Anglican Morning Devotion for 12 June 2021 A.D.
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelations 19:7-9)
A marriage made in Heaven? No, but definitely conceived in Heaven and instituted by God as a reflection of His Holy Church. Adam and Eve (one man and one woman) were made for each other to symbolize that relationship that must exist between Christ and His Church. It must, therefore, be a Holy Institution illustrated by the clean white linen with which the Bride is adorned representing virtue and righteousness. Any derogation or perversion of the institution of marriage is a grave violation of the will of God.
The male member of any marriage should reflect the love of Christ for His Bride for whom He gave His life; and the female member represents the glory and beauty of the Church to whom Christ is betrothed. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” (Ephesians 5:22-26) It is noteworthy that God does not here tell the wife to love the husband. I believe the reason for that omission is due to the demonstrated love of the husband for the wife in willing to die for her. Under such circumstances, the heart of a woman is too tender to reject that love.
In case any are believing that the husband holds autocratic power in a marriage, read the verse preceding the above quote from Ephesians: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (v 21) Marriage is not a one-party covenant, but two equal parties working together as examples of Christ in the home. If Christ is at the center of a marriage, husbands and wives cannot hurl insults through Him to one another.
True that marriage was conceived in Heaven, but culminated in a space between Heaven and earth – the cross! The prototype of the divine was first instituted in Eden: “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:21-24) The marriage bond in Christ sanctifies the couple increasingly with time so that aster many years of loving marriage, they indeed become one in thought, word and deed – and more importantly, the two become one with Christ.
God considers any marriage arrangement other than that which He instituted in Eden (between one man and one woman) to be, not only a sin, but an abomination. (see Lev 18:22) This is so because the institution of marriage is intended to physically mirror that which is spiritual and destined to be consummated in Heaven. Any perversion is grossly unfavorable to our Lord who is Holy. Any perversion mars that image of the divine.
The decision to marry must not be undertaken lightly. It is a solemn covenant made before God and Christian witnesses. That bond must not be broken under any circumstance other than that of adultery, and then only if the two parties are irreconcilable. I have been married well over fifty years. It was not always easy. Both parties must work to overcome challenges and differences. But when the initial struggles of love and understanding have triumphed in greater love, the marriage becomes a haven on earth. When we repeated our marriage vows, we made a solemn agreement that the word ‘divorce’ would never so much as be mentioned in our home – and it has not been.