Saturday, June 7, 2008

More on the "S" Word. . .

My last post pretty much dealt with the fact that submission is a fact of life- the life God created for us to live that is marked by being in service to others. I have always found it odd that popular Christian culture seems to put a great deal of emphasis on servitude but not on submission. However, I do believe that is a topic for another post.

I also mentioned a bit about the Order of Creation. This is a topic that my husband and I have discussed at great lengths. The topic itself fascinates me. It is so foundational to our existence and yet so easily dismissed in modern society. God created woman for man, not man for woman. Woman was created for man to be a helper and man is responsible for the woman. When sin entered the world and Adam and Eve disobeyed God, Adam was the one who was attributed with the fall of mankind. It was his duty to teach and educate Eve on the things that God commanded so that she would not err. He did not fulfill this and, as a result, sin entered into the world. Even before the Fall, God had order in His creation. It was corrupted after the Fall, but it is still the order.

Since this is the order of things, what does submission look like? Can my husband come home, demand a beer and a hot dinner be brought to him while he sits on his plush recliner and tells me to rub his very smelly feet while he watches football and complain that the house isn't clean enough, I don't look pretty enough, and holler at me to get more of the chores done around the house because I'm a woman and that's what I do? Is that the submission God expects from women?

Certainly not! That's not submission; that's abuse and not God's plan for a healthy marriage. Christ charges husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25). How did Christ love the Church? Read the rest of the passage. Christ gave his life up for the Church. Christ sacrificed everything, including His life, for the Church so that she would be holy and blameless in God's sight. He gives the Church teachers- pastors- to train her up so that she knows the way of the Lord. Christ fulfilled the Law where Adam could not and did what Adam could not do. Christ is the giver of good gifts to the Church: Word and Sacrament. The Church receives those gifts not on her own merit, but on Christ's.

I can already hear that little voice saying, "Christ is perfect and my husband is far from it! Submitting to Christ is one thing- He can't let me down. But to submit to my husband? He can let me down. He has let me down, and he'll probably do it again. He's no more perfect that I am!" To this argument, two points are important. One, it doesn't matter how sinful the representative is that God has placed over us- God has placed the husband over the wife as His representative. This is the order that God has made and we dutifully follow it. Two, this should not be a point of fear if the man's life is one of faith in Christ.

A devout Christian man will gently correct his wife when she errs and graciously accept correction from his wife when he errs. Thus, the life of husband and wife is always covered in repentance of mistakes and forgiveness being shared. In this, as mentioned in the previous post, a man and his wife are equals. They equally forgive, reprove, and love each other. However, it is the head of household's duty to be responsible for the teaching of the faith, the well-being of the family, and the care-taking of the family affairs. This doesn't mean the woman is free to do as she pleases. She shares the work and helps him in every way possible, as is her vocation. It might be to make sure there is a hot dinner waiting for him at home or to teach and rear the children in the knowledge of the faith- whatever works for each family. However, the roles the man and his wife play to make the family work best for their situation doesn't mean that their God given vocations have changed. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and the wife should submit to her husband.

How does this relate to why I keep my head covered with a scarf? Tune in for part three. . .