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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






08 March 2006

Marriage in Lent


Q: If urgent, can people marry during Lent? Also, some tell me that since my father recently died, I must wait three years from his death to marry. What does the Bible say?

A: Restrictions on marriage were among the abuses in the Christian Church condemned by the Reformation. While it’s certainly a good practice to maintain Lent’s solemn, penitential observance by waiting to marry until Easter, we must remember that Lent is a human invention designed to focus us on our Savior and His suffering on our behalf. God’s Word doesn’t restrict us to or from certain times and seasons; at the same time, under ordinary circumstances, I encourage people to marry outside the penitential seasons of Lent and Advent. So if Lent is the only time, marry in Lent.

The extended period of mourning must be a regional or national cultural issue there in Guntur, India. Christians have no prescribed mourning periods involved in either marriage or remarriage. We try to do those things which will not offend others, but are not bound to any legalistic code.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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