Karen and I attended a wedding recently where the officiating pastor gave the opening greeting which included the phrase … “marriage is a sacrament.” That word sacrament exploded in my mind. Because we, as Protestants, do not talk about marriage being a sacrament; and I often feel we should. So, with my newly piqued curiosity I decided to ask … why don’t we? So let’s explore this idea together a little …
A theological dictionary defines sacrament as: “a rite or ceremony instituted by Jesus, and practiced by the church as a means of, or illustration of, God’s grace.” Our English wordsacrament comes from the Latin sacramentum, which means to make holy, or to consecrate.
The Catholic church maintains seven sacraments, one of which is matrimony; Protestants hold to two: baptism and communion.
But let’s think through this again … Marriage is a ceremony that reflects and represents the love and grace of God. God created male and female in His image. He designed the coming together of a man and woman in marriage to reflect or to represent His loving nature and character.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 that it is a mystery … but our earthly marriages are to reflect to our world … the union of Christ and His Bride, the Church. We are to model His unconditional love and forgiveness for our family, friends and neighbors to see. They are to see how God loves them by watching how we love each other.
But it is not just a means of showing the world who God is … it is a relationship used by the Holy Spirit to draw us, as husband and wives, closer to God and each other.
Let’s be honest God often uses our spouses to “make us holy.” When we resolve conflicts we often confront the sin issues in our lives. Our selfishness is readily exposed in our marriages. We must seek God’s forgiveness before we seek forgiveness from our spouses. That brings us into experiencing the grace of God!
So, if sacraments are created human symbolic actions that make available and point to God’s presence and power … let’s work at making ours a sacrament.