Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel passage this week reminds me of many of the encounters I have with people fairly regularly. A person will approach me wanting to ask a theological question. It’s difficult to deal with. After all, it might just be a legitimate question. Sometimes we don’t know until the conversation has continued for several steps.
So what about divorce? What did Moses say? And why? Let’s hit the “why” first. In the other cultures surrounding Israel, marriage was sometimes a brutal affair. If a man and woman married, it was not necessarily an exclusive arrangement. There was no guarantee that a husband would not take other wives, send away a displeasing wife, or even sell her or have her killed. The Mosaic command called for some element of fair treatment. There was documentation and the result was a divorce rather than enslavement or execution.
But with Moses’ affirmation of divorce, Jesus confirms the permission was because people have sinful hearts. Several Christian counselors whom I respect greatly have given the opinion that any marital conflict between two Christians who are repentant can be healed. Then again, that is if both wish to live as Christians, both recognize their sin, and both wish for reconciliation. If any element is missing, it is possible the marriage will be pulled apart.
The Christian view of marriage, then, as Jesus quotes from Genesis 2, is that it is entered into by a man and woman, that a new family is created, and the couple is unified in marriage. That’s the way God made it to work from the start. Except for the hardness of our hearts, that’s the way it still works.
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