Already and not yet
Wed 19 October 2016
Reading about the Synod of the Bishops of the Catholic church, and instead of thinking about the important matters of the remarriage, divorce, and ordination of women, what comes to my mind is what came through my mind when listening to the past dialog about the so called “gay marriages” (no, I don’t believe there is such a thing).
It seems to me one of the roots of some Christians accepting the idea of the marriage between two persons of the same sex is the pain of looking at all those people who are living outside of the boundaries of what is right. Listening to the arguments against gay marriages claiming that it is unnatural and against the God’s ordination what comes through my mind is thinking about all those millions of marriages which were divorced. From the point of view of the traditional understanding of marriage is a single-parent family same nonsense as a marriage between two men or two women. And yet, we Protestants (but I am afraid most Catholics are in the same boat, they just don’t want to admit it) looking over the complicated broken marriages just cannot throw them away and calling them only sinners and ignoring all complexities of their particular relationships. We all know stories of people who got divorced, and these are stories perhaps of sin, but mainly of pain, lost hope, and suffering for everybody involved (of course, including children). A sin is supposed to bring pain, so perhaps it is not so surprising?
And in order at least to alleviate the pain we try to create some theory how to ignore this incredible number of people who failed in one of the most important tasks in their life.
Also, we can see that for some the second marriage is a way more holy and complete than the first one, created by too young people without real understanding of what marriage consists of (no, I am not talking about the reasons serious enough to allow the annulment of the marriage, just young stupidity and irresponsibility). I am thinking about my pastor, but also about the famous cases of people like Johnny Cash and June Carter, whose second marriage was (or is) a way more happy and truly sign pointing towards the Paradise.
I don’t think there are many children in the age of my children who would be dreaming about broken marriage, about leaving their own children, about failing miserably. We all know somewhere deep in our hearts what is the ideal for which we long for. And yet so many of us fail in this endeavor. How to live in this pain of disappointment?
I am thinking about the situation of the Unity of the Church as well. How completely impossible it is to imagine than in our life we would do at least so small and seemingly obvious step as being able to share openly a Communion together. How is it possible that followers of Jesus Christ cannot agree on something so obvious as that they should follow the command of their Lord and share the communion together? And yet we most likely (pending some miracle) won’t see the Church repent and follow the Christ in our lives. How to live with this pain?
I am thinking how to live in this pain of already knowing where we should go and yet not being there.
We all try to avoid pain. We are willing to do anything when the pain is too strong. We are able to lie, to hurt those whom we love most, to pretend we are somebody else than we are, anything possible legal or illegal, moral or immoral just to avoid the pain.
So, obviously, one way how to avoid a pain is to tear down the standards. I do not actually care about marriage, when mine fell apart. Goal is actually not the united church, but current state of thirty thousand plus denominations is sign of the God’s creativity and plurality.
Or, we can go from the other side, and to deny the reality. My marriage is just fine, my wife has been for long time in Venice Or, of course, there are no Russian soldiers in Crimea and Novorussia. Or, the Church is actually not divided, but unified in The Holy Spirit (except, I cannot go to the Catholic church to participate in The Holy Communion).
But to live in this tension of unresolved dreams and hopes brings pain! Yes, it does. “Thank God, there is deliverance through Jesus Christ, our Lord!” (Rom 7:25)