Today’s Readings for the Daily Office
Psalm 106:1-18 (Morning)
Psalm 106:19-48 (Evening)
1 Pet. 1:1-12
These readings were quite challenging for me to find a suitable launch pad for a reflection. I am choosing to reflect on Matthew’s gospel, which presents a conundrum for me. What does one do when the Holy Scripture/Jesus tells us to do/believe something that runs counter to our best prayerful and considered judgment? Is it anything like a military person not being bound to follow an order that conflicts with a deeply-held personal value? The suggestion that people should remain in a marriage that is not loving and supportive and life-giving does not fit with my belief nor my own experience.
My mother and dad were good people—- they did the best they could with what they had and what they knew—- and they were absolutely toxic for each other. They endured over 50 years of marital unhappiness. I believe that staying in an unhealthy marriage is not in the best interest of the participants, nor in the best interest of any children who are part of that situation.
Are those of us who are divorced really committing adultery when we re-marry? There are some scriptures, e.g., the one about plucking out the eye that offends, that are fairly easy to dismiss as not literal. The mythic or allegorical meaning can be determined and applied. This passage from Matthew is not amenable to that kind of re-working. What part of adultery don’t you understand?
Maybe the escape clause here is to recall to the story about the woman at the well who was going to be stoned for committing adultery. Jesus said, “Let he or she who is without sin cast the first stone.” This whole discussion calls into question whether or not the biblical teaching is to be used without discernment as the standard by which we measure ourselves. There are many “Sophie’s choices” in this world of ours. One can only hope and pray for the wisdom and courage to do the next right thing. Cowabunga!
Written by Nick Cole, sinner
Nick Cole is also a Centering Prayer practitioner, husband, and a golfer.