Biblical Text: John 15:9-17
Full Text of Sermon
Finding poignancy in pop songs is pretty tough. Lady GaGa flirts with it before retreating to camp and a great bass line. There are the ever so earnest indies. The ingenues like Adele whose combine the virtues of youth and a healthy supply of talent, but that usually doesn’t age well. Something close to of the moment (I’m a pastor with three young kids, so cut me a little slack) – “somebody that I use to know“. One of the pop lines that has stuck with me is from Matchbox 20’s Real World. The Chorus, after having the singer imagine that he’s rainmaker, sings about the real world – “Please don’t change, please don’t break. The only thing that seems to work at all is you.” I remember thinking when I first heard it that the song feels the fallen world. A bunch of people looking for something that works knowing that everything eventually breaks.
That is where the orthodox understanding of marriage comes in. Everything in this fallen world breaks: towers and titans, marriages and friendships, toys and trinkets. And when we move past bargaining- “Please don’t break” we move toward acceptance, at least if pop psychology is correct. Acceptance in the realm of marriage looks like what we have – a landscape full of people that we used to know, maybe even those living with us.
But acceptance is not the endpoint of the Christian story. We might accept that things break, but not for the purpose of excusing them or making the brokenness normal. If we say the brokenness is normal, we lose the gospel. Instead we teach repentance – I’m broke. And we teach restoration – Christ makes all things new.
In regard to marriage we could teach acceptance, but that is what Moses did, that is what the law does. And the law permits divorce. In this day and age it is permitting a whole bunch else as well. But Jesus didn’t teach that. If he did, we wouldn’t have the cross, because that is what Jesus did for his bride the church. And you don’t do the cross if there is another way out. We are broken. We live in a broken world. But Christ was not. Jesus fulfills the covenant that marriage is a glimpse of. The bridegroom shares 100% of himself with his bride. The crucified one is the only thing around here that works.