Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The sacrament of marriage
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
In this final Chapter of Hebrews the writer exhorts Christians to perform several duties to excel in life. Among other things, marriage and sexual purity is highlighted in this verse. Marriage is honorable because God instituted it for human in the Garden of Eden, knowing it was not good for man to be alone. He conducted the marriage and blessed the first couple. Christ honored marriage with his presence and first miracle. It is honorable as a means to prevent impurity and a defiled bed.
Marriage is one of the seven sacraments recognized by the Mar Thoma Church. Marriage is not a contract but a covenant ("In good times and in bad times...sickness and in health, richer or poorer.") relationship for life that ends only with the death of one spouse or both. Through this union God intent them together to cooperate in God's plan of redemption by raising up children in the Faith. The sacramental marriage is more than a union of man and woman; it is, in fact, a type and symbol of the divine union between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride. As married Christians, open to the creation of new life and committed to our mutual salvation, we participate not only in God's creative act but in the redemptive act of Christ.
In this day and age, building strong families gets tougher every day. It is easier to get married than to stay married. The statistics of cohabitation, same sex marriage, divorce, children out of wedlock and the destruction of families are alarming. A recent survey revealed that children spend less than 30 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their mothers and less than 15 minutes per week with their fathers. Our own community is not immune to these problems. An institution once revered by our forefathers is gradually losing its meaning and sanctity. Two individuals born and brought up in two different households with different values and traits when joined together as husband and wife are unwilling and unable to make the necessary adjustments and sacrifices. The wife forgets her role as a "helper" to the husband and the husband in turn forgets that he is to love his wife just like Christ loves the Church.. A good percentage of our families are smoking volcanoes and by the time it erupts, it will be too late.
How do we keep the sacramental marriage honorable? We humans are weak and sinful and our carnal nature always controls us. But, we need to remember, nothing is by accident in our life. God who created us with a purpose and placed us in different life situations united two individuals together as husband and wife to accomplish His divine purpose. If we always remember that it is God who joined us together and that we represent Christ and His Church and seek His will in everything we do as a family, we will see divine intervention in our daily life. If God is the center of our family, He will direct our paths, thoughts and deeds. When we surrender our "self" to His "will" to guide and lead us in our family lives, we will be able to honor our lifelong commitment for His Glory.
Prayer: Almighty Lord our Heavenly Father! Thank you for creating us as man and woman and instituting the divine institution of marriage to continue your work of creation. Help us to seek your will in our family life and lead a life that brings glory to your name. In Jesus Name: Amen
Thought for the Day: "A Family that prays together stays together"
Joseph Mattackal, Long Island MTC, NY
Theme for the week: The sacrament of Marriage