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Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

We focus today on the Epistle, Ephesians 5:22–33, by reading about God’s purpose for marriage. Our devotion is from United in Christ: Preparing for Christian Marriage.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 29:11–19
Psalm 14
Ephesians 5:22–33
Mark 7:1–13

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Contemporary views about men and women tend to blur all distinctions, to define equality as sameness. Traditionally, people have understood that men and women are unique, that their differences are what make life interesting, that we do think, feel, and experience life in our own respective ways. A man and a woman complement each other. It is not a competition. It is not about superiority and inferiority. It is about celebrating our differences and embracing those ways in which we help and strengthen each other. In the garden, when the Creator states it is not good for the man to be alone, He does not create another man. He makes the woman from the man. She is delightfully different and yet the man’s true partner.

Some people are quite content to live a single life, but the majority of us sense that something is missing. Of course, many people misinterpret their internal longings and attempt to fill the vacancy with money, pleasure, adrenaline, or mind-altering substances. These things appear to offer moments of relief, brief episodes of well-being, but they do not endure, and the feelings of emptiness that follow are greater than before.

Ultimately, worldly pleasures and acquisitions do not give lasting contentment. That peace, shalom, that wholeness, comes only as we are incorporated into the Body of Christ. We are baptized into Christ, and now we have oneness and fullness from Him. That is the spring of joy that never goes dry.

Even after emphasizing the sufficiency and necessity of Christ to attain a fulfilling life, human beings are created to dwell in close communion, to find fellowship with one another. The intimate bond that exists between a man and a woman in marriage is especially blessed and rewarding to the heart because of its close resemblance to the self-giving nature of God in Christ to His Bride, the Holy Church. Together, male and female, they are called God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:27).

Prayer

Dear merciful Creator, we know that every good and perfect gift comes from You. You generously provide all that we need to sustain this body and life. Most especially, we thank You for having called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light, for redeeming us from death and condemnation through the atoning sacrifice of Your Son upon the cross. Thank You for the Means of Grace, the Gospel as it comes to us through Baptism, preaching, Absolution, and Communion. Apart from You, we can do nothing, but You have made us Your children and promise us forgiveness, life, and everlasting glory. . . . Please smile upon us and be gracious to us so that all that we do may bring glory to Your holy name. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Devotional reading and prayer are adapted from United in Christ: Preparing for Christian Marriage, pages 46–49, 55 © 2010 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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