On March 15, 2015 the Buffalo News published a story about an arranged Indian wedding that ended with the bride walking away from the wedding festivities before the final pronouncement of marriage. Her reason? The groom could not correctly answer the question: “What is 15 plus 6?” When he replied 17 she called off the marriage. She judged him as uneducated and there was no convincing her otherwise. The bride’s family came to her defense and accused the groom’s family of misleading them regarding their son’s educational status. According to the local police, who were called by the groom’s family, the incident caused ‘quite a flutter.’ Matters were finally settled when the respective families returned the gifts and jewelry exchanged prior to the wedding.
Both funny and sad, this story is fascinating with its layers of cultural and societal expectations gone awry. It is an eastern drama that leave us westerners bemused and confused. Or does it? If we distill this story down to one of humanity’s basic concepts we should not be surprised by such an outcome. There is judgment and there are tests to pass in this world in every time and in every place under the sun. Judgement is part and parcel of our interactions with each other despite our modern protests of “don’t judge me,” “don’t judge me,” and “don’t judge me”. “You don’t have the right to judge me.” We know how the refrain goes because each of us have either said it, felt it, or been accused of it.
So, does anyone have a right to judge? And a related question: If someone has the right to judge does it follow that there will there be a judgement day? I think so and apparently Jesus cried out about it. Text reference can be found in the Gospel of John, chapter 12, verses 44-50
If you have been a follower of my blog it will come as no surprise that I am impressed with the articulation of faith and culture presented by the pastor and writer, Tim Keller. I credit his book, “Walking with God in Pain and Suffering, “ as instrumental in helping me through an intensive 9-month cancer treatment last year. Recently, I have been listening to podcasts of Keller’s sermons from his six thousand member church in Manhattan. One message, given on February 18, 2015, called, “Accepting the Judge,” I found very provocative as he explained the need for judgement. To tease you into listening I offer the first two of four propositions that he makes. Here are the first two: 1) Why we need a judgement day; 2) Why we can’t have a judgement day. If I listed propositions 3 & 4 they would spoil the sermon for you so listen to the podcast here. (Click podcast on lower left of the page.)
Post script: After listening to the podcast I would appreciate your comments. I won’t publish them but would like to work them into future posts.
Confessional post script: I first wrote this post with the following: “The groom could not correctly answer the question, what is 12 plus 5? He answered 17 and then she walked out of the wedding ceremony.” I caught my error before I posted. I’m grateful the only question asked me at my wedding was, “Do you take this man to be your husband?”