I pray that on this Tuesday you will see the grace of God, and also that others will see the grace of God in you.
I'm going to give you the joke first -- for a very specific reason -- then please keep reading.
"Congratulations, my boy!" said the groom's uncle. "I'm sure you'll look back and remember today as the happiest day of your life."
"But I'm not getting married until tomorrow," protested his nephew.
"I know," replied the uncle. "That's exactly what I mean."
So maybe you chuckled or maybe you didn't. This will be the first and last joke I will send out about like this -- one that belittles marriage as something other than one of God's great gifts. I believe (no, I know) that the biggest problem in our culture is the breakdown of the family, and that breakdown begins with the erosion of a culture of marriage. Look at what we've done to marriage: we have easy divorce, couples see no reason to get married in the first place, sex outside of marriage is rampant (over 1/3 of children in our nation are born to unwed mothers), marriage can be between any two loving people (not one man and one woman), and what is coming next is marriage in all kinds of arrangements -- bigamy, serial marriage, community marriages, etc. And our culture gets more and more debased.
Strong marriages are the foundation for a healthy society where children are nurtured and loved. And marriage is meant to be a sign to the world of the type of love Christ has for His Church. Therefore, the Church (that is us) needs to uphold and celebrate and help marriages -- not joke about it being some kind of "life sentence."
Please understand I am not standing in judgment of people who are divorced or have had children outside of wedlock. In fact, I have counseled with couples and told them that the best thing they can do at this point is to get a divorce. And I know some single moms and single dads who are wonderful, wonderful parents. But we need to understand those situations are not God's best plan for us as individuals or as a society. I could go on and on (I am a preacher, after all), but I will conclude with this -- I pray that Covenant and all the church of Jesus Christ will be a place that upholds and celebrates marriage as one of God's great gifts and as a plan for a stronger, healthier society.
Pray for God to strengthen marriages among us. Pray for God to bless all His children.
I am so honored to be your pastor.