Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On the Blood Covenant & Divorce

The kids and I have been reading The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread & the Gospel of Luke the last couple of weeks. MST focuses on blood covenants throughout the Bible. It very simply outlines the customs & shows examples of these in the Scripture, while continually drawing parallels between these stories & Jesus' sacrifice.

Last night, they laid a couple of paper plate liners on the floor & walked around them the way Booker explains that people walked around the two halves of the animal sacrifice in MST, exchanging imaginary robes & belts.

They giggled, and we were about to move on when my daughter asked, "What about divorce?"


"Divorce," she said. "If a covenant can't be broken, how can people divorce?"

I really do love it when they ask these deep questions, because I've found that I learn more from these than I do from anything I read.

There's the pat answer, of course. God hates divorce. It's a bad thing. It's sad.

I could have said that and moved on, but a passage from MST stuck with me. The two people entering into covenant start out back-to-back between the two halves of a bloody animal. They make a figure eight around the two halves, keeping their eyes on the sacrifice, and come together again, face to face. Part of the point, Booker explains, is that they're symbolically saying, "May God do that to me and more if I ever break this covenant."

In the end, I told the kids that divorce isn't possible because a covenant can't be broken. You can try. Two people can live in different places, but it's like cutting yourself in half. The result may be two different locations, but not life. Your insides will be like the two halves of the dead chicken. (I know it's not a chicken; somehow in our example, it was.)

I guess it's like the Garden of Eden. God told Adam & Eve that they'd die if they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. As a child, I wondered secretly that they didn't die and felt guilty for wondering. As an adult, I can see that they did, in fact, die, and that death touched them at every turn through the rest of their lives until their bodies died, too. They buried first their relationship with God, the animal He killed to clothe them, and their home in the Garden, then their son, full bellies, and peace. At last, they buried each other.

So, yeah, God hates divorce. But I think our paper plate liners that represented dead chickens that represented the sacrifice of a covenant relationship is a sobering image of the reason He's so passionate about it.

May the Lord do so to me & more, if I ever try to break my covenant.

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