No more marriage

‘Till death us do part’ – we are well aware of those words in the marriage covenant… and wonderful when they are fulfilled (way beyond the bounds of this post, but I believe in (shorthand about to follow) ‘difficult’ marriage and ‘easy’ divorce – the opposite to the practice of much of what seems to be advocated… My point is for the sake of this post, big grace on anyone who has found themselves at the point where the above clause of ’till death us do part’ was not fulfilled).

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven (Matt. 22:30). 

No more marriage! There are two elements where God is certainly not like us – no death and no sex. And in the age to come those two elements cease to be part of human expression – both giving way to something far greater. The age to come is not about loss, but about everything good finding a deeper and eternal (and I suggest growing) level. Marriage – intimacy, covenant faithfulness will be our experience with everyone who is in Christ. There might be specific people with whom that is deeper than with others, for there is continuity with this age, but covenant faithfulness will be there with everyone.

The breaking of bread is a sign that in Christ we are in covenant with all – we do good to all, especially those of the household of faith… but as far as expressing covenant and seeking to live that out faithfully it is between two – married – people. I think to express it beyond that is to enter into territory that is at best challenging and at worst inviting significant issues. David and Jonathan are quoted as a ‘non-marital’ relationship. And the outcome / fruit?

David seemed to have issues at being committed to one person. He had 8 wives and into the mix we have adultery (and in modern parlance it would be deemed abuse due to the power differential); his son, Absalom, slept with David’s concubines (so we have 8 wives plus concubines); Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines… Did the love expressed between the two that was greater than the love of a man for a woman cause him commitment issues?

I have to act in a way that is faithful to one and all so that what I reflect is that ‘I see no one according to the flesh’, in that sense I act in a way that points to the covenant, but to ‘make a covenant’ with someone is to enter into solemn territory (something that at one stage and in some New Church expressions was semi-encouraged) and is to go where angels fear to tread! Till death us do part… Hence I think, in this age, there is a covenant between two people (marriage) that points forward to the covenant that we will all enter into and benefit from, one that death will not end. A level of intimacy, honesty, being known and where fully reciprocated pure love flows. Marriage ends. Covenant beyond any experience of marriage continues.

The challenge of the covenant meal is to pull us back to a place of forgiveness, a place of adjusting any attitude to one another. It is not an eternal state, but a regular check up. We need that. If we don’t all kinds of problems are released – and not simply for us, but for others. We proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes.

A non-apology?

I recently posted on the pope’s apology to native Americans in a Canadian context. Experience shows that such an apology is part of a chain of events, there being responses that precede and further, deeper apologies that will flow subsequently. Today I read a response from a native American (Lori Campbell) who called the apology a ‘non-apology’. Wow and does she make some points… oh yes.

Here is the link to her article: https://www.yesmagazine.org/opinion/2022/08/05/pope-apology-indigenous-canadians-catholic-church

I still maintain that the pope’s apology is significant, it is part of a chain, but the article highlights major shortfalls, and I think a comment such as:

Money flows where priorities go, and the Catholic Church clearly prioritizes renovations over reconciliation.

opens up the difficulties all institutions have. Survival is the name of the game for institutions. Having life taken from someone / (maybe I also thnnk from something?) is named as a sin, and Jesus did not allow that to happen to him… but the day came when he lay donw his life. Nature, with diverse plants growing together, the end of one set in its right season provides life to the plant growing next to it; maybe during the life cycle it also provided shade. Diversity co-habiting space… but not one of dominance and survival at the cost to others.

Yes I remain positive about the apology… but sobered at the journey we have to make. I wonder will we ever make it back to a major root apology – an apology to the planet / creation? And apparently Lori would suggest that money, apology and reconciliation have to journey together.

Just a few thoughts

We have a lot going on, not least of which is seeking to avoid too much sun, for at 34+° each day with a heat wave to come (so what was the last 10 days?)… anyway as an outside observer to the UK here are a few thoughts.

Churchill has reluctantly gone, and might try to re-appear (Boris as ‘Churchill’); we are about to get a reincarnation of a former Prime Minister, the one ‘who was not for turning’. (I have been convinced for some time that the next was going to be a woman.) The England football team have won the Euros with the help of a certain Dutch woman: Sarina Wiegman. As one smart person responded to the suggestion that she become the next English men’s coach – why would she want to do that and take a step down? (And on the game, apologies to our European German family – I think that was a hand ball not given…) But my comments this day are not about football so moving on.

I am thankfully not a politician and of course it is very easy to criticise from an armchair, so my comments are not personal to those involved, simply noting that they seem to act as signs. So much hope / hype from certain Christians about Churchill back in the person of Boris; and I am sure that our next will act (hopefully a little tempered) Maggie-esque. Male commentators will come along saying ‘I have always supported the women’s game’, thus getting in on the act…

It all illustrates the issue we are currently seeing in many places, the battle for true humanity, with a true balancing of the masculine and feminine; without it toxic-masculinity and also toxic-femininity manifest.

I have a chapter in one of the books I wrote about the ‘new creation’ being feminine. Or at least I went on to qualify that statement that it will appear ‘feminine’ as it is in contrast to the patriarchial one that is around us (a fallen creation). One of the Scriptures that I hold as central is the transformation that takes place for those who are in Christ:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Cor. 5:16,17).

A new creation is our context, and that affects sight. Old categories prove inadequate, with ‘a human point of view’ falling away. Indeed Paul uses stronger language – has passed away… everything becoming new.

Looking in from the outside there are signs in the UK around the masculine / feminine. Paul looking in on that one-world-government anti-Christ system challenged them – and challenges us – with regard to our sight.

Sometimes something (someone) inadequate holds space, but there has to come a time when that space is filled. Perhaps the creaks and groans will give way to substance. It is a time (when was it not?) for imagination, for a way of seeing that registers a new reality though it remains invisible if one holds to a human point of view. Imagined, responded to with repositioning, so that it truly rises.

‘From now on…’ That is a time reference if ever there was one.

Perspectives