Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 10: Year 1
“As for the matter about which you and I have spoken, the Lord is witness between you and me for ever:” (1st Samuel 20:23).
Obviously there was a strong relationship between Jonathan and David. The nature of their relationship can be argued. What I want to focus on is how we latch on to people outside of our biological family and make strong, life commitments with them.
These strong lifelong commitments happen in many ways. There is marriage, there is career choice, there are fraternities and sororities, there are healing clinics such as AA and others where strangers establish bonds of trust that could never happen in some family relationships.
There are also our Church relationships. Church relationships happen when we decide that we want the Lord to be witness to the bond we make with another. Such a covenant needs to be equally important to both parties. It doesn’t work if one of the two is an atheist or of a different faith tradition. Oh, they can be friends, even business partners, but they will not be bound in an unconditional, agape love as were Jonathan and David. Again, Jonathan tells David, “As for the matter about which you and I have spoken, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”
Perhaps the best biblical examples of two people committing themselves to each other can be found in the words of Ruth to Naomi, and Tobias to Sarah in the Apocrypha of the Bible.
Ruth says to Naomi her mother-in-law, in whom she saw God working, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1: 16 and 17)
In the Apocrypha of the Bible we find the only actual marriage vows in scripture, Tobias prays with Sarah; “Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors, and blessed is your name in all generations forever. Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you forever. You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the human race has sprung. You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.” And they both said, “Amen, Amen.” Then they went to sleep;” (Tobit 8: 5 to 9)
And to this I too say, Amen, Amen.
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John