On Marriage in the Church
(An Anglican Exploration of Marriage in Church and Society)
- The Anglican Church of Canada affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching as found in Holy Scripture and expressed in the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer, that marriage is a lifelong union in faithful love, and that marriage vows are a commitment to this union, for better or for worse, to the exclusion of all others on either side. This union is established by God’s grace when two duly qualified persons enter into a covenant of marriage in which they declare their intention of fulfilling its purposes and exchange vows to be faithful to one another until they are separated by death. The purposes of marriage are mutual fellowship, support, and comfort, and the procreation (if it may be) and nurture of children, and the creation of a relationship in which sexuality may serve personal fulfilment in a community of faithful love. This covenant is made in the sight of God and in the presence of witnesses and of an authorized minister.
- The Church affirms in like manner the goodness of the union of man and woman in marriage, this being of God’s creation. Marriage also is exalted as a sign of the redeeming purpose of God to unite all things in Christ, the purpose made known in the reunion of divided humanity in the Church. Cf. Gen. 1:27–31 2. Eph. 5:31f. 3. Eph. 1:9f. 4. Eph. 2:11–16.
The changing of water to wine is Jesus’ first public act in John, the inaugural “sign” of God’s presence in the world through him.Present at the wedding are Jesus, his disciples, and Mary.
This miracle is subdued and quiet. It is not some flashy show of divine power. Only a few people know what actually happened. Faith is the purpose of the miracle, as it is in all the miracles in John’s Gospel. Faith is the reason John wrote the book (20:31). Faith is why we pray. Christians are called to participate in the transformation and renewal of society. We should communicate that faith through Jesus Christ. Good works are by-products of faith. Faith is not a matter of coercion but of wonder at the miracle of Christ. It is an overwhelming gift in which the Giver Himself resides.
God is responsive to people’s needs. God’s heart is larger than the stone jars. In Christ, the very nature of glory is being redefined. It is glory with a silent purpose and aim, to create and maintain faith in Christ Jesus who responds to human need in ways that seem hidden and mysterious, but whose deeds are open to the eyes of faith.