My Other Self
Tuesday of Epiphany 7
21 February 2017
The home is to be a harmonious partnership between man and woman; a veritable Eden revisited. God created things to be that way in Eden. There was to be no disharmony, competition, anger, and frustration in the home created by God for Adam and Eve, and ever after, all marriages. Woman and man were to be perfect complements to each other. This is illustrated by the joke that Hebrew teachers love to tell. The Hebrew word for man is "Ish" and for woman "Ishah." What's the difference between man and woman according to Hebrew? "Ah..." Yes, of course. That is certainly true of my wife. I am the vanilla version. She is the ice cream sundae. My professor, Kurt Marquart, often said that the second version of anything was always an improvement on the original.
I told someone the other day that I would be a lesser man without my wife. She has been a true helpmeet to me. God has made my marriage a true Eden. Well, yes, we have had our "East of Eden" moments in our marriage. And yes, there was difficulty in child birth and in the labor required of humans since the fall. But the gift of marriage has remained no matter how much our sin and perversion tries to unmake the gift. Marriage becomes that haven of peace and tranquility that the Lord intended it to be originally and that, all thanks to of the divine purpose unsullied by our sin still surviving. A wife is a husband's alter ego, her other self, she is an ish-ah to his ish.
Martin Luther called the woman a "virago" in marriage. Normally, we would consider the term as it is presently used to be an insult. Luther doesn't mean it that way, but rather as a compliment. He uses the word according to its etymology to mean "a man-woman." By using this Latin term Luther is emphasizing the similarity of the man and the woman and their collateral authority in the Garden. Adam and Eve, undisturbed by sin, lived in perfect harmony in the Garden in the close harmony of complementarity. That complementarity is still the ideal except for the deep depravity that has infected every human relationship. My wife is still my other self, even though I don't always recognize it.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"This designation carries with it a wonderful and pleasing description of marriage, in which, as the jurist also says, the wife shines by reason of her husband's rays. Whatever the husband has, the wife has and possesses in its entirety. Their partnership involves not only their means but children, food, bed, and dwelling; their purposes, too, are the same. The result is that the husband differs from the wife in no other respect than in sex; otherwise the woman is altogether a man. Whatever the man has in the home and is, this the woman has and is; she differs only in sex and in something that Paul mentions 1Ti 2, namely, that she is a woman by origin, because the woman came from the man and not the man from the woman (1Ti 2:13).
"Also of this fellowship we observe some remnants today, although pitiable ones, if we look back to the first beginning. For if the wife is honorable, virtuous, and pious, she shares in all the cares, endeavors, duties, and functions of her husband. With this end in view she was created in the beginning; and for this reason she is called woman, or, if we were able to say so in Latin, a 'she-man.' Thus she differs only in sex from the head of the household, inasmuch as she was taken from the flesh of the man. Although this can be said only of Eve, who was created in this manner, nevertheless in Matthew 19 Christ applies it to all wives when He says that husband and wife are one flesh (Mt 19:5).
"In this way, although your wife has not been made from your bones, nevertheless, because she is your wife, she is the mistress of the house just as you are its master, except that the wife was made subject to the man by the law which was given after sin. This punishment is similar to the others which dulled those glorious conditions of Paradise of which this text informs us. Moses is not speaking of the wretched life that married people now live but of the innocence in Paradise. There the management would have been equally divided, just as Adam prophesies here that Eve must be called 'she-man,' or 'virago' because she performs similar activities in the home. Now the sweat of the face is imposed upon man, and woman is given the command that she should be under her husband. Yet there remain remnants, like dregs, of the dominion, so that even now the wife can be called 'virago' because she has a share in the property."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 2.23
Romans 13:1-14

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)
Lord Christ, help us to thank You every day for the gift of marriage and family. Amen.
For Scott Murray, who is teaching in Nigeria, that the students in his classes would be blessed by their time together
For the safety of all professional pilots and air crews, that they would be kept under the care of the holy angels
For truck drivers, that they would be safe as they move products and services to people
Art: MANETTI, Rutilio   Wedding Feast at Cana  (c . 1620)
Memorial Lutheran Church
©  Scott Murray 2017