Friday, July 2, 2010
Notes to the Lord:The Sacred in the Middle of the Mundane
Scripture Reflection:Matthew 19
It is interesting to me that greatness, marriage and forgiveness in the Kingdom all flow in the same time period and context of thought as you were making your way to Jerusalem the last time.
1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
Lord Jesus--Divorce and marriage are topics that occurred frequently in your teachings. Here the Pharisees question...test, needle you about your stance. I wonder what their relationships were like? Had they gone through the dislocation and heartache of a lost relationship ? Or was this an academic exercise? Was it a head game or did they really know from the inside out the hurt?
Interesting how they worded it, is it lawful. They didn’t ask about how to deal with the hurt or the anger, the loneliness, the loss, or the children. They just wanted to know if it was lawful. “Can I get away with it and still be a good Jewish boy?” ...seems to be the subtext on their minds.
4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Lord Jesus--You spoke of marriage as a divine activity in our lives. This relationship is a linkage that God is engaged with. Marriage is not the product of chance or luck, but God directed action. It is interesting that these men brought to you a question about divorce and you spoke to them of the meaning, the value placed by God on marriage. You speak of marriage and the forming of something new from two separate people. One is a unity...a completion...something that if it is divided no longer exists...there is a death, an ending of a God engaged entity. Thank you for the marriage that I have...for the enduring relationship....for the unity established by your work. It is a place where flesh and blood and grace connect...not always pretty but always real.
7"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" 8Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
Hard hearts are what lead to the ending of relationships...Moses knew it and you reaffirmed it here, Lord Jesus. The only reason that God sees for the ending of a marriage is unfaithfulness to the marriage relationship. But sometimes hard hearts hurt a lot...and it doesn't seem like there is any relief in sight. You came to help the hardhearted...you can to do heart surgery.
10The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
This is an interesting response for the 12. I wonder how many of them may have been divorced. I have never really thought about it from that angle before. Puts a different spin on my view of the apostles. Did they struggle with this issue personally? A lot can be inferred from this little interchange. The disciples saw this as such a decisive issue that being single was seen as a better option. Interesting...
So where does that leave the upfront and personal? Ok...I know, that You are actively engaged in the establishing and maintaining of marriage. I really don't have to worry too much about what the Supreme Court says, or what is legislated. Marriage will endure.
Beyond that... My marriage matters to you...I need to remember that there is the sacred in the middle of laundry, dishes, housework and homework. My responses when tired, frustrated and fumbling toward your will are of eternal value. The sacred lives and abides right in the middle of the mundane. Amazing.
Lord Jesus continue you work in my life in this day. Remind me again that relationships matter to you. This life is not an academic exercise but a place where flesh and blood and grace can be revealed right in the middle of the evening meal.