Just about the time our granddaughter, Megan, was to get married, she and I were talking about wedding vows. I said (with tongue in cheek) sometimes I was tempted to have the couple about to be married take an oath of office. She said it might not be a bad idea.
Before going on, let me say, and I’ve probably said it before, the very act of marriage is something of a mystery. It has very few constants. It seems to be as much biological (hormones) as it is emotional (love). In some societies it can be an arranged marriage. In that case, love, whatever that means, can come later, if it does. In those situations duty is more important than feelings.
In “romantic” marriages it can be both of the mind and the heart. By “mind” I mean the two people get to know each other as well as they can over time, while also having emotional (hormonal) feelings toward each other. Both are important.
There is also the “blindness” of love, as in “Love is blind.” That’s when the emotional part of the relationship blinds one or both of the parties to the possible dangers ahead in the relationship.
There is also dependency, or maybe co-dependency. (I’m not an expert on marriage) I’m talking about the case that is something like adopting a dog from the pound. Once you get involved there is a sense of responsibility. The dog may bite you but you feel a sense of responsibility for its care since you brought it home. After all, if you don’t take care for it, it may be put down.
Or the dog may convince you that you deserve to be bit and that you’re lucky to have found a dog that would go home with you. While we’re at it, the dog may not even like you that much but you are offering it food, shelter and security. In a relationship that’s bad news.
There’s also unexpected surprises. There are things that can be so deeply hidden they don’t come out until after a number of months or years. That’s one of the reasons some folks say it’s better to live together before taking the final step. However, as far as the record goes, those marriages fail at the same rate as the others.
So there I am, looking at two people about to enter into marriage. All the bases may have been covered as far as I know, and yet I have no idea how it will work out. Of course, many do, and I’m happy about that. On the other hand I also know for some, the words are just words that have to be said in order to satisfy some tradition. They may be saying what they’d like to see happen, but don’t really care if it does or not. What to do?
That’s where the oath of office comes in. Would it make marriages work? Hardly, but it might make it more serious. So I humbly offer my “Oath of the Office of Marriage.”
“Irwin Chase Mason, place your hand on the Bible and repeat after me. (I’ll leave out the response, but you get the picture) I Irwin Chase Mason–do solemnly swear–that I will faithfully execute the office of husband–in the state of marriage–and that to the best of my ability–preserve, protect and defend–the vows, promises and principles of marriage–so help me God.”
“Virginia Mae Browning, place your hand on the Bible and repeat after me, I, Virginia Mae Browning–do solemnly swear–that I will faithfully execute the office of Bride–in the state of marriage–and that to the best of my ability, protect and defend–the vows, promises and principles of marriage– so help me God.” I thought about saying, “In the holy estate of marriage” but the Bible never calls it that.
Do I believe such an oath would make marriages better? I doubt it, but it might make me feel better. But it’s not about my feelings, it’s about what the couple feels about the union we call marriage.
I don’t have the figures, but I’ll bet that marital and relationship problems are the leading cause of death and violence in the United States. That being true, it shows the deep potential for both the good and the bad to happen in marriage.
In the traditional marriage ceremony there is a line that says about marriage, “It should not be entered into lightly or unadvisedly.” Not bad. But as far as I’m concerned, that needs to be taken care of well before the ceremony.
CONCERNS: Jenni Cullum’s cataract surgery has been postponed. Melanie Almeder, Melanie Beaver’s teacher, is being treated for cancer. Leena Bolin’s mother, Helen Niklas was able to be out Sunday. Isabelle the little girl who has leukemia. Ron Matney’s nephew, Mike Breeding had a heart attack. Julie, the Phlegar’s friend in Texas who has had a stroke. Also Polly Altice and her son, James, Evelyn Hammer, Chris Phlegar, Jo Wagner’s mother, Jewell Racer, Teri Burks, Trixi Long, Lureline Ferguson, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Roger Fisher’s nephew (cancer) Tim Elder, those in Haiti and Chile who have endured earthquakes, Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 8-13
Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-15
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22
OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH
Monday: Matthew 6:1-18
Tuesday: Psalm 96:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-34
Thursday: Luke 23:26-43
Friday: James 1:5-18
Saturday: Romans 8:26-39
THE WOMEN’S RETREAT
From Erma Williams: Sweet Life Cafe’: A retreat for ladies who want to retreat from it all. Sweet Life Cafe’ will begin Friday evening, April 23 and conclude mid afternoon on Saturday, April 24. All main activities will take place at the church annex. A “sleep over” is an optional activity to take place at Leena Bolin’s home on Friday Evening. Erma Williams needs email addresses of any ladies outside of the Roanoke family that might be interested in taking part in this activity, to ensure she receives a personal invitation. The cost is $25 for pre-registration by April.
A NEW CLASS
If you’ve noticed that Erma Williams’ name is on for nursery duty each Sunday, it is because she is starting a new class for the nursery children during the worship service. The description is as follows. Play n Worship for Toddlers, Two’s and Preschool: They’ll toss bouncy balls in the air to make rain for Noah’s Ark. They’ll clang building blocks together to make thunder-and learn how God calms a storm. They’ll hug and hold baby dolls-and hear about God’s great care for them! Each Play -n-Worship lesson uses objects from toddlers and twos’ everyday world-plus play, fun, stories and songs. This will start right away.
CITY-WIDE VBS TRAINING
On April 17th there will be a city-wide training seminar for Vacation Bible School. It will be here in the annex. See Erma about details.
If you like Gospel Music, Janet Paschal and The Collingsworth Family (both of which are artists with Gaither Homecoming) will perform at the Jefferson Center on March 26. A flyer is on the downstairs bulletin board.
FUND RAISER FOR LITTLE ISABELLE
The family and friends of little Isabelle, the two year old being treated for leukemia is having a fund raising spaghetti dinner at the Roanoke Moose Lodge on Catawba Road, March 13, at 5 PM. There will be a silent action, a Christian comedian, and Christian music. See the bulletin board.