At one level, the rulings are not surprising. The Supreme Court is famous for following opinion and trends rather than leading it. In these cases, a majority of our society has already accepted the logic and moral perspective of the “marriage equality” movement. The Supreme Court has simply ratified a change in the culture that has already occurred. The anthropological issues we are confronting – Where do humans come from? How do we live? What are we for? questions of desire, design and destiny – have been with us for centuries.
Having placed these rulings in their proper context, the Court’s rulings this week cause us to reflect more deeply on what we believe and hope for. To the degree one believes Judeo-Christian marriage is a) a common good for society, b) a sign from God intended to reveal his loving intentions for the world and his people, and c) a cultural achievement (heterosexual monogamous marriage must be taught, embodied and transmitted generationally), then yesterday’s ruling has enormous implications for the life and witness of the Church. To the degree we at Truro believe we are called to promote the common good of marriage and to teach and embody the significance of Christian marriage, we must try to grasp the missionary moment before us.
For the past five years, Elizabeth and I have done extensive teaching and ministry on the matter of marriage. In the past four years we together have led nearly 200 couples through the Marriage Course, we have counseled dozens of others at church and home, we have hosted three conferences on Marriage and Family and we have taught the Theology of the Body to show that our convictions arise from the deepest currents of Scripture and the Church’s Tradition. It appears to me that God has been preparing us for this moment, so we can reach out to our culture in love and humility.
The probing questions I lay before us now are these: why have we, for a decade, been on this journey of proclaiming the goodness and divine origin and purpose of marriage, teaching marriage and rebuilding marriages? Even now fourteen members of the parish are in Bovolone, Italy learning more on the sacred work of marriage. Could this work be, in part, to prepare us for such a time as this? Is God showing us our new missionary purpose and suggesting how we might build bridges of love and understanding to those who don’t know the reality of this “great mystery” (Ephesians 5)?
Just as I believe God calls and equips individuals, in part, through the particular trials and tragedies they endure, I believe God calls churches and communities of believers through their collective trials. God is the ultimate recycler. Everything can be redeemed (and I mean everything) when placed on the altar of his perfect love and our humble obedience.
Your brother in Christ,