November 1, 2012 (Psalm 4:7)
‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine grain abound.’ (Ps. 4:7)
The fruit of marriage is children. Even marriages that are childless are oriented toward the possibility of new life. Marriage is so much more than a cozy, sensual tax- break for two people who need each other. It is about reproducing new life, and caring for that new life in sickness and in health.
The first fruit, and the greatest joy for Annette and I are our four amazing children. How can they each be so alike and yet so distinct? Each phase of their evolving lives poses new possibilities for them and parenting challenges for us. How much is too much? Are we too involved? Too little? Lord have mercy on us, parents who must discern the season!
What delights us most is that our kids want to engage with us, well into their twenties. ‘What? You actually want our presence and input?’ These four continue to grow and so do us parents who have vowed to God and to each other to stay true to what God had in mind when we joined our bodies as one flesh.
‘You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.’ (John 15:16)
‘Clarify for us, O God, the purpose of marriage. Forgive us for divorcing companionship from procreation. Revive the joy of bringing forth new from our marriages. Grant us grace to tend to that life in a way that pleases You. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and to other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.’