You weren’t made for brokenness and loneliness and isolation. You were made to be in communion. And that’s because you are created in God’s image. So, that begs the question: How does God “know” Himself? What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
God knows Himself as Persons in Communion. In eternity past, before time, before creation, God is perfectly Himself without need or depravation. He is complete within Himself. He is not motivated by necessity or any lack in His Person. God needs nothing. God is Community and Unity without change. Pretty heady stuff, I know. But if you are ever going to understand why God made you in His image, you need to know this stuff! You were made for Communion and Unity.
Look at our lesson today in Mark 10:11-16:
The Lord said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.
Jesus makes some very plain statements about divorce and remarriage here. It seems cut and dried, well, because it is cut and dried! We were not made for divorce and broken marriages. We were made to be wise enough to both choose wisely in marriage AND then see the struggle of marriage as a life-long ascesis meant to form the character of Christ within you! But, guess what, we still blow it, don’t we? We still struggle with faithfulness and cross bearing in our relationships. We hear the horror stories of bad relationships that actually put lives in danger and we use these worst case scenarios as a way to show just how bad things can be.
And you know what, we have to deal with the reality that marriages end. They do all too often. Why do you think 2nd marriages blessed in the Church are of a penitential nature and not the “crowning” glory of a 1st marriage? We have to deal with reality, but we can never ignore the intended purpose of our Creator to make one man with one woman for one lifetime the standard we hold. This ideal is meant to teach us about our original purpose in our relationship with God. We are meant to be faithful to Him all our lives!
But then the scene seems to abruptly change to focus on children. Some may ask “Why the sudden change of subject?” But that would be missing the point of the connection. The disciples are upset with these parents bringing their children to Jesus for his blessing. They think they are protecting their Teacher, but Jesus reacts in a different way.
The Lord reinforces His wisdom about relationships by revealing that it is a child-like embrace of God that makes all other relationships possible and healthy! It is the ability to hold on to that simple devotion and trust that makes me able to risk the scary vulnerability of authentic relationships, whether it’s a friendship or even a marriage. My childlikeness preserved through a focused faithfulness to God regardless of the circumstances strengthens my ability to be faithful to God and others for a lifetime.
So, today, do you know how to keep a childlike soul? It flows from the exercise of your will to choose to love God first in your life. And the only way to foster and strengthen that ability is through the wise disciplines of the Faith lived on a daily basis. That’s why we must daily be Orthodox on Purpose.