In sickness and in health
In a recent comic strip, Arlo ponders: “If either of us gets it, the other probably will, too, you know.” Janis answers, “I know”, and then places her arm on his as both look over their shopping list. Their conversation made me think of wedding vows. Though there are many variations, many vows still contain the promise to love and respect one another for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until God separates the couple through death. During this unprecedented time of Covid-19 vows once shared between married friends have been pondered in new ways.
Each marriage is unique. Only one unifies millions, symbolically, but powerfully. In the fifth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul exhorts married Christians to abide in mutual love that is as strong and selfless as that of Christ toward the Church. He writes that it is, indeed, a mystery that Christ joins in union to the Church, as a husband to his wife. Our Lord is and will be faithful to us, His Church, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.
And we, the body of believers that are the Church have been faithful to Him. Communicating His message of grace, mercy, and love in new ways, the work of the Church continues. We serve the person who increasingly feels alone and in fear of getting ill, or not being able to pay outstanding bills, in the hope that they might find Christ’s peace through our sharing of the gospel. Or so the growing number of grieving hearts might be comforted, even as their sorrow is compounded by feelings of despair and guilt at not having been able to be with their loved one as they died. As the body of Christ we continue to affirm the healing power of forgiveness that can strengthen all marriages, especially as spouses realize they have not always been the ‘better half’ for the other. United with parents who struggle in unexpected teaching roles, we have been listening and sharing that if they love their children through it all, their little ones will have learned lessons will truly make them wiser. Thank you to all who together are doing the work of the Church.
A marriage therapist has helped save many a marriage by suggesting that each spouse daily share a compliment as a sign of gratitude. When couples were perplexed about what to thank the other for, the therapist bid them to start noticing the little things usually taken for granted. Thinking of Paul’s words, I thought, what if we are symbolically gifting Christ to whom we belong by sharing our thanks with our congregations through our kind words, our prayers and our donations?
Some have noted how worshiping together in the virtual world makes it is easier to forget to contribute as we would each Sunday. If this time of uncertainty has made it hard for some to do, know others step will carry you as sisters and brothers in Christ. We are grateful for all the gifts shared, whether they be monetary or spiritual – they all bless the work of Church! We long to remain faithful to Christ and one another – in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer – thus fulfilling the promises we have made to our lifelong Friend, Jesus Christ.
In His love,
Foto: Baiba Rēdmane