St. Augustine of Hippo


Episcopal Church

 


”Stay Put”


October 7, 2018


The Reverend Nathanael Saint-Pierre



When it comes to responding to what God is calling us to do, some obstacles will always stand before us. How we navigate and remain faithful to God is the difficult choice. There are several easy exits on that narrow but godly way, and sometimes, they are more appealing than to stay on the way. But nothing worth living godly is easy. To leave, to go in different ways, to walk away because it is raining, to turn our backs at the first crisis, all of these are easy solutions.


Jesus was once again being tested. The traditionalists, those who believed they knew it all, those whose only goal was to get Jesus to contradict the law, came with a sensitive topic to get him to say or do something they could use against him.


It was not their first attempt and wouldn’t be their last. Jesus always pushes people to face their responsibility and expand their understanding of God.


Sometimes, we make it about divorce because quitting is easier, walking away is easier. At least we think life will be better, what we are living is so bad, we will be better without the challenges. Jesus is making it about togetherness, helping us understand that challenges can be overcome by love: not narcissistic love, but godly love.


I am sure that in a society where divorce has become so popular, it sounds odd to hear Jesus asking us to sacrifice ourselves, our pride, our personal gain to stay together. Marriages nowadays seem to start with an expiration date. Divorce is scheduled and often is considered as the first, instead of the last, solution. Look at Ellen and Nimrod, don’t you think they’ve met many challenges in their life together? Vernestine and Robert, I am sure that they had to overcome many obstacles. However, some prefer to see them as dysfunctional because they manage to stay together despite the storms. We live so many relationships breaking for reasons our parents have overcome. The new generation is too impulsive. We hurry to move in together, but we race to move out or split. Men do not get in relationships to be together but just to get her. Marriage has become much of a show than a lifelong commitment. Sometimes, people reach out to a marriage counselor, not to save their marriage, but to blame one another and find their way out.


God did not create humankind to live in isolation. Instead, God created a structure so that human beings could live in groups. Whatever the name of your relationship is, make the relationship the priority and not yourself. As we celebrate our pets today and ask God to bless them, we need to remember that our human partners are not pets. Husband, wife, boyfriend and girlfriend are not commodities that we can dispose of how and when we see fit. We are in this together; quitting might not be the only option.


Jesus invited the doctors of the law, those who believed they knew better than Jesus and  who were seeking to find a way to discredit him, to seek instead for a better understanding of the love of God. God was not promoting divorce when Moses came up with the certificate of dismissal allowing a man to divorce a wife. I hope you realize that this was a privilege given to men only and not to women. Jesus brings the debate back to the original intention God had: to bind together God’s creation in a way that cannot be broken. Despite our sins, God remains forgiving, always taking the initiative to find us no matter how lost we are. We are called to do our best to stay together and when godly love is part of the equation, togetherness is unbreakable. That’s the absolute goal of God, all other solutions must be exceptional.