August 20, 2013

Christian Marriage is a Sacrament

A sacrament s defined as an outward visible sign of an inner spiritual grace. This is where the physical dimension interacts with the spiritual dimension. Since our culture has lost its sense of the spiritual dimension it is important that we review how this works. The most common sacrament is Baptism, where we use the outward physical sign of washing with water to represent the inner spiritual grace of cleansing through faith in the shed blood of Jesus - and the outward giving of a Christian name to represent the inclusion of the person in the spiritual kingdom of God. The Eucharist or Holy Communion is another sacrament where we renew our membership in the Spiritual kingdom by saying “amen” to the prayers over the bread and wine that represent the body and blood of Jesus.

 In Christian Marriage we use the outward visible signs of promises, exchanging rings and wrapping with a priest’s stole to represent the spiritual union of two people in the Body of Christ. We talk about hearts being joined together but it is actually deeper. Christian Marriage is about souls being joined together for eternity.

1. Tara and Jim are joined together by their love for each other
Love is a vague word that can have many meanings in English. In Greek there are five words for the different kinds of love we include in one word.
·         Paul is talking about “agape” or self-sacrificial love in the Reading
·         This is a step beyond the “extending oneself for the other” as definition of M Scott Peck in The Road Less Travelled
·         Jesus gave us the extreme example of  self-sacrificial love by giving up his life for the sins of others on the Cross
·         Some men do give up their lives for their wives
·         Taking out the trash, washing the floors and doing the dishes is a more common example of self-sacrificial love
·         In a marriage you are connected emotionally and spiritually
·         Emotional and spiritual self-sacrifice is actually harder
·         Each of you will have opportunities to share, absorb and heal the pain of the other – this is real self-sacrificial love
·         The questions, promises and vows help us define this love
2. Love means to give each other comfort when this is needed
·         Life in a family is physically and emotionally stressful
·         God has deliberately created us to be imperfect and fragile
·         Some people get angry about this, spend their energy on criticism and end up being very unhappy – this is the opposite of self-sacrificial love
·         Imperfection and weakness is actually a challenge to comfort someone with words of kindness and encouragement
·         Love “is patient, kind...trusts and hopes...”

3. Love honours and protects
·         We are all insecure and afraid at some level
·         Women in general do not know that the thing men need most is not sex but to be honoured and respected
·         Men in general do not know that the thing women need most is to feel protected emotionally and physically
·         We began this service with a ceremonial handing over of responsibility for Tara’s emotional protection to Jim
·         Men have no idea that women have a second communication channel that checks for emotional support every 2 minutes
·         Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes

The challenge is to be faithful in all circumstances
·         As you know things go wrong in life – sickness, job losses, accidents and misunderstandings can challenge us every day
·         Many people mistake this for proof that there is no God
·         The truth is that God has placed us in a test environment
·         Life is a very serious test of our love of God and each other
·        The good news is that Marriage is a sacrament where the Holy Spirit works with two people to enrich each other’s lives and care for each other in difficult times
·         Love never fails

No comments:

Post a Comment