In this time of crisis MFL Westminster have been inviting various groups to share their resources to help support and sustain marriage and family life.
Our thanks to Brian and Maureen Devine of Two-in-One-Flesh for this reflection
Marriage Matters, we all believe that. In Archbishop Bernard Longley’s Foreword to the reflections Marriage Matters (MM) he wrote “As we know, the Holy Scriptures feed and nourish our faith and help us to grow in our relationship with God and one another. It is for this reason that I am immensely grateful to all those involved in Marriage Matters who have collaborated on this series of scriptural reflections.”
Our small group Two In One Flesh, published I am With You (IAWY), a trilogy of books of couple reflections on the Sunday Scripture Readings, liturgical years A, B and C. MM are ‘snippets’ from these, freely available from our website (twoinoneflesh.org.uk), for use weekly in parish newsletters.
Archbishop Bernard’s words above were for this year (Year A) written when he would have had no reason to consider a Coved-19 pandemic, or how relevant and encouraging God’s Word, with reflections for couples, would be during these strange and scary times. For us, and many others, they’ve fed and nourished our faith and helped us to ‘grow in our relationship with God and one another’. Our country’s lockdown started during Lent, continuing now over Eastertide. Some examples from then up to the Sunday which is at the close of Marriage Week (17th May):
The 3rd Sunday of Lent. The gospel communicated how an ‘all knowing’ Jesus was with the woman at the well. He knows each one of us intimately, and the couple reflection for that day was: ‘Jesus’ message to the woman at the well reminds us of His first miracle at Cana where He changed water into wine. Today, He promises us “living water where we will never be thirsty again…a spring inside…welling up to eternal life”. When His grace is poured into us, into our marriages, it can overflow, strengthening us, reaching out to others.’
The 4th Sunday of Lent was about Mary, Martha and the death of Lazarus. A very relatable scenario for many families grieving the loss of loved ones through the corona virus. A section from the reflection in MM that day was...‘At such times, Jesus weeps for us as He did for Lazarus.’ Easter Sunday’s text told the well-known story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, picturing Jesus as He walked along beside them, listening, allowing them to be and to relate their stories. Many people are desperately needing listening to right now, all with their stories, and all wanting to be accepted just as they are. The reflection for that day captured that need: ‘Jesus loved each of (the disciples) exactly as they were, just as He loves each of us.’ Do we?
Each Sunday's Reading and Reflection, can stir something anew for all couples - Thomas, doubting that Jesus lives, Second Sunday of Easter, with the reflection commenting: ‘Sometimes, like Thomas, we can be stubborn, with an attitude of “I’ll believe it when I see it” creating a sense of separation and distance. But together we have the power to stop, reflect, be forgiven, and begin again.’
For many there's a sense of ‘Groundhog Day’ during this lockdown. The Sunday before Marriage Week (10th May, Week 5th Sunday of Easter), reminds us that Jesus is preparing a place for us. God’s Word repeatedly tells us that unity is our goal, we are all connected and are One, somehow, despite our weaknesses, trials and tribulations. Our ultimate end is to live our life with Him; in the meantime, we all have work to do. Jesus says: (still 5th Easter) “To have seen me is to have seen the Father”, and the reflection reminds us: ‘In our married life, through the visible sign of the way we love each other, when people meet one of us we can be a sign that ‘when seeing me, you see the one I love, in me and with me’, thus emulating Jesus’ relationship with His Father’.
When we reflect on the Sunday Scriptures, we read the reflection from IAWY, and then write our response to what we ‘hear’ God saying to us about our marriage relationship. It can be challenging but it's always loving, and at times inspiring. What about you? PLEASE, WILL YOU RECEIVE THIS AS AN INVITATION?