Summary: Marriage is precisely that sacrament by which God has worked in society, elevating the status of women, protecting and nurturing children and reflecting the image of a loving Father in society.
The Sacrament of Marriage
Proper 22B Old Testament Reading
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Psalm 8:1-9 BCP 350
Mark 10:2-9 Gospel Appointed for the Day
Some Pharisees came and in order to test Jesus asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE
The question came to Jesus “May a man divorce a woman for any cause; anything at all?"
Jesus responded, "What did Moses say?"
The questioner replied, "Moses allowed for a certificate of dismissal", a sort of discharge paper from the alliance.
Jesus said, “It was because of your stubborness, your hardness that this was allowed.
In this scene and in the words of Jesus, if properly understood, will be seen the underlying sickness of our Western Civilization, of this countries ills and the illness that leads one of every two marriages to end in divorce and half our children growing up in single parent households for at least part of their lives. Like it or not, that grim statistic spells the end of a civilization. Children of broken homes are not as likely to gain the education and enter provitable professions. In such brokenness, with the attendant poverty and hopelessness, the seeds of class war and bitterness that led to WWII are sown.
Jesus response to the questioner: "It was not so from the beginning. God created male and female - in the image of God."
Just as there is a triune God, there was to be unity in the family. Father Son and Holy Spirit were to be mirrored in Man, Wife and Child. The mutual love and united efforts of the trinity were the pattern for family life.