As we’re studying through Colossians, I decided to take some time to ‘park’ around Colossians 3:1-17. Because of life circumstances in the life of our church, I thought it would be appropriate to engage in a topical series (six week) entitled, “God’s Ethics of Intimacy and Sex.” Of the 400 adults at Quest, I would guess that about 70-75% are single. Every year, we have at least a dozen weddings. This past week, I even learned that we’ll be having our first Interbay and Quest marriage. This couple took the ‘church merger’ way too literally. Like any community, we have seen our share of both incredibly beautiful and broken stories in relationships. And so, I hope these sermons have been both appropriate and helpful to our church community. I’ve discovered that when you’re speaking to a larger group, you can afford to be brutally honest. I’ve sensed that brutal honestly lends itself to a deeper understanding and experience of God’s irrational mercy and grace.
All six sermons can be accessed on the Quest website. Yesterday, I very much enjoyed teaching about intimacy and sex in the context of marriage. Over 80% of women preferred (according to a survey conducted in a Dear Abby poll) a good conversation on a couch rather than sex with the man they loved. For men, ‘lack of sex’ is cited as the single biggest factor in the breakdown of their marriage. This = tension. Both women and men long for intimacy and when they’re unable to have those needs met (whatever they might be), it’s possible and at times, likely, for our ‘beauty’ to submerge and our ‘depravity’ to emerge. I don’t say this to justify the choices that people make but statistics indicating that 53% of all folks will have an affair at one point in their lifetime is gutwrenchingly painful.
As my wife and I celebrate 10 years of marriage, we look forward to gathering with other folks at our church to renew our vows. The worst thing that the church can do is to beautify ‘marriage’ in such a way that it isolates anyone and everyone whose marriage isn’t perfect. Umm…that would be everyone. So, everyone has to go around pretending how perfect their marriage is when in fact, we all know that it simply isn’t perfect. One person said it pretty accurately: marriage is the closest thing to heaven and the closest thing to hell…
I’m tempted to regurgitate my sermon here but I’ll just share this one thought that sprung up on me yesterday. Marriage, as God intended, is the greatest synergy God has ever created. When a man and woman, leave their parents, and embark on the journey of being “one” as husband and wife, imagine all that can be created not only for the the joy and pleasure of the two but for the glory of God.
I recently discovered Mr. Robertson McQuilkin’s resignation speech from 1990. Each time I listen to it, it resonates deeply. He was the president of Columbia International University in SC when his wife, Muriel, was struggling with Alzheimer’s. He felt it both necessary and a privilege to take care of his wife.
…In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in joy as well as in sorrow, in successes and failures, in prosperity and in adversity. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”