Ephesians 5 22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
This is a very unpopular verse. Mostly because it has been used in the past to make women subservient to their husband, with only he allowed to make decisions. That was not the intent of this passage at all. I will get to that later. First I want to talk bout how the husband is supposed to act.
Ephesians 25-32 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Take a moment and let that sink in. There are a few characteristics that we can look at immediately about how we are to treat our wives. Mainly, we can look at how Christ lived his life for the church. Christ came into this world with one goal, to redeem his people to God. To bring his church into himself. We are after all the body of Christ. Christ LIVED literally for the church. He gave his life, his precious blood, for us. He suffered and died, just for the church.
Well husbands, we've got some serious shoes to fill, don't we. We are to love our wife, even when she doesn't deserve it! Not just when she loves us back, but period! Christ didn't come down for the saints, he came for the sinners! The people who turned their back on him! We have to love our wives, even when we don't particularly like her! I believe every couple has that moment as well. The moment when they are definitely not happy with their spouse. Be it when someone spent a great deal of money, without even consulting the other. Or someone hid something from the other. That doesn't excuse us! We still have to love her!
So what does the first verse tell us then? The one about wives submitting to their husbands? Well it doesn't seem to make sense if you think of marriage as a union, in which you just dissolve it when you don't agree anymore. It's not! Marriage is not something that we just leave when we have a disagreement. Someone has to have the deciding vote. Many people will tell you it's just the man, but it's not. It's God! The man should be approaching God with the problem and saying Father, help me to solve this in your will! Then he should be going to his wife, and saying “You mean more than my own life, what is your opinion in this matter?” Then out of love and trust in the Lord, he should decide. Even if the two members do not agree, they should abide by that decision. Because it was approached with ultimate love for one another, and love for God.
Women love your husbands! Respect them! Help edify them, lord knows we men need our wives support. Men love your wives, more than yourself. No man who loves his wife more than his own life will hold it over her head that he is put in charge of the final vote. He would instead cast that final vote in love for her! Or even step aside and say I love you so much, that we are going to do what you want to to do, even if it's not what I want to do, as long as it's God's will.
Remember Christ came as a servant, he served the church even though he was it's King. You are to be your wives servant, even if you are the head. That's what it means to be spiritually the head, that you have went above your own wants and needs and are looking for hers. Because she is being obedient to God by submitting to you, you must be obedient to God and submit to her!
Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Today at our church we celebrated Epiphany. I remember hearing that word the first time when I was in the 12th grade. It had no religious connotations to me at all, it simply meant something to the effect of 'a eureka moment.' That moment when you went 'Ah hah!' because you had figured out something you had long been contemplating. It was the name of a poetry magazine/booklet that many of us were very happy to have our words printed in. I don't even remember what I wrote about, just that the word Epiphany was etched on the front.
As a protestant growing up we didn't celebrate these seasons. We only celebrated Christmas and Easter. Christmas was a day, Easter was a day. After the 25th the tree came down, thoughts returned to every day life. It was over till Easter. The Catholic faith has a much different view of life. Christmas is a season! We celebrate not just his birth and death, but his baptism, the assumption, the annunciation of his birth, etc. We celebrate everything about Christ, even when we are in ordinary time. We attempt to make our lives about Christ and reflecting Christ.
So today we discussed Epiphany. Epiphany is the celebration of the wise men journeying/arriving to see the young Jesus. We are reminded that they saw a star in the Heaven's, a mysterious light that led them to the King of the Jews. They came to give him gifts and pay him homage. We don't think about the word homage much. It means something to the effect a public declaration of their allegiance, to show him respect. Isn't it interesting that three magi, three gentiles were one of the first people to come and declare their allegiance to Christ? To bring him gifts?
Epiphany has many deep theological levels, but the one that sticks out the most is that they saw his light, or something that pointed to him, and they kept searching till they found him. Today on this epiphany I am reminded of something my priest said one day, about how that Jesus Christ is inside each of person, even if they aren't aware of it yet. You see we are made in the image of God, and if we look hard enough, we will see his reflection hidden somewhere deep under someones flesh. Jesus reminds us of that when he tells us everything you do for the least of these, you have done for me; and likewise everything you do not do for the least of these, you have not done for me.
Epiphany reminds me to look for that light. That even in the face of someone I cannot stand, I should be looking for their light. That even my enemy deserves the basic dignity of human life, because he is made in the image of my creator. That Jesus is in the world in very special ways, and I should be looking for him. Searching for him every single day. Until I arrive at his feet, bringing what meager gifts I can muster up, to pay him homage.
Help me Lord to find you both in prayer, in my heart, and in the faces of the broken and bruised of this world. Help me to see your face and to remember that I when I am looking into the eyes of a brokenhearted, angry, or sad individual that I am looking not only at them, but through them to the reflection of you inside. Help me to go out of my way to help them find that image in them, that they too will be led to go out searching for you. Until searching for you becomes our very existence. I pray for a world where everyone searches for you so fully, that to find you in our world we only have to turn and look to the very next person we see.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Faith. The word is often used by us Christians to be synonymous with 'belief'. But it's much more than that. It does indeed mean belief, but it also means action. Faith is a gift from God. He has given us both the ability to have a supernatural belief, one in something we cannot see, and to have knowledge of the way to express that faith. You see, faith doesn't just speak of you believing in God, it speaks of you expressing that through your actions.
Everything you do during the day should express faith. Do you live your faith? Do you show others by your very actions that you believe the basic creeds? Do you live your life in a way that shows that you believe this life is just the start of an eternity? Or do you live your life like death is the end? Do you live your life in a way that shows that you truly believe you are forgiven for your sins? Or do you live your life in a way that makes others doubt God's forgiveness? Does your very attitude toward God show an appreciation for what he did on the cross? Or does it make grace out to be something cheap, and disposable?
The Nicene Creed is a basic list of the things we believe, do you think about this during the day? About what we truly do believe?
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.