Our oldest son was invited to a birthday party on Friday (we had a professional day so there was no school) at the park, and the other two kids wanted to tag along for the fun. The birthday boy has a younger sibling the same age as our second, and we knew that sibling would be there so it wouldn’t be too awkward. But somehow… it was awkward anyway.
The kids did their best to play together, they all had a slew of games that everyone knew how to play and so they played them. But the older kids of course would vastly outclass the younger kids, and the younger kids would struggle their little hearts out just to keep up. The games soon just fizzled because either the older kids would too easily dominate and the younger kids made it much too boring.
This left the younger kids just wandering around as the older kids took their independence and wandered away from the action. Like, far away.
I expected this, I guess, as I remember my older siblings not wanting me around when that age gap got a little too big. And I remember doing that to my younger friends that weren’t in high school when I was or didn’t have a license when I did and I just didn’t want to hang around them anymore. I expected it, but I was still saddened by it.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t anyone’s fault. The older kids weren’t being mean or intentionally exclusionary in any way. They were just… different. Which we all know just happens once kids near their teens and everything is just “ugh, I can’t even…”
In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be the case. In a perfect world, we’d all hold hands and share and care and be merry. In a perfect world, all would be loved and none would be excluded.
But we aren’t in a perfect world. Yet we are all still loved (but maybe just not always by each other).
I’ll be honest, I struggled with these texts, particularly the first lesson and the gospel, because they seem kind of awkward. The first reading talks about the woman being the “helper” of the man, which makes her sound like a subordinate. We of course in this day and age don’t see women as subordinate to men, so when it comes up in our scriptures, we’re just reminded why people outside of the church find the bible so antiquated.
And then there is the gospel lesson on divorce, talking about how divorce is so against God’s plan for us, to the point of anyone getting remarried is committing adultery. We don’t like that either because we all know (or we are) people who are divorced and remarried, and we don’t want that action to be considered as “against God”.
But the thing is, I think God’s plan was a perfect world. A world in which people weren’t expendable for convenience. A world where all are seen as valued. A world that didn’t hurt, didn’t abuse, didn’t dehumanize others for the sake of their own wants and desires.
Since that world isn’t the world in which we live, then God made a new plan. One that is full of grace and forgiveness. One that gives healing and restoration. One that is recreated as perfect in spite of its imperfection.
And that is the world that we’re in. That is how God provides for us. And that is the means through which God re-humanizes the dehumanized, and brings us all back into wholeness.
I know, the pain of the world is tough. But I am thankful that there is healing in God’s grace, and a strength that we can lean on through our communities and faith. That while there can be much pain, we can see and trust that there is also much restoration found in God’s name.
Thanks be to God! Have a great (albeit a bit wet) week!