Still life in red, © Rob Stoner 2018
In fact, what I think Jesus is really saying to them is that your question is irrelevant. In terms of the loving, compassionate, inclusive community which I am trying to create, your question has no currency.
At this point in his ministry, with his encounter and death in Jerusalem staring him in the face, Jesus isn’t really interested in questions of marriage and divorce. He is interested in working hard at building up that community of faith and trust and hope which we have come to know as the kingdom of God.
My support for saying this comes from the little pericope with which our reading concludes this morning. It involves Jesus allowing little children into the centre of his group and referring to them as the key to the door of the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:1-6 (NRSV)
He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.”
We pray firstly this morning for the people of Sulawesi. None of us can quite comprehend what it is like to lose home, family members, community in in the surge of a wave.
We also remember people from other regions around the world devastated by earthquake, cyclone in the past few weeks.
We pray for those who have lost family members, may they find solace in their grief.
We pray for those who have lost home and all that makes sense of life, may they find comfort in their time of loss.
We pray for those who are attempting to deliver aid – shelter, food, clean water, medical support, may they be strengthened in their work.
We pray that in and through all these people, the Spirit of God may move bringing the comfort and hope that only God can provide.