Weddings are often a time of reflection for me. Waiting for the bride and groom, I sometimes find my thoughts going to my own wedding - how my wife and I were then and where we are today. I think about the major events in our lives.
Several years ago, my wife commented that we had been together longer than all the years before we met. That Biblical saying that "they twain shall be one flesh" (see Matt. 19:5) has something to it. I've noticed that events in my life are not quite complete or don't seem fully real until I've shared them with my wife.
But we're often reminded of the dark side of some marriages - domestic violence and emotional abuse, infidelity, drugs, money problems, and the stresses of raising troubled children. It's hardly the kind of thing you want to think about at a wedding. And then, occasionally, a guest will share some foreboding about the couple getting married - something questionable about the character of one that may not be evident to the other. What do we do with such thoughts? Do we ignore them and get on with the celebration? Do we just hope that this dear couple won't be part of the current 50 percent divorce rate?
There are important issues here, especially when we recognize that thoughts have influence. Society is just beginning to discover this and has yet to consider its implications. Not only is there a mind/body connection, but there is a growing body of research that links thought with distant effect beyond the body. They call it distant intentionality.
Of course, this is not news to those who have experienced prayer-based healing across distances. But the Golden Rule is just as vital to our thinking about others as it is to our actions toward others. In fact, thought is action.
Morally, we should never abandon our thoughts about another to associating destructive character flaws with him or her, or to holding fearful apprehensions about that person's future.
Jesus laid great stress on righteous thought. Because of what he knew and felt about God's love, such thoughts moved him with compassion toward others, contesting and repudiating the power of sin and disease as alien both to God and to God's creation. God-inspired thoughts are God-empowered thoughts - they heal.
According to the Gospel of John, Jesus was once a wedding guest in Cana. When they were running out of wine, Jesus commanded that the ritual cleansing pots be filled with water - and it became wine. Referring to this event, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote, "May Christ, Truth, be present at every bridal altar to turn the water into wine and to give to human life an inspiration by which man's spiritual and eternal existence may be discerned" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 65).
For me, discerning a person's spiritual being is what cleanses. First, it cleanses my thinking about God. It recognizes the absolute power and presence of the good that neither creates nor tolerates evil. Reasoning out from this inspired spiritual discernment of the perfection of God also cleanses my thinking about God's sons and daughters. Can a perfect creator and loving governor of the universe possibly originate evil, or allow a sequence of events by which evil can evolve into a destructive trait or influence to subvert the marriage covenant?
As a wedding guest, I have been asked to be part of the support community chosen to witness the exchange of vows. As a healer, I can also be a witness to the fact that every effort to live out the commitment of the marriage vows goes on under the shepherding care of divine Love, which protects and advances the purposes of good, deepens the affections, and gives to life "an inspiration by which man's spiritual and eternal existence may be discerned."
as you would like them
to treat you.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor