Mark 10:1-12: The Marriage of Cigarettes and Grass
And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
I think on this passage and think of the failed marriage of God and God’s people. What was it that was intended? That He be our God and we be His people. That he claim us as His people and we claim Him as our God.
I think of this failed marriage. How that which was to be joined has been torn asunder by Sin, by man’s hardness of heart.
I think of the mystery of Christ and His Church, where we the marriage restored. By Christ, through Christ, in Christ, we are with God again. By Christ, through Christ, in Christ, He is our God and we are His People.
I think of cigarettes I find in the grass when I walk. I think of it as the marriage of God and His People. Two things should not be wedded, and yet,
I think of Christ as the Word that re-joins, that re-marries.
I think of the way that the lines around God’s people are always re-drawn, not around bloodline and national heritage, but around those who hear His promises and believe it.
The people of God are those who’ve been offered Mercy and have received it.
The marriage of God and His people is the marriage of His Word and Our Trust.
I think of that often.
I think of the Fear of the Lord, this ordinary worship as the marriage of His Word and Our Trust. In this marriage, in this covenant, I think of what is His and what is Ours.
It is His to speak. His to clothe, His to mend, His to cast out, His to overturn, His to defend, His to make right, His to give rest and meaning. His to speak a Word that does all that.
I think of what is Ours. It is ours to trust.
To hear, to pray, to offer,
To behold, be patient, to bear witness.
To stand firm, to be led, to give ourselves to each other.
I think of what I have I have been given in this marriage, in this ordinary life with Christ. I think of how--now that Christ has died, is risen, and will come again---we have is an ordinary life of faith, hope, and love.
I think of how I think about faith, hope, love.
When I think of faith, hope, love, I think of trust, attention, and gentleness.
I think of being quiet, simple, available.
A think of His Word, a Word that rescues our trust so we might trust in Christ and be quiet. I think of how we trust in Christ by hearing. And that this is called faith.
A think of His Spirit, a Spirit that shepherds our attention, so that we might trust Christ with things and become simple. I think of how we trust Christ with things through prayer. And that this is called hope.
A think of how our trust is rescued and our attention is shepherded so that we might finally become available to this world and to another, so that a gentleness might be offered to and for His Fellowship. I think of how we entrust ourselves to one another in offering. And that this is called love.
I think of a Christ who is with us by His Word, through HIs Spirit, in His Fellowship.
I think of faith, hope, love. I think of how these things are mine now that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. I think of how they have not been taken by this world or what can happen in this world. And I think of how these things are really mine and yet are only mine in Christ. And how Word, Spirit, Fellowship deepen them.
What is faith is if I cannot trust? Or learn to trust?
What is hope if I can never pay attention? Or begin to pay attention?
What is love if I am not gentle. Or ever able to be gentle?
And yet the struggle, the sweat, the agony of learning to trust, and pay attention, and be gentle. The anguish of being quiet, simple, and available.
I think of how Word, Spirit, Fellowship rescue trust, shepherd attention, make gentleness possible.
These things are not mine by myself, that are mine as I am with Christ.
I think of an ordinary life with this means of grace, how Christ claims us as His, and we claim Christ as ours.
with Christ by His Word,
with Christ through His Spirit,
with Christ in His Fellowship.
I think of how ordinary worship untangles us, so that Christ claims us as His, and we claim Christ as ours. So that we know, again, who he is and who we are. So that we know again, and again, what is his and what is ours. His to bury and cleanse and defend and overturn and make right. To do this by His Word, through His Spirit, in His Fellowship. Ours to trust. To stand firm, to be led, and to give ourselves. To do this by hearing, through prayer, in offering.
This marriage, this ordinary life with Christ.
Cigarrettes and grass.
Cigarettes and grace.