Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage

Ephesians 5:21-32

Rev. Shibi Abraham

MTC of Oklahoma

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

This verse is one of the boldest statements in all of Paul's writings, taken here from his letter to the believers in the church. At a time 2000 years ago, where in most of the Roman Empire, women were not given an equal status with men, this is a radical statement where St Paul is speaking about the mutuality and accountability in a husband-wife relationship. Both man and woman are asked to love and respect each other.

In this passage that is read during the wedding services of the Mar Thoma Church, St Paul is stating that men are women are equals in Christ.   a patriarchal society, males have domination, but not in the Church- the faith community.  Illustrating the relationship of husband and wife, St Paul says that Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. In the body of Christ, each has a place but all are equals (Gal 3:28 Col 3:11.)  What is said about the church is also true in the celebration of marriage in everyday life.

Further, Paul instructs men to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Focusing on Christ's relationship with the church and asking men to emulate that bond with their wives, Paul redefined the roles of partners in married life. Christ lived and died for the Church. He was willing to work ceaselessly to improve the church in every aspect. Christ wanted to uplift the church physically, mentally, and spiritually. In difficult times, Christ reassured the church. Christ lived with the Church, to elevate them and encourage them. Christ worked to have all the members of the church achieve the potential that they could.  He wanted the Church to be the Church it was capable of being.

As we mediate on this passage, it should not be viewed as a reaffirmation of the values of a society 2,000 years ago. Rather it should be viewed as a reaffirmation of the good that was part of the original creation, and a reaffirmation of the new possibilities in Christ.

Thought for the day:

Marriage is a sacrament, it is a means of Grace, to help us live a divine life.

Prayer: Lord, Bless our marriage. Allow us to have the marriage that you want us to have. As Christ loved the church, may we love each other. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

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