Gentle +xxxxxxxxxxxx, Thank you for holding out for the sacramental understanding of marriage as far deeper and more consequential than any mere contract. After 30 years of sacramental relationship, in September 2004 Ernest and I received NJ's license for our 'domestic partnership,' a legally binding contract which secures for us many substantial rights that we had never had. While those rights are important, they fade in comparison to the outward and visible signs of God's inward and redeeming grace in our marriage. We see God's presence most vividly not in any public "poster couple" kind of way, but actually in quite the opposite situations: when each is least lovable the other manifests an abiding love and concern and care which we can account for only by God's working that grace within us. It is not ourselves whom we proclaim, and certainly not our worthiness, but Jesus and his worthiness. We are but his servants. The orthodox understanding of marriage has always been that it is something the couple do themselves, with God's help. The Church may solemnize that, or may refuse to solemnize it, but the Church does not make marriage happen. The church and the state alike have always recognized that in the couple's behavior one may find grounds that the marriage was null, never really happened, even though the priest earlier "pronounced" it so. I was brought up to think `a homo' far more lowly than any of those in Lambeth or Windsor or Nottingham pronounced us to be. For the first three decades of my life, I majored in the theology of grovel. I could grovel more than any God worthy of worship would ever dare require. I don't understand why God would bless me. But I do recognize blessing when I see it, most especially the blessing of being integrally a part of this marvelous Episcopal Church, struggling together as disciples, striving as best we can to serve Jesus.. I taught in China and Hong Kong for four years in the 1980s, before the uprising at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Often my students would say in complete exasperation at one of my 'innocent' questions, "But teacher, you don't understand. This is China. The same for 4,000 years." "Ah but I do," I said; "I am from Alabama." Yet not only do I believe that God can change a persons from being self-absorbed and self-loathing into a healthy human being. I saw that miracle happen in me. I did not have to enter my mother's womb again. I had only to be born to a new understanding of myself as the child God wanted, a person whom God loves far more than I can imagine or ask for. I have also watched God perform many related miracles, such as changing strident, angry, and judgmental people into gentle, loving, and kind friends. In Christ there is no condemnation. As far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our transgressions from us, those known and unknown. That is true not just for Ernest and me, but for everyone reading this message, indeed for everyone in the whole world. Rejoice, and share your joy with absolutely everybody! Louie Louie Crew, L1 Newark. Member of Executive Council 377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel..html Anglican Pages
Please sign my guestbook and view it.
Statistics courtesy of