Passages: Is. 5:1-10; 1 Corinth. 6:18-7:11; Matt. 19:3-12
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Եսայ. Ե 1-10; Ա Կորնց. Զ 18-Է 11; Մատ. ԺԹ 3-12
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
During my seminary studies, I had opportunities to serve in various communities and capacities. As a student I had the opportunity to serve as a chaplain and I was accepted into the chaplaincy program of Columbia New York Presbyterian Hospital. More specifically, I was assigned to adult rehab and Pediatric ICU. As part of our ministry, much like doctors, we were on call as well wherever we were needed. Often times, during my visitations with families in the hospital, they would ask every kind of question. Yet, many times the words they would use were in such a way that they were trying to ask more than what was being said and so as ministers we were taught how to listen to more than just the words. For example, one day I received a call to go to the maternity ward where, there was a still birth. The family just sat in silence and appreciated my prayers. But as I was leaving the husband turned and asked, “do things like this happen often?” On the surface it seems like a simple question. Yet, what the father was asking on a deeper level is, why did this happen to my child? Questions like this are very profound and we all have them in various aspects of our life.
Why certain events take place, why don’t we succeed, why is the world the way it is? We all have questions and as children of God, we are encouraged to take our questions in prayer to God. St. Paul says in Heb. 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In our time of need, in our time of questions and uncertainty we should come to God, ask, inquire, and seek. Yes, though our question might seem simple in words yet, God knows on a deeper level what it is we are asking.
However, today’s Gospel puts a unique perspective on how we ask our questions. The Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce, is it right? And Christ answers them with scripture, to which, they ask a follow up question, “then whey would God allow it.” Jesus here reveals to us a very important characteristic of God. When we ask questions, when we act and make decisions and we fail, or fall into sin, we often do what? Blame others, blame God, blame our environment, blame society, blame the government, the education system, etc. We look for any and every possible reason as to why we failed, why we fell into sin. Yet, Christ here is clearly saying, what about you? What about your heart, your mind, your prejudice, your approach? The Pharisees were looking to trick Jesus by asking why God would allow divorce when it is it wrong. Yet, on the deeper level, which Jesus shows them, they are trying to justify their actions, their choices, their sin when saying “look God allowed it.”
In the same way my dears, when we come to God and ask certain questions, why are we asking? Are we trying to learn, grow in our faith, understand the will of God? Or on a deeper level are we trying to justify our wrong doings, are we trying to find someone else to blame? Coming to God and asking questions is never wrong, but what kind of life is it we are trying to live through those questions? In 2 Peter 3:18 we read, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In other words learn, inquire, desire to be in Communion with God by coming to Him with open hearts, and a repenting heart. But do so by, turning away from evil, leaving our egos, our prejudice, our anger, our desire to justify our sins and our ideas of blaming others – leave all that, turn it away and trust in God because whether it is questions about marriage and divorce, sickness and health, work, education, love and relationships, brokenness or healing, God is there to heal and guide us towards His glory through His grace.
This is what is means to be in Communion, to come to Him with a repenting heart, with an honest hunger to learn and grow – not to justify our actions. We are free to choose, free to think, free to make decisions and sometimes it those decisions are difficult and the answers we seek are hard to wrestle with. Yet, God’s light is there to illuminate our minds and heart to understand our wrongdoing, our brokenness. And God’s light is there to warm our hearts, melt the ice that sin has captured us in to know that even if we are broken and hurt, and lost – His love will never abandon us. We are each invited to draw near to Him, be in Communion with Him because it is through God’s grace and love that we are lifted from the ashes, healed from all brokenness. It is for this reason that Christ came and became knowable to us, so that we would be able to ask our deep questions and learn that God’s love does not justify sin, does not allow darkness but overcomes it when we trust in Him fully.
Let us pray for curiosity, pray for genuine desire to grow in faith and let us never allow sin to dictate our life. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, may our eyes be opened, our ears learn to listen to the answer that God has for our life. And may our lives reflect that love and hope no matter what darkness we may face. Glory to God for all things, Amen!