What’s Happening Wednesday: The Fellowship of the Ring

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

J.R.R. Tolkien

I went to Sunday school this weekend. I was late, but I was in the building, Bible in hand and ready to take notes.

My life and schedule are complicated. Sunday mornings are the only time I can stay in bed past sunrise. In order to get to church by 11:00am (Church is supposed to begin at 10:45) I have to start moving about 7:30am. We rarely make it before Praise and worship is over. I can’t imagine what time I would have to get up in order to get my family out the door in order to be on time for Sunday School.

But Sunday morning’s lesson was about marriage and submission, and well… I need all the help I can get in one of those areas, and I have strong aversion to the other. (I need help, and if you say that you don’t, I either think you’re crazy or seriously mistaken.) Plus, I knew who was teaching the class I planned to attend. I knew she would wrestle with the text as I had done, and I could not wait to hear what she had to say.

So I went, and I listened and I learned. But what I learned had very little to do with the text, and more about the examples I saw in the sanctuary. There was the couple who had been married for nearly 50 years. I saw their non-verbal communication and honestly was a little perplexed about whether or not to be offended by his gestures and her prompt responses. I saw the couple struggling with balance, as they wondered which of them was carrying the heaviest load. I saw people who have been married much longer than me, who still struggle with whether their relationships measure up to the biblical standards. I saw a couple of husbands drive their wives to the front door, so they wouldn’t have to walk in the rain. I saw wives wait in the foyer as their husbands parked the cars, so they could walk into the sanctuary together.

I learned that the real key to marriage isn’t Ephesians 5:22-31. It’s actually 5:21.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The fellowship of the ring isn’t just about the fantastic adventures of fictional characters. Marriage is more than just walking down the aisle and exchanging rings. It’s about real people trying to figure out how to live in community with one another, two people choosing to walk together, even when they feel like their paths are diverging.

Mama Radford

P.S. I hear the Sunday School lessons for this quarter were a real doozy. I’m sorry I missed it…but if anybody wants to do a small group study for this unit, count me in…As long as it’s not on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. 🙂 I told you my schedule was complicated.

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