Dear Fellow Children of God,
The summer of 2012 has been a season of weddings at St. John. This Saturday, July 21, I am presiding at the marriage of a young couple from St. John. But this is only one of five weddings at St. John this summer. In addition, I have helped 3 couples prepare for weddings which are being conducted in other locations or by other people. With all the work and planning that goes into most weddings that is a lot of time spent thinking about marriage, and thinking about God’s part in marriage.
You can probably imagine that preparing for weddings is one of the more joyful tasks in which a pastor gets to engage. There is talk of the future, and discussion of faith and love. But, I’m sure most of you know the reality of marriage these days. Depending on whose statistics one uses, only about half of the marriages in the United States actually make it. And, many today do not even choose to get married.
In some ways we should not be surprised at these statistics. People may love one another at 25. But, when a couple marries they are promising to love that person at 35, and 45, and 75! The person we marry at 25 is not the same person when that person turns 45. So marriage takes commitment, and marriage takes work, and marriage takes help.
Next month Kathy and I will have been married for 35 years. This past Friday night we were talking about things we had just learned about each other. Just this summer I learned about my wife’s plan and preference for flower gardens (“The Clump Theory”), something which I had never known before. The point is that there an unknown future when a couple commits to marriage. That is why Christians need commitment and help to make their marriages work.
The Bible verse that speaks most plainly to me about God’s plans for Christian people in marriage is found in Ephesians 5:21-33. Verses 31-33 say, 31 "’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ 32 This is a profound mystery-- but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Some of the things God tells us in this verse are:
· Marriage between one man and one woman is God’s plan from the beginning of time. Verse 31 is actually a quote from Genesis 2. Marriage isn’t our idea. Marriage is God’s plan for how life works best for His children.
· Marriage teaches us of God’s relationship with the church. Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is His bride. There is a unique intimate relationship between God and His people and marriage teaches us about that relationship.
· God is there to help us in our marriages. In God’s plan for marriage 3 people are involved;. the husband, the wife, and Jesus. Jesus is there to help us love and forgive and endure with one another.
· Christians and God’s church are called to honor and support marriage because it is God’s plan.
It is a joy to help a young couple get started with God’s help on the adventure of life that is marriage. When marriage lasts it is one of the greatest earthly blessings God can give. But, we all need God’s help. Please pray for these new marriages. Please pray for all families. God’s love and direction do make a difference.
A Child of God, Praying for Christian Families,
P.S. Here is a picture of Kathy and myself on our wedding day. Who is that guy standing with Kathy, and what is that look in his eye? https://picasaweb.google.com/jonrock53/JonathanAndKathySWeddingDayAugust201977?authuser=0&feat=directlink
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.