Today is Thursday, April 27, 2017.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
(From Living the Message)
In this reading, called “Marriages,” Eugene H. Peterson talks about the differences between a wedding and a marriage. “Weddings are easy; marriages are difficult.”
People come to him in preparation for marriage. They want to plan weddings, he wants to plan marriages. They want to figure out where bridesmaids will stand, he wants to “develop a plan for forgiveness.” They want to talk about music, he wants to “talk about the emotions of the marriage.” He can do a wedding in twenty minutes with his eyes closed. “A marriage takes year after year of alert, wide-eyed attention.”
It’s not that weddings aren’t important. Of course, they are. They can be impressive and beautiful; or they can be plain and simple, and still beautiful. We laugh and cry at weddings. Every detail becomes a memory. Yet, in comparison, weddings are easy.
“Marriages are complex and difficult.” It takes work to work out those promises and commitments that are made in the wedding. It takes time to develop the “long and rich life of faithful love that the wedding announces.”
“The event of the wedding without the life of marriage doesn’t amount to much.” The couple could re-enact the wedding every year, but “if there is no daily love shared, if there is no continuing tenderness, no attentive listening, no inventive giving, no creative blessing, it matters not.
C and I have been married for thirty-two and a half years. In some ways, we feel like we’ve had it easy. She says it’s thirty of the best years of her life. Note that there are two years missing from that statement. There were some very difficult years in there. I won’t talk about why. But one thing that has kept it constant is the love of God that he has shared in our midst. We have, glory to God, made it through those trying times. It’s easy to think that we might be sailing free from this point on, but we don’t make that mistake. We still have to work at not getting too comfortable. We still have to work at listening to each other, even though we know each other so very well. After this long, it’s easy to neglect the “continuing tenderness” that Peterson mentions. The “inventive giving” also becomes harder, although it can easily take place in the form of doing the dishes, folding laundry, or cleaning up dog poop.
“Weddings are easy; marriages are difficult.” True. But they are not impossible. And in this day when they seem to be so very disposable. I thank God for the love that C and I have shared for over thirty years. And, if the Lord says so too, for thirty more.
Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.
Hebrews 13:16 (The Message)
Father, I think you for the love that C and I share. I thank you for the good example of my own mother and father, who literally lived out “until death do us part.” I pray that this love will continue and that you will remain in the center of our lives. Keep teaching us to listen and give to each other. Keep teaching us about sacrifice. Draw us closer to you and closer to each other.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.