Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Celebration of Marriage

"The marriage of two people is a holy union. It begins with your desire to
form a lasting, life-long partnership with another in God’s love, and
continues throughout your lives as a process of intentional living and
growing together. In a marriage, each of you as an individual, and together
as a couple, gradually transform and mature in God’s presence and image.



A wedding, then, is a rite of passage, a sacred ritual that celebrates your
desire to enter into a life-long relationship. It symbolizes the ending of
former ways of life and other future possibilities, and establishes a particular
pathway into the future – one that you promise to travel together.



By uniting within the context of a faith community, you recognize that God
is active in the love you feel for one another, and you place your relationship
in God’s care. Your individual stories – and your story as a couple – are
celebrated in the context of the story of God and God’s ways with the
human community, as understood within a particular community of faith.



In a Christian marriage, your personal stories are seen in the light of God’s
action in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s unfolding
pattern in our lives is one of dying to self and rising to Christ, of
transformation, and of self-offering. A Christian relationship is the living
out of a self-giving way of being in community with one another, in the
larger context of the Christian community.



Through a wedding, you as a couple enter into a life-long commitment. You
make your vows before God and the gathered community of family, friends
and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help you
fulfill your vows. Your marriage is a sacrament – an outward and visible
expression of God’s grace in bringing you together and nurturing your love."


The above text comes from St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle Washington. Now I will grant you that this is deliberately written so that it can be applied to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. But it does put forth what marriage is quite clearly. When one takes out the language of "male and female" we can see what marriage is at the heart of the sacrament (and I do believe it is a sacrament). Could someone please tell me why a same sex couple does not fit within the definition above?

Or failing that, can anyone tell me what is specific (other than procreation) to marriage being exclusive to male and female couples. I know the arguements from a scripture stand point. I have read them ad nauseum. They are at best inconclusive in the light current research and understandings available to us. Procreation is not an argument as we allow for marriage of male/female couples who are not or cannot have children.

If we believe, as Paul writes, that it is by the fruit we shall know God's blessings upon something, what stands in the way of a marriage that reflects the above?

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

6 comments:

joseph said...

Ann Marie, I submit that the way you have phrased it seems to beg the question. A few observations: while we can hopefully tell the nature of something by its fruit, we can also recall the first instance in which God intended fruit to be borne. To completely remove that from the equation makes it easier to answer the question, but I don't think it was intended that we leave it aside, whatever difficulties it might raise.

On another level, I think that the "otherness" which is part of gender difference is part of the growing in "unity in diversity" which opposite-gender marriage entails. This is one of the fundamental forms of "otherness" which we have as humanity, and I suspect marriage was intended as a form of growing in unity which incorporates this otherness.

Interesting post - I'll think about the answer a bit more. Blessings,

Anonymous said...

I really don't intend to be mean, but it is embarrassing to me that you are a leader in the Christian Church and use this level of reasoning. You self-consciously put forward a definition of marriage, written deliberately to allow for homosexual couples, and then you challenge your readers to demonstrate why homosexual couples don't work.

It is very revealing that you would describe your studying of the biblical texts to the point of nausea. It is hard to imagine your willingness to submit to God's Word, when you describe it as making you feel sick.

Finally on the question of why not gay marriage. 1. You cannot discount procreation, as you do, as a fundamental part of marriage. 2. Almost all of scriptures teaching on marriage and sexuality point back to Genesis 2. Where God establishes a 'fit helper' for Adam. God's clear intention is for genital complementarity. This has been the universal interpretation of these texts until this past century. And at best, the current arguments put forward, are not based on careful studies, but rather they simply attempt to cast a shadow of doubt over very plain teaching. Their origin can not be mistaken "Did God really say...?"

You seem like a really nice person, but you have to recognise that part of Christian Ministry is standing in submission, To God, to Scripture, and to the faith received. YOu simply just cannot posit a different faith in a Christian Church and claim sanctuary.

Kevin

Ann Marie said...

Joe,

Thank you for your comment. I did put this up as a question to be answered. I am trying to understand. With understanding will come less judgement. It also helps me to work more easily with those with whom I disagree.

Love and prayers,
Ann Marie

Ann Marie said...

Kevin,

Once before I let a comment slide when you took a common expression I used literally. It was done on a post where I asked why we couldn't play together like good little girls and boys. You said it wasn't a game. I let it slide because I felt it wasn't worth my time and effort to rise to the bait.

It still really isn't worth my time and effort except that you have hit pretty close to home - congratulations. Ad nauseum is an expression - and may be I should be more careful when I use expressions. Most people, however, understand expressions are not meant to be taken literally. I happen to love the scriptures. If you were to ask the members of my congregations, they would tell you. I can get pretty excited about them.

That is all I am going to say about your comment. I leave it and your other posts untouched because of what it says about you. I am not worried about what you say about me because those who know me realize how judgemental and wrong your posts are. As for the any others who might decide about me based on your posts - then that says a lot about them as well.

Anonymous said...

Ann Marie,

I did of course take it that you were using ad nauseum loosely, but that you would loosely say that you were sick of studying these texts, does indicate your attitude towards them.

The Word of God, is not incidental to this debate. IT is the ground on which this question must be settled. It is very revealing that you would choose to use a web posting from a gay cathedral dean as the standard, and not the word of God. This is called moving the goal posts.

Why don;t you start dealing with scripture as a way of moving forward.

Kevin

Ann Marie said...

Kevin,

I have posted my journey above so that you may better understand that I am not been willful or deliberately blind. As strongly as you hold your convictions and believe that you are being true to the scripture and your faith - so do I.

I cannot defend myself against what you write for I have no common basis on which to understand what you say. I think that you are being harsh and judgemental but respect that you are compelled by your faith to believe what you do and to express that. As such, as much as your comments disturb me, I allow them to stand.

I will say that where you see a lack in my theological understanding etc. most people who know me well, would disagree. They know that I have taken time and prayer and study on this issue. I do not come to lightly and out of a desire to be contrary. I do come to it out of a position of obedience to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie