The Anglican Lectionary reading for this Sunday is from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 10 v 2 - 16). It is a reading which raises the subjects of marriage and divorce. Two thousand years ago, when Jesus was on his preaching tour in Israel, divorce was very controversial and many religious leaders debated the subject holding differing views. Today divorce remains controversial and a difficult subject to talk about because it is so emotive and painful for many people. I know that some Anglican clergy will avoid preaching from Mark’s Gospel reading completely. They will instead opt for an alternative offered to us in the NZ Anglican Lectionary for October 3rd: ‘Feast of Dedication or Consecration (Gospel reading John 10 v 22 - 29). I personally feel that the reading from Mark’s Gospel is really helpful. It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on and affirm God’s amazing gift of marriage. This year Sarah and I celebrated 30 years of marriage on the day that we went into lockdown (now into a 6 week second honeymoon:)!! Over the years I have learnt, mainly from other people, that strong Godly marriages are built on four foundations:
RESPECT Love is built on the foundation of mutual respect. Ephesians 5:33 ’So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband.’
RESPONSIBILITY Be more interested in fixing the problem than fixing the blame. Philippians 2:4-5 ‘Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.’
ROMANCE An entire book in the Bible called the Song of Solomon is a manual on romantic love. Make time for date nights, movies, candle lit meals, laughter, fun and walks on the beach.
REINFORCE This word means to 'strengthen with an added peace'. Philippians 2:13 ‘For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.’ The more we love Jesus the better we will be able to love each other.