Faith Daily | 13 August 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p570
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech you,
the spirit to think and do always such things as are right,
that we, who cannot do anything that is good without you,
may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 19: 3-12
3Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” 8He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” 10His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: : Alison Dorman
For several years during the 1990’s, I was a relationship educator with the Anglican agency Kinections. I facilitated groups, individual, and couples as they approached a commitment to marriage or re-affirmed their commitment.
I recall that all couples at that stage of their relationship fully hoped and prayed that their marriage would last and indeed believed that it would. They took their vows seriously in this hope. I am sure that many of those marriages didn’t last regardless of that hope and commitment. I do like to think that the Christian or spiritual input that was included offered a deeper dimension to the relationship.
Others decided not to marry as a result of the awareness of themselves and/or their partner they gained from talking to each other in that guided discussion.
Does that mean we failed in delivering these programs, because some couples found it less than life-giving to stay together for the rest of their lives? I don’t believe it is that simple, or that what Jesus said in the passage today about marriage and divorce contradicts the need for some couples to separate.
The cultural setting of those times is very different to the present time. Women had no say in their relationships and many women (& men) would have suffered needlessly because of the harsh laws of the time.
We all have experience in our own families (including us) of marriages and families that have faced painful relationship breakdown for many reasons. Relationships are hard work and Jesus recognised that too.
I believe that Jesus looks at us all with compassion and desires for us a “Peace that passes all understanding”. For relationships to thrive, it involves a full giving of self to each other in love. ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ is a high ideal worth aiming for.
Many of us need to realise that to love another, first I have to learn to love God (and allow God to love me) and to love myself fully.
Maybe that is our greatest challenge!!!
FINAL PRAYER: – A Blessing from The Pattern of our Days – Iona Community
[adapted by Rev’d Sandra]
The love of the faithful Creator
The peace of the wounded Healer
The joy of the challenging Spirit
The hope of the Three in One
surround and encourage you today, and
forever, in Jesus name. Amen.