a long time ago, the question is when will the Church of England finally catch up?