The Epistle of Jeremiah the Prophet to the Modern Church – ’Til Death

…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.  I often say to my wife we’ve done the worse, the poorer, the sickness, maybe for this part of our lives we can try the better, the richer and the health. The truth is, regardless of whether we are able to turn the tables, we are committed to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. There are some days I am sure that my behavior puts ideas in my wife’s mind about ways to fulfil the ‘til death do us part, part.

Marriage is a very serious contract.

Most vows include something to the effect, at the exclusion of all others. Simply put, I am yours and you are mine and no one else’s until one of us stops breathing permanently. It’s an all in sort of contract that is only ended when one party ceases to exist, or it should be. I think we all agree that there are times when the contract is broken by one party releasing the other party from their duties. In the cases of an affair or abuse, the ‘til death part becomes ‘til the death of the agreement brought on by one party not being able to continue because of the actions of the other party. This is what most would agree is taking the vows seriously.

Do we still take wedding vows seriously?

In our world there is no such thing as a good reason to break your wedding vows. This is because there is no such thing as a bad reason either. For the vast majority of people these vows are a throwback to tradition. They are a romantic nod rather than a binding contract. A wonderful thing to say and even promise but things might change and that’s okay. To have and to hold, from this day forward, until there’s someone better, richer, and/or healthier, to love and to cherish, till my differing desires do us part. Marriage being solely based on an emotion leading to commitment in other words being “in love” rather than commitment leading to the action of love regardless of if you feel “in love” has turned what God intended to be permanent into a high school infatuation based relationship (hint: often the most “in love” someone ever feels is when they feel safe because they experience acts of love in their relationship).

God takes His vows seriously.

With such a watered down version of the marriage contract, it is difficult to use it as the metaphor for relationship with God. We, not God have made marriage about getting what we want. The convenience of a relationship that continues ‘til death do us part has led to one side keeping their side of the agreement while the other takes advantage of the unwillingness of God to break His commitment. When we cheat on Him, abuse the love God has given us, He still offers us the opportunity to remain in the relationship. Even when God in His perfection divorces us due to our adulterous flirtations and affairs with the world, He is still willing to take us back.  

During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord.

The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. Go, proclaim this message toward the north:

“‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 3:6-13 (NIV)

With whom is the modern church having an affair?

What is the modern equivalent of stone and wood? Is it money and politics? Entertainment and feel good stories? Could the church itself be the idol that we have left our first love to hook up with? When we return to God is it with all our heart or just only in pretense? We complain that our countries are drifting from God and our message no longer carries any weight. We long for times past when the culture and the Christian shared the same morals. Has God issued the modern church a certificate of divorce?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s