Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

followerMurphy, the non-disciple, stood speechlessly steaming as his wife, Harpreet, walked away. He’d just smacked her a good one in the middle of an argument. Harpreet, from a former abusive relationship, also just smacked him.

This was something both thought would never happen. But, in the heat of the moment, under the circumstances, both vented their frustrations physically. This was not the first time either received a smacking, but it was the first time between THEM.

Murphy (to himself): I can’t believe this…

Harpreet: I can’t believe this.

Murph: I’m sorry, I…

Harpreet: Either the pub goes or I do!

Murph: There’s nothing wrong with the pub! It’s how I make a living and take care of you!

Harpreet: No, it’s how you avoid me and leave me on my own!

Murph: You know I love you. How else am I to pay the bills?

Harpreet: Find a way that doesn’t require you to tend bar all hours of the day and night.

Murph: This isn’t fair…

Harpreet walks out.

Murph (as she goes): I’ll work something out. I promise.

Harpreet: Yeah, sure. What’ll you do?

Murphy, moodily locks up his pub and heads up to the nearby highlands to seek wisdom from the Oracle of Galilee, Madam Roberts. She lives in a cave and is locally known for her wisdom.

Madam Roberts (rubbing her brow knowingly): Ah! You have a problem and come for the Wisdom of the Oracle. Sit.

Murph (sitting across from Madam): Wow, how did you know? My marriage is falling apart. I need you to help me.

Madam: The Oracle needs inspiration.

Murph (pulling out a few denari): Here’s an offering. My problem is…

Madam (holding up her hand): Stop. The Oracle knows all. You have fought with your wife.

Murph: Well, duh. She thinks I don’t…

Madam (closes her eyes, sways, rises and lifts her hands: The Oracle speaks: “Love not the circumstances dictate actions.” Go. Next.

A man with a goat enters the cave.

Murph (startled; as he’s leaving): Hey, can I buy a comma?!

Murphy is pushed out of the cave.

Murph (heading down the hill): Well, crap. Love, not the circumstances, dictate actions?Love not, the circumstances dictate actions? Love not the circumstances, dictate actions?

When Murphy returns to his pub he turns around and finds Jesus following him.

Murph: Hey, Jesus. What are you doing?

Jesus: I’ve been following you.

Murph: Really? I’ve been up to the Oracle. She wasn’t much help. Wouldn’t give me a comma.

Jesus: Well, what did you expect? I’ll give you the comma–it goes after the first word.

Murph: Love, not the circumstances dictate actions.

Jesus: Yep.

Murph: I love Harpreet but that doesn’t change the circumstances.

Jesus: If love can’t change your circumstances, you are stuck.

Murph: Why can’t Harpreet change and work within our circumstances?

Jesus: Whose love do you control? Figure out what part of the problem is yours and begin working with that.

Murph: Harpreet will only be happy if I give up the pub!

Jesus: Love is most evident in sacrifice. Think about those who love you and you’ll be thinking of those who have made sacrifices for your sake. They’ve followed you all your live. Only love can inspire such sacrifices–it’s not natural or rational.

Murph: Hmm. You’re right, but I don’t know if I can make the kind of sacrifices needed in my case.

Jesus: Follow me. You and Harpreet, follow me.

Murph: But what if she won’t?

Jesus: Love follows. It’s the sacrifice. You follow me, she follows you, you follow her, I follow you…love follows. If she loves you, she’ll follow you. If you love her, you’ll follow her. If you love me, you’ll follow me. If you follow me, I will care for you.

Murph: How can I follow you AND follow her?

Jesus: Murphy, we are good friends, right? Do for Harpreet as I would do for you. You found me here for you today. I’ll always have what you need. You be me to her. The key: Start over. Whoever follows, always gets another start–another chance to get it right.

Murph: Okay, I’ll restart. I’ll follow. If all goes well, we’ll both follow, but no matter what, I’ll follow.

Tr8: Love follows.

coupleJesus is sitting with Andrew and Peter at their house. Their mother is clearing the table and their father comes in and gives her a peck on the cheek and begins to help her.

Jesus: That’s what it’s all about.

Andrew: The hokey-pokey?

Jesus (amused): Your mom and dad. Their relationship. That’s what glory is all about.

Peter: Glory? I thought glory was like worshiping or praising — you know, angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest.”

Jesus: Those are expressions of glory, sure, but I’m talking bout the essence of glory — it’s source.

Andrew: Mom and dad, the source of glory? I don’t get it.

Jesus: Your mom and dad clearly love each other. When they show it to us, that’s glory. They glorify each other with their love. Glory is love expressed.

Andrew: Ahh. You’re saying they’re glorifying each other — the outward expression of love between two people.

Peter: I know where you’re going with this — the way we give God glory is loving others. Makes sense. You could do it with a song, but you could also do it by helping or kissing someone.

Jesus: Here’s the really good part: God counts loving others as loving him, so EVERY time you are loving and gracious, you are glorifying him. I determine my actions on that principle. Remember what I told John — God is love. Marriage is the best example of glory here on earth.  Co-sacrificial, unconditional love, lived.

Peter: What about when you tore up the Temple courtyard?

Jesus: That was personal. It was a tough, loving cleanup I needed to do for the benefit of Jerusalem. A bride needed a bath. That kind of love and glory is very difficult to understand. Bottom line: Loving others is loving God. How else are you going to give God a hug or show him your love?

Andrew: Loving others is hugging God? Hmm haven’t thought of it that way. Glorification is hugging God by loving others.

Jesus: When you love one another as I have loved you, you not only glorify God, but me, yourself and your mom and dad. Your life is one big adventure in glorification. Because you are related to God through me, you show your love for God by doing as I have shown you. My way is THE WAY — the truth and the life — no one comes to the Father any other way. Just like you show love to your mom and dad by obeying and respecting them. It’s really very simple.

Andrew rises, picks up the last few things on the table and helps his mom and dad straighten up the kitchen. He gives them both hugs.

Jesus and Peter smile.

Tr8: Glorifying God is loving others with your life.

Jesus, James, John, Andrew and Peter are going to Jericho to help move a piano. Peter’s driving a borrowed pickup and the rest of the guys are riding in the back with Jesus’ dog, Bumper.

John: Did anyone see the news?

Andrew: Yeah, ‘talkin’ bout Todd Akin’s brain fart? (darts a look at Jesus) uhh, sorry, I mean, misspoken press statement?

John: Yeah. He said something about a ‘legitimate rape’ and punishing rapists, not babies.

James: What a nimrod! Legitimate rape? Is he crazy? There’s no such thing as a ‘legitimate’ rape.

Andrew (shaking his head): Yeah, rape is most heinous.

John (tapping Jesus’ knee): Jesus, what do you do with that?

Jesus (looking up with toothpick in his mouth): About rape or about Akin?

James: Rape. The Scripture says we should kill rapists.

The group nods.

Jesus (taking the toothpick out of his mouth):  I tell you, if any one sleeps with another and fantasizes about someone else, he or she commits rape twice. Once with whom he or she is lying with, or to, and the other, with whom he or she is fantasizing.

James (eye opened wide): Whoa! That’s a bit harsh!

Jesus: Whenever one has non-consensual sex, it’s rape. Sex is supposed to be part of marriage — a product of a loyal and exclusive promise. Everything goes bad when sex is an object in and of itself. Sex without love is using someone — it’s rape — real or imagined.

John: But Jesus, people fantasize all the time, don’t they?

Jesus (looking into John’s eyes): It’s what’s in your heart and head. Do you want your spouse to play like she’s loving you while thinking of someone else? Do you not want the joining of hearts as well?

The guys sit silently as the pickup turns up the hill.

Andrew (shaking his head): Well, it’s much more hopeless than I thought. Yet, that’s the kind of love I dream of.

Jesus (massaging his right palm with his left index finger): I’m describing the ideal. Your hearts and minds acknowledge this is your highest hope — a perfect relationship. In this life, reality falls short of perfect — we rarely grasp God’s ideal. Yet, we don’t give up. If you think this way, it will make you a better spouse, friend and partner. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is when you acknowledge the ideal.

Andrew (shaking his head): Wow! Jesus! You blow my mind every time you speak! Peter won’t believe this!

Jesus (smiling, patting Andrew on the back): Thanks, Rew. Poor Congressman Akin would rather be moving our piano than dancing with network news wonks. We should remember him in our prayers.

Tr8: Never quit disciplining the mind — don’t be content with rape in any of its forms. Commit yourself wholly to your mate for life. Everyone wants an ideal spouse. If you are not married, your commitment to your spouse began at birth.

Messed up? See this.

marriage-equalityAndrew, Peter, James and John are at Starbuck’s for bagels and coffee while Jesus is at the synagogue in Capernaum with Nathaniel and Simon.

Andrew: So, what’s the deal with Jesus and gays? Isn’t he against them?

James: He’s gotta be, right?  It’s unnatural, biologically futile, socially awkward and scripturally forbidden — Leviticus 18:22 — they’re on the stoning list.

John: Really? We’re all on the stoning list. I’ve never heard him say anything directly against gays, but he’s said a lot about the Law. Remember the Sermon on the Mount?

Peter (shaking his head): Whoa! Jesus pretty much closed all the exits — don’t think of people as fools, don’t look at women, turn the other cheek, walk a second mile — he nailed everyone on the mountain. Yep, we’re all on the stoning list.

Andrew: Yeah, but he didn’t mention gays.

James (shaking his index finger): And he didn’t mention incest or bestiality. Do you think he gave them the ‘all clear’ by not mentioning them?

John (holding up his hand): Hang on. If I asked Jesus, ‘Is gay marriage okay?’ you know what he’d say, ‘What do you think?’ ‘What does the Scripture say?’ ‘How does the Golden Rule apply?’

James: True. He’d walk you through it and end up asking, “What does love require of you?”

Peter: Yeah, I think Jesus sees sin everywhere…in a redeeming way. It’s weird. I know he knows all my faults — all of them — and he treats me with love and respect. He encourages me to be good and clean up my act, but overall he loves me ‘as is.’

Andrew: I agree. With him, whether something is wrong or not isn’t the question. He changes us through relationship. He makes me want to be like him. I become more and more truthful with myself when I’m with him.

James: Are you saying Jesus doesn’t care about whether someone is gay or not?

John: He’s saying it doesn’t really matter because if you hang around Jesus you’ll eventually face the truth within yourself. I used to do stuff, but I quit because of him and I can’t exactly explain why, I just knew it was better.

Peter: We’re back to truth and grace. Again. Remember: The Spirit reveals truth, we reveal grace. Truth revelation to others is the Spirit’s business. Jesus says our business is to love one another.

John: That pharisee, Jacob-bar-Pinhead, said Jesus and I were lovers. Jesus just shook his head and smiled. I was ready to break a commandment right there. Yet, immediately I knew the truth and that Jesus expected me to let it go, so I did as he did. After all, we’re a bunch of guys hanging out together–who’s surprised we get this stuff?

Andrew: Yeah. It is what it is. The truth about truth is whether you can be that way with Jesus in the room. Jesus has never said anything about Judas’ smoking, but everyone, including Judas, knows where he stands.

Peter: Personally, I think two genders in one body runs contrary to God’s best plan for a human, but we run contrary to God’s best plan all the time. That’s pretty much why Jesus keeps reminding us he loves us anyway.

Andrew: Seems to me, if a covenant marriage is good for believers, why would we want to withhold it from unbelievers? Shouldn’t we want good things for those who don’t know Jesus or us?

James: Hmmm. We see marriage as being under the jurisdiction of religion, not the government – a religious ceremony with spiritual significance. However, the average person sees it as a civil ceremony with legal implications. Whatever, it’s not our call.

Peter: Well, I know Jesus and nothing’s changed–we’re to love others as he loves us.

Jesus walks in with Nathaniel and Simon.

Jesus (smiling): Live according to the truth, act according to grace.

Tr8: What Jesus said.

First published August 2, 2012.