I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corinthians 7:7-9
“I remember when I was a girl, when I was in school, there was this kind old lady who came and saw us once a week. She was single, and happy, and she loved Jesus, the son of God, a man who served God and was happily single.
And I thought ‘If Jesus was happy and single, and this lovely lady is the same, then maybe Christianity is different from what the rest of the world is.'”
Dee smiled to her friend.
“Christianity is different. I suppose I’ve never thought about it that way though… you know how it is. You spend years living with a story, so many years, that you can forget parts of it. I’ve always known Jesus was single, but it didn’t click for me. I suppose that’s part of the challenge of growing up in the church, where marriage is always spoken of as the ideal.”
Shaking her head, Bec frowned in response.
“It’s not helpful, you know.”
“What’s not helpful?”
“Speaking of marriage as the ideal. Not everyone gets married, and not everyone stays married. Even if you exclude divorce, there are people who lose their partners due to accident, or illness. It’s not their fault that they’re widows or widowers. For people like me, and others who don’t fit into the boy/girl marriage situation, it’s not our fault either.
This is who I am, for good or for ill, and putting marriage on a pedestal runs the risk of making me feel like I’m less than human, that I’m somehow broken. For me, marriage has always been a good thing, just not my thing. I’m far more interested in family, and in the idea of family being something more than just genetics and legalities.”
“But Bec, you could get married if you want to. You’d have companionship then, and family.”
“I could, I could, but why? I’m happy to be celibate. The Apostle Paul even affirms it as a good thing to be single and celibate! I am who I am, and I don’t need to be married to feel complete. I have Jesus, I have my church family, I have my brothers and sisters… that’s enough for me.”
(To be continued…)
We thank you for the diversity of gifts you have given your church and your world, and that the gifts you give are always good.
We call upon you for a renewal in the understanding of what it means to be called to marriage, or to be called to singleness.
May the Holy Spirit work in us to reveal these truths, and help us to speak and act in love as we share this good news with others.
In Jesus‘ name,