This is the last post of my little anniversary series. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about for a while; it just makes the most sense when framed in the context of marriage.
Chris and I were not similar creatures when we started dating. He was driven, disciplined, calm, and level-headed. I was driven and the similarities seemed to stop there. Discipline and self control have always been huge weaknesses. I was emotional, volatile, and sometimes irrational (sound like a barrel of fun, huh?). We did have fun, so I think we have always had the same sense of humor and adventure and family. But there were some glaring gaps in our personalities initially. And so when the pastor read in our wedding Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh,” nothing magical happened to fill in those gaps. We came into our marriage bringing a lot of differences, which made for some fiery evenings, to say the least. But God’s first mention of the institution of marriage in the verse above emphasizes unity and the notion of becoming one flesh – and I happen to believe He means more than the obvious and literal here.
Over ten years of marriage, we have kinda morphed into the same person. We like to do the same things, eat the same things, listen to the same things, go to the same places. I am much more disciplined than I have ever been, and he’s a better communicator than he once was. It’s this very interesting dynamic of retaining our own identities while becoming one flesh – same goals, same values, same passions, etc…
Recently I came across this concept in a different context in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (8:1) in the Bible (also appears in Judges 20:1). Ezra 3:1 says, “When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem.” A nation, God’s chosen people, assembled as one man. Not as one tribe, but as one man. What in the tarnation does that mean? I think it means just what I explained about me and Chris. They were a nation compiled of many differences: preferences, occupations, how many sheep they owned, etc…, but What united them was so big that it allowed them to show up to worship as one man. Same goals, same values, same passions.
We see this same sentiment in Acts 2:44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” This is shortly after Jesus is crucified, and the Church is brand new. What unites them is so big that it allows the believers to have everything in common.” Same goals, same values, same passions.
So, what’s the takeaway? God can bring people together in such unity that whatever is still different no longer matters. He did it for me and Chris. He did it with the Israelites. He did it in the new Church (the Bride of Christ, mind you).
He has not changed. He still wants to do it in our marriages, in our nation, and in His Church. And I thought the unity candle was just a sappy illustration for a wedding…