Year B Proper 22 Mark 10
Divorce and Children
Mark 10:2-16

The U.S. Census Bureau report for the decade of the 90's was released in 2001. Here are its disturbing findings concerning the family. Households headed by unmarried partners grew by almost 72 percent from 1990 to 2000. Most of these arrangements were men and women living together out of wedlock. Other studies have shown that cohabitation increased by close to 1,000 percent from 1960 to 1998. Households headed by single mothers increased by more than 25 percent, and those led by single fathers grew, get this, by almost 62 percent. And this next finding is astounding: For the first time ever, nuclear families dropped below 25 percent of households. That's a mom and a dad and children, the nuclear family, represents less than a quarter of all homes.

Another finding partially explains why this is happening: A third of all babies are born to unmarried women (33 percent) compared to only 4 percent in 1940. There are a growing number of women in their late 20's and 30's who are deciding to bear and raise children on their own. Our culture is teaching that this is normal. In this new world old taboos against divorce and cohabitation are disappearing. Culture is abandoning its commitment to lifelong marriage. It is predicted now, based on these trends, that about half of the children today will spend at least part of their childhood in single-parent homes.

This moral breakdown in our society has many factors: The sexual revolution of the sixties, the secularization of our society, the women's movement, even the increase in leisure time is responsible. But there is one reason more than any other for the demise of the family—divorce.

One day Jesus is in Judea, when a great crowd came to him. In this crowd are Pharisees who decide to step forward and test Jesus. They ask, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" In other words, is it God's will that a man should be able to divorce his wife? "What did Moses command you?" Jesus asked. The Pharisees knew the answer, "Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife and send her away." It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied. His response is not so much a glimpse into the mind of God as it is an indictment on the human heart.

This morning let us look at God’s heart concerning:

  1. Divorce
  2. Children
  3. And the Family

Bystanders or Standbys
Genesis 2:18-24

Crime scene investigators (which we now know as "CSI") acknowledge that if all the witnesses to an event report exactly the same information there is only one conclusion to draw: They are lying. Human individuality, the uniqueness of individual perceptions and eye-witness, the unrepeatability of each person's own experience, makes it impossible for any group of individuals to see and report an event with the exact same language and coherence. If each rendition becomes a simply repetition - something is amiss.

The creation narratives found in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 should never be thought of as a scenario of "Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2.”"Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 do not offer some kind of contest to see whose world view wins. Instead, the biblical text is concerned to convey as much truth, to throw as much light as possible, into the relationship between God's creativity and our creaturely experience of creation. To discern the divine in our midst takes more than one voice.

What makes Scripture such a vital, life-giving force in our lives is that it is not a "mantra" of repetitious, unchanging, unvarying same-old-same-old series of words. Scripture lives because it tells a story, the greatest story ever told. It tells the ongoing story of the Creator's amazing, glorious, unmerited engagement with creation, and the unique, loving relationship God established with the created ones known as "ish" and "ishah, " "man and woman."

Compared to Genesis 1, Genesis 2 is far less concerned with creative order and far more concerned with revealing the creation of something more than birds and trees and creatures that creep and swim. Genesis 2 is about the creation of relationships. The relationship between other earthly creatures and human beings. The relationship between men and women. The relationship between God and humanity... presents Leonard Sweet