|Vie de Jesus Mafa|
I Never Liked to Preach This Text
I never liked to preach this text,
What with divorcees in the fold,
Perhaps cast out by their home church,
Who marriage two would not extol;
They came for grace, not for a word
Of judgment on what had to be;
What's past, is past, we said; and who
Were we to judge such returnees?
There was a time when our church, too,
Frowned on divorce as that day's sin,
Espec'ally for the clergy, who
Were barred from pastoring church, therein.
What changed? The word of God? Or what
Our Lord said plainly to those men?
(I use that word deliberately,
Since they were wondering for their ken.)
Can we divorce, like Moses said,
- they asked to set him up - or not?
To which he noted such a rule
Protected women from their lot;
Then his disciples wanted more
In terms of what was wrong and right;
I now believe his twinkled eye
Caused them their wagging tongues to bite.
For though he says adultery
Comes when divorced man marries wife,
He said it's true the other way,
Which must have caused a lot of strife.
What woman could divorce a man?
That such a thing could never be
Thus prompted them to turn away
From rules so they might better see -
The children! - so they'd reassess
the nature of their need for law;
Except ye be as one of these,
You'll lose capacity for awe!
Try not to say who can or can't
Find love anew (or in some form
back then unknown), so you'll be blessed,
And each day's joy will be your norm.
Scott L. Barton
Speaking of preaching this text, the Rev. Sarah Buteux preached an absolutely wonderful one, "Outside the Box," at First Churches, Northampton, on October 4 in which she addressed marriage, the Pope, Kim Davis, and the thing we all need, and need to hear, the gospel. You can find it here: http://firstchurches.org/outside-the-box-a-sermon-by-rev-sarah-buteux/
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.