Marriage as a Gift From God
Among the agreements at the end of the Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage Final Report, this one struck me the most:
“We agree that Christian marriage is not a “right” conferred upon anyone, but a gift given to us by God to nurture and form human beings into the kind of sacrificial, self-giving love that we see in Jesus Christ.”
I couldn’t agree more! And it is clearly before our eyes that God confers this gift of marriage not only on straight couples but also on couples of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people all around us.
Last weekend, my spouse and I attended the wedding of Vikki and Deb, two wonderful women from Oklahoma. Vikki, an administrator in the Department of Commerce in the State of Oklahoma and Deb, an accountant for a national corporation, have been together since Good Friday, 1982. They had a church ceremony in 1995 and now this civil wedding in Stowe, Vermont on April 22, 2010, which marked their 28-year anniversary of faithful love.
That God blessed them by accepting their vows then as marriage is confirmed by their 28 years of supportive commitment in which they have been hard working professionals, home owners, loving daughters to their parents, faithful church members — all those things adults as married couples do together for better or for worse.
That God gave Vikki and Deb the gift of their marriage to form them “into the kind of sacrificial, self-giving love that we see in Jesus Christ” is wonderfully illustrated by their service to the church. Vikki is ordained as a Deacon and an Elder; Deb is an ordained Deacon. After serving as the worship leader for a tiny More Light Church in Oklahoma City, Vikki helped in the difficult task of leading the congregation through the discernment process that ended with the church doors closing. This could have been terribly heart wrenching for the people and the presbytery had Vikki not poured out the fruit of the Holy Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).” The people moved to other church homes on a hopeful note.
And what strikes me as closest to Jesus’ sacrificial, self-giving love in Vikki and Deb is their courageous readiness to share their married love with all of us. They do not have to do this, but they do, knowing that we need to see how God has blessed them in marriage so that we can see it in other GLBT people too. Soon, I will share the thought-provoking Conversation I had with these two wonderful women. For now, share their joy at God’s gift of marriage!