6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ St. Mark 10: 6-8

READINGS: Genesis 2:18–25  Psalm 128  Hebrews 2:1–13 (14–18)   Mark 10:2–16

COLLECT OF THE DAY: Merciful Father, Your patience and loving-kindness toward us have no end. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may always think and do those things that are pleasing in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The one flesh of marriage is manifest in the biology of a man and a woman, like two puzzle pieces put together by another as the Lord places together Adam and Eve,  man and woman.  The Lord gives marriage before the fall into sin.  Marriage is God’s gift.  Marriage is the fundamental order of creation, of authority, of the continuing of God’s good creation. Marriage and family have two commandments:  the 4th , “Honor your Father and your Mother”, Family  and the 6th, “You shall not commit adultery”, Marriage.  Marriage is concrete:  The two become one flesh.  As anyone doing jigsaw puzzles knows, you can put together two pieces that don’t fit and if you do, then you can break the pieces. This is what divorce is like and so is “hooking-up”. The maker did not make puzzle pieces to be incorrectly linked together…to say the least. Luther wrote:

“So here all will depend on a sound knowledge and understanding of what this “What God has joined together,” is trying to say.  It does not say, “What joined itself together,” but, “What God has joined together.” The joining together is easily seen, but men refuse to see that it is to be God who does the joining. As soon as a joining together has come about by the parties’ own efforts, they immediately want to hang God’s name over it as a cloak to hide their shame, and say that God did it. 

It was for the harness of the human heart, Moses gave this commandment about divorce, but divorce is not from the beginning, that is from creation:  Jesus goes to the beginning, after all He was there:  it is about marriage, man and woman become one flesh, two yet one, like jigsaw pieces.

The one flesh of marriage is denied in our day, even denigrated and forgotten. Divorce, living together, same-sex marriage, and abortion are the sinful symptoms of the denial and denigration of marriage, exacerbating the cause of that destruction of marriage. Even if ‘same-sex so-called marriage is civil law, St. John Chrysostom preached:   “God will judge you at the last day not by the civil law but by His law”.  While there is life, there is repentance on account of Christ.

    What is the cause of the destruction of marriage?  The reason will seem innocuous. One gay commentator wrote that marriage is, “…primarily a way in which two adults affirm their emotional commitment to one another.” Then it stands to reason the two adults can be any combination of genders.  No matter how you do the jigsaw pieces, only male and female can fit with one another.  Maybe with the availability of relatively easy contraception, marriage is seen more as an emotional commitment and that’s it.  It’s all about how we feel.  “Emotional commitment” as the basis of marriage is the operative cultural definition of marriage and is not limited to one gay commentator. When I watch sitcoms and there is a wedding, invariably the couple writes their own “vows”.   Those are not vows at all, but statements of emotional commitment. The phrase “emotional commitment” is bland and bloodless which has caused, as the Brits would say, bloody bad things. I have an emotional commitment to you and you to me, and to each other in Jesus Christ, but that does not mean we are married.  “Emotional commitment” as the sum and substance of marriage is denial and even destruction of marriage. We know what happens, “once the love has gone”. The primary divine purpose of marriage is the two become one flesh, not one soul or heart, ‘soul-mates’  or other flights of spiritualized sentimentality and cultural rot.   Man and woman become one flesh to have children and for the continuation of life and love.  “(The Lord)  forbade men to marry their  sisters or  daughters, so that our  love  would  not be limited  to members of our families,  and withdrawn from the  rest  of the  human race”(St. John Chrysostom).    

Another saying making the rounds is “love makes a family”, well, no as love is understood as only emotional commitment and warmth. It is not as that warmth can become really cold.  Marriage makes the family, between male and female, as the Lord has created us.  Once “emotional commitment” becomes the sole reason for marriage then divorce becomes simply (supposedly) “no fault”, but if marriage is based upon love, that is, loving feelings, those emotions  will soon fail, marriage is based upon God’s Word, vows, God’s and ours, so that we can learn to love even as we have first been loved.

Intimate of the first reason for marriage is the second, which God in His Word makes clear:  it is not good for the man to be alone. The Lord God gives a helpmate, one for another.  This too is not simply an “emotional commitment”. Once again, man can have an emotional commitment that he or she hates someone so much, they commit to murder.  Emotional commitments by themselves are not necessarily positive, to say the least.  The second reason for marriage is companionship.  The word “companion” has two Latin words: “com” and “panis”.  “Panis” is bread, “com” with, or share.  Husband and wife share bread together, serve one another, subordinate their desires in that service. If blessed with their children.  The home table is sacred. Sharing bread is service which is love which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.

We have been encouraged in our time to talk about sex…a lot.  C.S. Lewis wrote about this endless, almost pornographic dialogue:

They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been hushed up. It has been chattered about all day long. Yet it is still in a mess. If hushing up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right. But it has not. I think it is the other way round. I think the human race originally hushed it up because it had become such a mess. 

Lewis first said this in radio talk in England during World War II.  If we need to see what America has become, Europe was well on the way before us, and we have sadly and terribly caught up. Marriage has become a mess. Moses knew that. God knows that and Jesus, God’s own Son, became flesh.

Again St. Mark show us two paintings, two scenes:    first scene, Jesus teaching marriage between man and woman and the second scene, back in the house in Capernaum, and once again children are present.  The sturdy orthodox Lutheran theologians speak of marriage and family, as in the first scene of today’s Gospel, as the order of creation.  Marriage and family are foundational, government at it’s best is to serve families, not for families to serve the illiberal immorality of the denial of marriage. Marriage and family have two commandments:  the 4th and the 6th. The messing up of marriage has now happened in cyber speed.

Then  in the house, fathers and mothers ask Jesus to bless their children.  The disciples were preventing them. St. Mark reports that Jesus literally snorted with indignation at them.  This Scripture is the one used at every Baptism in the Lutheran Church. When Jesus went back into the house, the movement is from the order of creation to the order of redemption in Jesus Christ.  Going into the house with the Lord it became the House of the Lord, Church. This is the proof text that the Lord baptizes infants, a holy new family, h-o-l-y, but according the Gospel of Christ, there is no adult baptism.  All baptism is baptism of children, of infants,  to be like a child, knowing on our own we make a mess of so much and can, but in Him we are saved and receive like a child all His gifts, as a child does from Mother and Father.  Children are not pure, but they trust. The Pharisees wanted to have an adult theological discussion in order, well, to finally get their way in salvation, find out what is permitted.    See how much one can get away with and then be good to go.  On our own we cannot be good to go. Jesus went all the way as He tasted death for us. He sanctified us and is our brother, and our Lord    Jesus blessing the children finally and fully, met our breakage of the Law at an intersection:  His Cross.  He enfolded into His arms the children that day and blessed them. He still does and has for you. 

Marriage is the Lord’s always new math: 1 + 1 equals 1.    Marriage is God’s gift to Adam and Eve.  Marriage begins the Bible and even as sin entered the world, the Lord did not abandon His gift of marriage to men and women.  The Bible is the history and story of marriage and families from the beginning to Abraham and Sarah  to Joseph and Mary and Christ and His Church and in the new creation when the heavenly Jerusalem descends as His bride. The stories of those families is checkered to say the least.  We can read for ourselves the messes the Patriarchs, Abraham and Jacob say made of their marriages.  The Lord gave His promise through many of those families. by sheer grace, not because of their deeds.   The Lord came, and sought His bride and slipped the pure gold wedding ring of His saving love on our finger, in true faith.  What is Mine is thine and what is Thine is Mine, He said in His eternal vow.

“(In marriage) you  are sacrificing yourself for  someone  to whom you are already joined, but He offered Himself  up for the one who turned her back on Him and  hated  Him” (St. John Chrysostom)

All your brokenness of sin I have taken upon Myself and I give you all that I have:  grace, mercy and peace, the fidelity of love stronger than sin and death.  You divorce Me, but I will not divorce Thee.  How is marriage a mystery?  The two have become one.  This is not an empty symbol.   They have not become the image of anything on earth, but of God Himself. (St.  John Chrysostom)

The gunman, while reloading his handgun, ordered the students to stand up and asked if they were Christians, Boylan told her family.
“And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,'” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying her account.
“And then he shot and killed them.”

As shared on Facebook by Pastor Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of His saints.

Psalm 116: 15

“This is true faith, a living confidence in the goodness of God.”

 Martin Luther

On Marriage

“All heretics have denigrated matrimony and have sought for and begun some newfangled and bizarre way of life.” 

Luther’s Sermon on John 2: 1—11, 1533, Luther’s House Postils, vol. 1


On Marriage

“‘Let the marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled’ (Hebrews 13:4)  Hold fast to that, those of you who are married.  St. Augustine writes in one place concerning married people, that even if one of them is somewhat weak, etc., he should not be afraid of the sudden and infallible Day of the Lord; even if the day of the Lord were to come in the hour when man and wife were having marital intercourse, they should not be afraid of it.  Why is this so?  Because even if the Lord comes in that hour He will find them in the ordinance and station in which they have been placed and installed by God.”

From Luther’s Sermon for the Marriage of Sigismund von Lindenau, 1545, LW 51

Psalm 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

Save Me, O My God

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    there is no salvation for him in God (1).

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill.

I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people!

(1) St. Mark 15:  “So also  the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.”

Link Here

From Jerome’s Letter to Heliodorus:

“The day will come when this corrupt and mortal body shall put on incorruptibility and become immortal. Happy the servant whom the Lord then shall find on the watch. Then at the voice of the trumpet the earth with its peoples shall quake, and you will rejoice. When the Lord comes to give judgment the universe will utter a mournful groan; the tribes of men will beat their breasts; kings once most mighty will shiver with naked flanks; Jupiter with all his offspring will then be shown amid real fires; Plato with his disciples will be revealed as but a fool; Aristotle’s arguments will not help him. Then you the poor rustic will exult, and say with a smile:

“Behold my crucified God, behold the judge. This is he who once was wrapped in swaddling clothes and uttered baby cries in a manger. This is the son of a working man and a woman who served for wages. This is he who, carried in his mother’s arms, fled into Egypt, a God from a man. This is he who was clad in a scarlet robe and crowned with thorns. This is he who was called a magician, a man with a devil, a Samaritan. Behold the hands, ye Jews, that you nailed to the cross. Behold the side, ye Romans, that you pierced. See whether this is the same body that you said the disciples carried off secretly in the night.”

O my brother, that it may be yours to say these words and to be present on that day, what labor now can seem hard?

(From Festivals and Commemorations by Rev.Philip Pfatteicher:  Published 1980 by Augsburg Publishing House)


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