A Soft Heart Heals the Divorces of our Lives

The collect and readings for today, the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 22B, may be found here. The following sermon is based on Mark 10:2-16.

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Divorce is a question that affects all of us. Some of us have dealt with it in our own lives and marriages. Some of us have known the pain of our parents’ or child’s divorce. All of us, I suspect, know someone who is divorced or has been affected by divorce. It is a reality of our lives and our world. Sometimes divorce is necessary. Other times it comes too quickly and too easily, an escape from the hard work of being in relationship. Always, it is a spiritual and emotional tragedy with profound and lasting consequences for all involved.

The Pharisees’ question, however, is not a pastoral question. It is a legal question, a test. Marriage in first century Palestine was an arrangement between families not a choice between individuals. It was more about an exchange of property, the woman, than it was about romance, mutuality, or personal fulfillment. In asking their question the Pharisees are not concerned about a woman in an abusive or dangerous situation. They aren’t asking about a young couple who through illusion, immaturity, or naiveté made a mistake in choosing to marry. They are not dealing with a marriage that has become spiritually dead, not only devoid of but destructive of life. They are not worried about the spiritual or emotional well being of the couple. Their concern is Jesus. They have been plotting “how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:6) ever since Continue reading “A Soft Heart Heals the Divorces of our Lives”

The Road To Jerusalem Is Paved With The Stones of Rejection

Today is the Second Sunday in Lent. The collect and readings for the day may be found here. The appointed gospel is Luke 13:31-35: 31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures … Continue reading The Road To Jerusalem Is Paved With The Stones of Rejection