God offers us more creative possibilities than we realize. Opportunities to become creation’s caretakers and find purpose are open to us. Divine boundaries and rules can liberate us. Holy gifts of rest and companionship let us grow. When we struggle to see, God helps us envision.
Some Pharisees with limited vision try to test Jesus. They ask him if divorce is lawful. After some back and forth, Jesus says, Because of your hardness of heart [Moses] wrote this commandment for you (v. 5). When Jesus shares God’s vision for marriage, his words move beyond legalism and flow like poetry. Those who test him want more rigid, less lofty insight.
I hear Jesus say, “Because you couldn’t understand God’s imaginative possibilities, you received the hardness of the law.” Is this Scripture about marriage? Sure. Is it about more than marriage? Of course! Marriage is one of a myriad of relationships we face, perhaps the one most stigmatized, scrutinized, and marked by the glitz of a big party.
Marriage is a covenant. I harp on this when I officiate weddings (perhaps to the dismay of those lovebirds). If marriages were only legal contracts, they would break when the terms go unfulfilled, or be voided when one party fails to uphold their end of the deal. Not so with covenants that cover better or worse conditions, like sickness or health, wealth or poverty. The grace built into our covenants reflects the grace we experience in our relationship with God.
So, rather than approaching this Scripture with the Pharisees’ limited vision, let’s envision what Jesus tells us through it. Our relationships with God and each other need not be reduced to laws chiseled in stone. They could be grace-filled covenants through which God shows us possibilities we would otherwise miss.
When has God’s grace helped you see possibilities that you had overlooked?
God, you enter into covenant with us, being present even as we falter. Teach us your ways. May we grow to be more and more grace-filled. Amen.