Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (ESV)
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I'll Preach About It
Tuesday of Pentecost 7
14 July 2015
Recently, the Supreme Court majority has ruled that marriage must also be between two men and two women (Obergefell), rejecting millennia of practice across many cultures without any specific warrant in the words of the U.S. Constitution.
What do we Christians say about this? First, what does the Bible say? Jesus says, "A man shall leave his Father and mother and be united to His wife" (Mt 19:5). Marriage is a blessed gift from God that is created by Him and given to our first parents, Adam and Eve, in paradise (as the wedding service says). They were commanded to carry out their vocation as married people to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gn 1:28). Child bearing is normally a constituent part of holy marriage.
Second, a five person majority cannot wipe out the truth of God's Word and can't force us to believe that God has been wrong about marriage all along. There is still a first amendment to our U.S. Constitution, which guarantees to us the free exercise of religion.
Why couldn't I speak freely about the difference of a marriage of man and woman with its gift of pro-creation and the nurturing context in which children can be raised to fear, love and trust in God above all things and love, honor, and cherish parents as a good, co-creative gift of God? Marriage is such a great blessing! Of course I'll preach about it!
"In the fifth chapter of Timothy [Paul] mentions 'older women and younger women in all ἁγνεία, that is, purity' (1Ti 5:2). This is properly marital purity, that you abstain from lascivious words, gestures, and actions toward other men in the presence of people and especially of your own family. Marital purity is very highly spoken of in Scripture, as, for example, in Heb 13:4.
"Marriage has a great blessing also in the matter of chastity, for he who has the gift of marriage does not go insane with lust. Those who are devoted to their own wives do not lust for others. In those who are worthy of the blessing with which God blesses marriage, the madness of lust is extinguished. That is, they are content with their marriage and have the blessing of marriage, so that they do not grow tired of their own spouses and lose their desire for them."
Martin Luther, Lectures on Titus, 2.3
Lord God, heavenly Father, You instituted holy matrimony, blessed and honored it with the presence of Your Son at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, and continue to protect and preserve it. We thank You for the fatherly love and grace which You have bestowed upon all who are married. You have accompanied them with loving-kindness and tender mercy, visited them with Your comfort, strengthened them in sorrow and sickness, and crowned their life with every blessing. You have enabled them to walk in marital love and fidelity, holding them to each other in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, and granting them strength, patience, and faithfulness. Be their health, strength, refuge, and life. When the days of their earthly pilgrimage have ceased, graciously bring them to the marriage supper of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that they may dwell with You and all Your faithful and rejoice in Your joy forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For those who are fearful because of the Supreme Court decision redefining marriage, that they would be emboldened to speak in favor of God's gift of holy marriage between one man and one woman
For the youth and counselors of Memorial Lutheran Church as they travel to Las Vegas for a Higher Things Conference, that they would be kept safe in their travels and grow in their faith
For Morgan Jones who is gravely ill with cancer, that she would be strengthened with the promise of life and salvation from a gracious God
For Janice Tackett as she recovers from knee surgery, that the Lord would grant her health and strength
Art: Dürer, Albrecht The Adoration of the Trinity (1515)
© Scott R. Murray, 2015