One of the most important roles that the church plays in life is to help point people toward the mystery of God’s presence in our lives. We Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) folk focus on two avenues for such presence: the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, and the practice of baptism for believers. A long time ago, before there was a Christian Church (DOC), the churches of the Protestant Reformation, in their move away from the Catholic Church, thought it wise to remove several sacraments (defined in the Book of Common Prayer as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”) from the official list of sacraments in the Church. Unfortunately, the sacrament of marriage was one of these removed sacraments. Only the Lord’s Supper and baptism made the final cut.
I say it is unfortunate that marriage was removed as a sacrament, because my life as a married person has been a constant experience of lived grace. I have learned much about forgiveness as a married person (Usually it is about my wife forgiving me, but on occasion it is about me forgiving my wife). Words like “new creation” and “transformation” ring hollow unless I consider how these words have taken place in the context of my marriage. I need the church to help me process my life as a married person, and to help encourage me along this way.
Two of the most confusing (and bad math) expressions of the Christian faith are these: the Trinity (God as one, and God as three) and the notion of two becoming one flesh. It takes a lifetime to figure out both of these. I need the Church to help me make sense of that.
Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?