Monday, March 16, 2009

marriage as an act of freedom

this diagram is SO helpful. i always thought the head piece went
. . .
well, nevermind where i thought it went. now i know!

but, tails and head pieces aside, i am going to talk about marriage. i promise i won't become one of those people who can only talk about getting married, or wedding colors (pomegranate, coral, and gold) or dresses (champagne or ivory; white is waaaaay wrong for a girl with fair skin), or flowers (ranunculus and hydrangeas), or music (clair de lune by a string quartet), or how insane it is to have so. many. choices. (okay, i'm done now)

oh, well. you're only engaged once.

every morning at work, i try to read a daily section of this devotional by Eugene Peterson. given that it is march 17th today and i'm currently reading the selection from february 16th, you can see that my plan of being almost exactly one month behind is working.

that, or i haven't read every day. i'll let you decide.

but it is kind of nice, in this instance, not to be on schedule. yesterday, i read about 'marriage as an archetypal act of freedom,' which struck me because 1.) i don't think i've ever seen the word 'archetypal' in a devotional book before and 2.) isn't marriage supposed to be about submission and power struggles and fighting over the remote control? that doesn't sound like freedom.

according to eugene, though, marriage isn't about those things. and it isn't about those things to God, either. when i think about marrying zack, the most helpful metaphor i can think of is the relationship of Christ to the church. to the best of my knowledge, Jesus never had a party with close friends and family to celebrate their commitment to each other. there were no colors chosen, no dress to be selected, and no ceremony made of vows. these aren't bad things, to be sure, as a part of a wedding, but i need to remember that they are merely symbols, and that the flowers turn to dust if we do not first seek God's glory. Jesus came to earth to set us free by giving us these rich and abundant lives, and that is what a marriage does--enrich and make abundant the lives of both people who enter into its covenant. if zack and i do not have love, do not have trust in God's care for us, then we are like children who imitate what they see around them without understanding. but if we do have love, if we do trust, then we are set free, and we set each other free.

eugene talks about marriage as being something that will 'unself' me or you or anyone. and i love that notion, because it resonates with my desire to be un-selfed while also becoming more myself. you can't really get one of those without the other. and we can be un-selfed in so many ways, at so many times, both in deep solitude and in the midst of loud community. marriage is one vehicle, but the spirit of God is always our road.

marriage is an archetypal act of freedom. marriage partners, by leaving their natural family ties, break out of networks of necessity and predictability and at that moment become prime movers in the politics of freedom . . . every marriage introduces into society fresh energies of love and freedom that have the power to unself not only the lovers themselves but America itself. the mere introduction of these energies is not enough, however, or we would have become Utopia long since. they need continuing and perfecting. where can we get that but in Christ? a prayed and praying faithfulness carries us into the long life of love in which and by which the world will not perish.

(i love that last sentence)


Katie Miller said...

It was so good to see you last weekend. I appreciate your words, I can resonate with them. Let the planning begin! (or continue!)

Jessica said...

what in heavens name is a plastron?? that does not sound lovely, and EVERYTHING is supposed to be lovely!!

laura ortberg said...

HA I have NO idea what a plastron is. It most definitely does not sound lovely, so we will be doing away with it!