Saturday, 12 March 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 28—Holding Fast

Jesus says marriage makes a woman and a man into “one flesh” in The St James Devotional Guide’s Matthew passage this morning (Mt 19.1-10). God does the joining. I do the holding fast and resisting any hardness of heart.

Observing a Holy Lent by self examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and reading and meditating on the Word of God helps with that. Honest acknowledgment of my selfish, sinful ways, saying I’m sorry, praying for and with my wife, sacrificial (as opposed to “martyrish”) doing without for her sake that of the family, giving generously of my time and substance and allowing the Bible to set my standards will make me the best husband I can be. My natural sinful tendency to hard-heartedness will be thwarted as I am equipped to hold fast to my wife in a healthy life-giving way which will not oppress, control or smother her. We lean closer together in mutual submission, love and support.

These days, more and more couples are deciding that marriage is out-dated and no longer necessary. They believe that they can hold fast to one another in the strength of their love and that no ritual is necessary to seal the deal. But if they are ever to reach the truest and deepest one-fleshedness, they need divine help. According to Jesus, God the Father is the only one capable of the divine sacramental welding job that results in two separate, delightfully and alluringly different but complementary beings becoming one flesh. The first might do, but the second is infinitely better.

Just so, I can be a mature and devout Christian without observing Lent. But when I do make the effort, I place myself in blessing’s way and in the spiritual disciplines I hold fast to Jesus. As hardness of heart is revealed and softened, God the Father joins us together in one spirit and nothing, not even death, can part us.

A Holy Lent leans me safe into the arms of mother church—the Bride of Christ—her history, life and teaching. We await the Bridegroom’s return together.


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