Saturday, August 13, 2016

Marriage Anniversaries and the Sacramental View

Twenty-eight years ago today, my college sweetheart and I married each other.  It both seems like no time at all and several lifetimes ago.

I'm a Lutheran, and we only have two sacraments:  Baptism and Communion.  I think Martin Luther was too hasty when he got rid of so many sacraments.  I wish he had kept marriage as a sacrament.
Marriage has taught me many things, but the nature of love is one of the most important things it has taught me.  And by experiencing my husband's love for me, along with his forgiving of me, I've come to understand God's love for all of us just a bit better.

Understand is probably too strong a word.  In some ways, we can never understand the scope of love, either the love we have for each other or the love God has for us.

A sacrament is a way that God makes grace visible to us. Some religious traditions would say that the sacrament itself is the route of grace--think of baptism or communion. I know that Lutherans believe that sacraments are actions that God commands us to do.  The Anglican Book of Common Prayer defines sacrament as  an "outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible Grace."

One way of viewing sacraments says that we see glimpses of God through earthly elements that take on additional meaning--some variations of Christianity, like Celtic traditions, have a much more sacramental approach to daily life.

Marriage has so many variations that I understand why various expressions of Christianity do not include it as a sacrament.  But as a frazzled woman who needs more of the Divine in her life, I want to return to a more sacramental view.

Here is where I'm grateful for marriage and for larger family life--which I would also extend to all sorts of human community, like schools, workplaces, and churches.  I have learned to forgive things I do not fully understand.  I have learned that even great pain can be transformed so that we grow and become better humans than we would have otherwise.  I have learned that my needs are not the only needs.  I have learned to trust that all will be well--eventually.

My younger self believed in justice.  My married-for-28-years self hopes for a world of grace and mercy.

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