Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marriage and the Gospel Part 2

In about three months, Chandra Annette Walls will become Chandra Annette Sugalski (I know, killer upgrade!) This is something I've been excited about since I knew a certain someone had a certain ring that was burning a hole in his pocket!

Aren't they cute?

In class last week we talked about the significance of a name. In one sense it's meaningless (wouldn't a rose by any other name smell as sweet?) but in another sense, it speaks volumes about one's sense of identity and destiny. After June 4th, 2011, the world will know that Chandra belongs with Nick and no other. She will be a Sugalski- she will take on his identity in a symbolic sense!

I am a King. I belong with Michael in a permanent way, and my very name speaks it. He is now "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh"; and even though this name change hasn't increased my status or value, it has affected the way I think of myself- and my future- in a drastic way.

So what's been blowing my mind lately is not how much I love my new last name, or that people will mispronounce "Chandra Sugalski" for the rest of her life. What has been transforming is me the realization that God has shared His name with me.

"Go unto all nations and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit..." I hadn't thought much about this passage before in regard to the name of God, because what it typically brings to mind is "gee, I should share my faith in Christ with others!" But thanks to this class I'm in, my lingering newlywed wonder, and my excitement about celebrating Chandra's wedding, I've been moved by this reality in a new way (isn't it amazing that the Gospel keeps changing us? It's not a one-time deal).

The God of the universe has pursued us. He calls us His bride (I wrote about that here) and commits Himself to us forever. But more than just that, He changes our very identity when He makes us His own. He calls us by His own name. Wow! This is much more powerful than joining the Sugalski or the King family; this is joining God's family and being identified as with God, of God, spoken for by God, forever! It's an identity change. It's a destiny change.

"You've taken my shame, called me by a new name
You've taken my pain and in it's place, You give me joy"

For a while when we sang the above lyrics at church, I didn't really understand what it meant. But I'm learning, and it's changing me.


amy marcy said...

I'm a Marcy. hey...
Doesn't quite sound as cool.

I love this line of though Hannah. It lit my soul.

Anonymous said...

It is great imagery. It would be easy to say that our ideas about God are formed by our ideas of Marriage though and not the other way around. Patriarchal society formed in the West before Monotheism did. Women became part of men's families here WAY before Christianity taught that we become members of God's family and in parts of the world that families are structured differently than they are here, their ideas of God and our relation to him are different.
Anyway just a thought. We can still choose to believe that God is the author of our religion but it is interesting to consider how much our preexisting culture determines our ideas about who God is and how he relates to us.

Hannah said...

this was a hot topic in my philosophy of religion class :) Sartre would certainly agree with what you're saying.

not a slave said...


argue back, Hannah. :-)

Hannah said...

Well, Ruthie... :)

I wasn't necessarily trying to make the point that women take men's names in marriage becaaause God designed it that way to be symbolic, just commenting on how God has used that reality in my life to teach me about Him and His realities. But, I do think it can be argued that in every human culture elements of God's truth can be found (ie. in marriage, art, family ethics, laws, etc.) b/c of God's general revelation and our image the Athenian's "unknown god" that Paul built on.

Thoughts? (Email?)

Anonymous said...

That is a tremendous example of self awareness. To speak about how an event or way of looking at something affected you is much more honest than trying to make a historical argument about the validity of the Christian religion based upon traditional agrarian marriage roles.
From an honest perspective Hannah can not offer much more than she does. On the one hand God, if He exists, would not design any culture that completely denies his basic structure of morality. This is necessary because from Hannah's perspective God has written his law on our hearts. On the other hand, if there is no God it would also stand to reason that over time societies would develop to be basically just and ordered. Societies that did not provide a basic stability for children to be raised in did not survive. So basic loyalty structures developed, these loyalty structures in the west we call marriage.
So either way there is an explanation for the same event. Some, who base their beliefs on history and observation, call this explanation anthropology, others, who base their beliefs on faith in God, call this explanation God. Either answer is plausible, and maybe the connections run far deeper than is apparent. The point is we must be humble in the face of our great ignorance.

not a slave said...

Sorry I just read this. If only they would send updates to my e-mail or something! I always forget.

Interesting topics though.