Marriage or Masu: Blessing or Curse

[ 1 ] January 13, 2012 |

Janak_B.CWritten by Janak B.C. Human beings are shaped by culture and tradition. No matter how much you protest against the tradition that a person finds it insignificant, he/she carries out the same. Nevertheless, no culture is superior! Every culture and tradition has their own good and evil factors. Therefore, it should be confirmed in the light of the faith praxis.

Well, you may find different approach towards the engagement. However, I would limit myself in the biblical pattern as far as possible. Indeed there is no such detail about the engagement in the Bible. Nevertheless the New Testament begins with the context of Joseph and Mary’s engagement.  I have no intention to elaborate more about the biblical illustration rather I would try to pen down some of the vital issues that we have to undertake about the marriage and Engagement. However, I would not be a right person to write about marriage, but, of course, I have enough rights to note down about the ‘engagement,’ after all I am engaged with Thiru whom I love so much.

Engagement is a vow between a girl and a boy that they would get marry after some days. It’s a tradition of the church to give some brake for girl and boy, in case there are some illegitimate relationships of either party in prior dates which may have enough reasons to obstruct the wedding, provided adequate evidences. If so, the vow would be shrunken under mutual understanding. That’s all I understand.

What is the role of finances in engagement and wedding? I read few years back in one of the column of NBCBS bulletin where author displays his experiences of the West. The western youngsters hesitate to get engaged in the church tradition and get their wedding done in the church due to the height of the expenses that the church tradition has laid out. Therefore, they tend to move away from the church and get married beyond the church. This may not be the absolute fact for the young people to move away from the church in the West. However, it is a part of the reasons that really gives us enough room to think and articulate our approach towards the engagement and wedding.

The most distressing part is that we Christians do not understand the fact that the money we spend, does not really belong to us. In fact we are just a care taker only that God has granted us to be.

Before I attempt to elaborate more, it would be worth suggesting to young people, to read the “This Momentary Marriage,” written by John Piper. This is a classic book written by Piper which should be read by all young people, who are in verge of marriage. I would begin by Bonhoeffer’s[1] note that he wrote a month after his imprisonment and two years before his death from the military section of the prison at Tegel, Berlin, “A Wedding Sermon from a Prison Cell.” He choose the text Ephesians 1; 12.

Marriage is more than your love for each other. . . . In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, and office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.

Well, Piper starts with two points that he keeps it in the zenith of his discussion. i.e. a. Marriage is doing of God; b. Marriage is display of God. It is God himself who decrees that Man’s solitude is not really a good. Therefore, it is God himself who sets out to complete the man’s loneliness and created a central design of creation, man and women in marriage. That’s all.

My intention of portraying all these is to disclose the central idea of the marriage which we young people have to understand.  How the church has interpreted this easy and holy factor of the marriage? Someone said that God makes things easy but it is Christians that make the easy things complicate. I do not know how far it is true. You can contemplate over this.

Coming to the idea of Engagement and Wedding, there are few things that we all have to ponder about.

  1. The trend of high-expenses
  2. The trend of dowry
  3. The trend of show up

 

I have never understood (and perhaps will never) why we still have been wronged with the issue that is troubling our society. Some people debate that the cultural factor compels them to uphold some of the traditions. If that is the argument then where is our faith which is white and Chrystal! Therefore, we are not enslaved of the tradition rather we should be an adherent of the faith, without violating the tradition. For sure that a tradition can be observed and articulated in the light of the changing society. You might be surprised to know that the highest divorce rate in India is found in Kerala which is also known as God’s own country, having maximum percentage of Christians. Friends! Think for a moment. I was invited in a wedding few months back in India. To my surprise the cost of the wedding tent itself was more than 2 lakhs (IC). Think about the wedding expenses! He is pasturing a church in one of the metro cities in India. There are thousands of people on the road who are dying without getting a morsel of rice. Here we murmur that we did not a get a piece of Mutton. I wonder what Christ would have thought when we eat mutton piece, while there are people who do not have privilege for lodging and fooding. In Nepal, there should be Khasi ko Masu (mutton) in the wedding, if not marriage is unsuccessful. This is the tragedy of Christian leaders that we never think of others! What would be future road of our leader? If you possess all this customs which, in fact doesn’t have any biblical support rather we have hired from others. However, I do not intend to generalize it, There are leaders and churches which has displayed their integrity. Thumbs up for those leaders who stand with the people!

Where do we show our identity? If we do not make any differences in the world, then where do we preach our Christianity? Christianity is not a pulpit preaching only; rather it should be projected through our life and tradition. What I meant by saying all these is to display clear thought over the wedding and engagement. Marriage and engagement is something that is very personal between girl and boy. Therefore, it should be done in such a way that would provide an apparent and easy road map to the upcoming generation. Remember that someone would be in the verge of marriage after you. Church is a mixture of different cultures, traditions and standards, and in midst of all these realities we are called to be one family, sharing our life each other. You might be having plenty that you can invest in your wedding. But think about others! The next one would be waiting at doorstep and who is in verge of the marriage but may not have all possibilities like you have and struggles to arrange the wedding dress. How would then, they conduct their wedding if the church does not bother over these realities! This is my humble request that low budget of wedding does not harm our identity! We are who we are! People know us very much that we do not need to add extra flavor to highlight it. Do not spoil the tea by adding an extra sugar.

Republished in new layout 20-May-2013

Previous Comments

response to comment below
written by Janak B. C. , January 22, 2012

Dear Jiwan jee,

I do appreciate your concern! You are correct in some extent thinking that why cannot we contextualize it. There is nothing wrong in doing so! I won’t mind if my fiancée would be ready to wear Red Saree in the wedding. But I do not want on impose to her that she should wear Red Sariee. She should have complete freedom in honoring God. Some girls want to see themselves in a white dress in her wedding, not because that they hate Nepali cultures or Red Sarees. But a kind of thoughts or ideas are engrossed that white symbolizes the bride is virginal. In fact I would say that the white wedding dress predates Christianity, in Ancient Rome white symbolized fertility rather than virginity. Whatever we do, we do for the glory of God. I would advise you to read some of the books from Paul G. Hiebert who is Anthropologist by profession and a famous mission writer who talks about Culture.

There is still a phenomenon in our Christian culture that white symbolizes the holiness and virginity. In thinking so, if churches are encouraging to wear white dress, I have no problem. But if couples want to wear cultural dress in the wedding, I would prefer that they should be allowed to go ahead. There is nothing as such rule that it should be compulsory.

In regard with the marriage timing, the question should be asked to the Pastors. I don’t think that marriage is conducted for formality only. It is one of the most reverence events that church gathers and glorifies God together. Appreciate your thoughts!!

Janak


written by Jiban shakya , January 20, 2012

In our friends churches we do have induced rule of wearing white dresses for girl and black for boy, cant we wear our nepali dresses? And only some minutes is given in marriage ceremony for reservation if any, i think its just formality. Pls give ur opinion.

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