By Contributor Rev. Liv Larson Andrews
As a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I rejoice in the opportunity now offered by the state of Washington to marry same-sex couples. Not all my siblings in faith agree with me. Invitations crowd my mailbox to pray and act to protect marriage. From what, I wonder?
People of faith are hotly divided. It’s a bit stormy out.
As a married person, I rejoice in the blessing of my spouse. It is within the community, the Body of Christ, that our marriage is kept sacred and held accountable. Public accountability is the call and the gift of marriage within the church. The risen Christ, tangible in this community, protects and sustains my marriage; and will do so for gay couples, too. Isn’t this kind of community what we humans need?
It is not from gay couples that my marriage needs protection. War, protracted and senseless, shatters marriages every day. Capitalism has warped weddings into a circus-like industry. Brides and grooms of all kinds fear the task of wedding planning, thinking if they can survive that process together, marriage will be a cinch. So I propose we pray: Dear Lord, protect us from David’s Bridal.
When we lived in Chicago, my spouse and I attended an urban Mennonite church. At the wedding of two friends, we ate potluck style and offered our hand-stitched quilt squares into their wedding blanket. The next day was an all-church gathering at the lakeshore. Our newlywed friends showed up, riding in on a tandem bicycle sporting a cardboard “Just Married” sign. It didn’t take long for others to start requesting rides. Soon, everybody around was hopping on and off the goofy tandem bike with joy. My husband and his buddy, Doug, took it for a spin along the lakeshore path, cardboard sign still attached. As they passed by two old men on a park bench, they heard, “Huh? Two guys?!” and then “Don’t knock it. It’s a beautiful thing.” They hardly stayed upright they were laughing so hard.
I guess I agree with the second old man: don’t knock it. Marriage is a beautiful thing. And it’s a powerful testimony to marriage that so many want to pursue it.
Lastly, as a child of the ’90s, I feel it is fitting to cite the Indigo Girls as a response invitation to my fellow Christians: “To let this love survive would be the best gift we could give. Though it’s storming out, I feel safe within the arms of love’s discovery.”