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  • Writer's pictureL.C. Getz

The Forgotten Sacrament.

In recent weeks, I’ve heard of several Christian couples in different churches who have gotten to the point of divorce in their relationship. Although these couples are no longer together, they have remained active members in their respective churches. They continue to partake in the sacrament of Holy Communion, and claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. In this day and age, divorce has become a societal normality, but does divorce belong in the Church? I would argue that it absolutely does not ; so much so that I would advocate members departing from and speaking out against any congregation that allows divorcee congregants to remain and partake of Holy things. Does this sound excessive? It shouldn’t, and here's why: Marriage in the Church has always been a significant thing. Some say it is a sacrament, some say that it is a representation, but in either case, marriage has always been treated with the utmost care and respect in the Church. Marriage is the place where procreation takes place and allows the Church to grow in both a physical and spiritual way. In the same way that we are required to prohibit homosexual unions in the Church (since they are not Christ ordained), we are equally required to prohibit divorce in the Church (because it is a obliteration of something that is Christ ordained). Those who decide to get divorced for reasons other than abuse and/or infidelity should be removed from the church community—at least until they have mended their broken marriage. This statement comes off as sounding terribly harsh, but destruction of holy things will always have severe consequences, whether or not other people get involved. We should try and mend the broken instead of abandoning it. This is not man's rule, it is Christ’s rule, and true Christians are obligated to follow it.

The allowance of divorce in the Church should be abolished, because it is a represents an impossible abomination. In the Holy bond between Christ and His Bride there can be no divorce. Were that to happen, the Church would cease to exist, and Christ has proclaimed that this shall not happen (Matthew 16:18). It is the desire and command of Christ that Christian couples remain together. Even though Christ and His Church have had great trials and tribulations throughout history, we have never been divorced from each other. He has loved us eternally and will love us to the end of the age.

Besides the obvious theological reasons for prohibiting divorce in a Christian community, there are many practical ones as well. For one, it prevents scandal and gossip from running rampant in the community of believers. When something as shocking as a divorce occurs, it becomes a point of secret conversation and sideways glances. People may feel the need to choose sides (further dividing the community even further) or to get involved in a matter that is not their own. Divorce is like a rotten apple ruining everything it touches. To leave the problem untended, other believers might begin to see divorce as an option for themselves—this is an unacceptable idea that needs to be nipped in the bud. Another practical reason is for the strength of the family and the development of the couple’s children. Family is a pillar of Christendom, and historically speaking, children do better when they are being raised in a two-parent home with a mother a father. They feel both spiritual and emotional security, and the example of their parents teaches them how to live in a holistically healthy relationship. Strong, united families were vital of the historic church and continue to be a vital part of Christ’s body. When the family crumbles, devoutness is weakened in every member of that family.

While it might sound like overkill to leave a church because they allow divorced couples to remain as members, it is the way true Christians should be thinking. This divorce predicament in the Church reminds me of an interesting verse—“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20). I would ask the question, If someone claims to be the spiritual spouse of Christ, but rejects their earthly spouse, are they not a liar also? Bibilically, we cannot choose to leave our spouses as Christians, but we can choose to leave the church communities that allow divorce. Let that sink in, and do something about it. _____________________________________

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’ ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ ‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’ Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.’ The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.’”

~Matthew 19: 3-10

“If a man and a woman marry in order to be companions on the journey from earth to heaven, then their union will bring great joy to themselves and to others.”

~St. John Chrysostom

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