Sermon on Mark 10:2-16   -   Divorce and Children
Proper 22

The U.S. Census Bureau report for the decade of the 90's was released back in 2001. Here are its disturbing findings concerning the family. Households headed by unmarried partners grew by almost 72 percent from 1990 to 2000. Most of these arrangements were men and women living together out of wedlock. Other studies have shown that cohabitation increased by close to 1,000 percent from 1960 to 1998. Households headed by single mothers increased by more than 25 percent, and those led by single fathers grew, get this, by almost 62 percent. And this next finding is astounding: For the first time ever, nuclear families dropped below 25 percent of households. That's a mom and a dad and children, the nuclear family, represents less than a quarter of all homes.

Another finding partially explains why this is happening: A third of all babies are born to unmarried women (33 percent) compared to only 4 percent in 1940. There are a growing number of women in their late 20's and 30's who are deciding to bear and raise children on their own. Our culture is teaching that this is normal. In this new world old taboos against divorce and cohabitation are disappearing. Culture is abandoning its commitment to lifelong marriage. It is predicted now, based on these trends, that about half of the children today will spend at least part of their childhood in single-parent homes.

This moral breakdown in our society has many factors: The sexual revolution of the sixties, the secularization of our society, the women's movement, even the increase in leisure time is responsible. But there is one reason more than any other for the demise of the familyódivorce.

One day Jesus is in Judea, when a great crowd came to him. In this crowd are Pharisees who decide to step forward and test Jesus. They ask, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" In other words, is it God's will that a man should be able to divorce his wife? "What did Moses command you?" Jesus asked. The Pharisees knew the answer, "Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife and send her away." It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied. His response is not so much a glimpse into the mind of God as it is an indictment on the human heart.

This morning let us look at Godís heart concerning:

  1. Divorce

  2. Children

  3. And the Family

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