Today on the occasion of our eighth wedding anniversary, I’m recommending the best talk on marriage Arthur and I have listened to in a long time. John Haralson is the pastor at Grace Church Seattle which I found because it’s got a song that we’ve been enjoying on Cardiphonia’s Hallel Psalms album, and it turns out it’s the church Wendy Alsup goes to. He gives this sermon together with his wife Linn.
The title of the talk really gives away why it’s so good. This isn’t a talk about divvying up responsibilities or who makes decisions but about being united as one because you have the same Head, the Lord Jesus.
The text of ‘Pursuing unity in marriage’ is Colossians 3:18-19 and the Haralsons start exactly where they should, with a discussion of the household codes and how Paul’s version is profoundly counter-cultural, and dignifying for women. Submission is defined as respect, with a dose of trust and vulnerability, and the instructions for husbands move away from hierarchy and towards a love which has no place for selfishness. I can see why their church is called ‘Grace’: the theology and experience of grace shapes this preaching.
The pastoral sensitivity is striking and married with a low-key, straight talk style. These are complementarians you’ll like!
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.