a strange and perfect time

It’s a strange time to be engaged, I’m thinking.

Popcorn

photo thanks to Janet Crouch Photography

The highest court in the land just declared same-sex marriage constitutional, attempting to redefine an institution older than original sin.

Set our meager few hundreds of years of national existence against the dawn of time and ask if our interpretations of our founding fathers really have any weight beside decrees established by the Creator of the universe. We might determine that Thomas Jefferson did not believe gravity existed, but that would not cause us to immediately float from the surface of our earth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that same-sex couples do and will marry — and also that they do and will love one another. But I am convinced that, in spite of five Supreme Court justices’ lofty opinions, those marriages are fundamentally different things than the one on which I will embark with my fiancé this fall.

I’m not actually here to argue about the ins and outs of that, however, just to think about its implications for one man and one woman who plan to marry soon.

There’s a part of me that, seeing marriage redefined and turned inside upon itself like this, simply wants to throw it off completely. They’ve ruined it, I’m tempted to say, and I’ll have nothing to do with it. 

I suppose similar thoughts may have motivated the early church’s flight to celibacy long ago: seeing the constant abuses of good things can make us lose sight of their goodness and abandon them completely. Follow that line of reasoning too far, however, and it becomes logical to drink poison-laced cool-aid in a jungle commune somewhere — life itself, after all, is mightily abused.

But no. Though Christ calls us to die daily, He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. He didn’t lead His disciples out to hide from the corruption of their world, but led them headlong into the midst of the mess, laying His sinless hands on the rotting flesh of lepers, weeping outside of a stinking tomb, submitting to the revolting brutality of scourging and a cross. (And the stone was rolled away; the grave clothes left empty; Thomas put his hands into the wounds on the risen Lord.)

And so He calls us to live in the midst of kingdoms to which we do not belong, elect exiles, strangers, aliens, ambassadors of the Kingdom which is not of this world. We marry because God made marriage, and we love because He loved us first, and by His grace we make visible a glimpse of that great mystery, Christ and His church.

We don’t show the mystery by ceasing to marry, but by marrying. So that, even in this strange time, I wear my ring with joy, and plan a wedding celebration, and thank the Lord that He created them male and female and declared that the two should become one flesh.

It’s a perfect time to be engaged, I’m thinking.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

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