Sunday, January 20, 2013

Anna Karenina: Part V, Chapter 6

Flax Blooms, a Bride Goes to Her Groom - Maria Primachenko
Flax Blooms, a Bride Goes to Her Groom, Maria Primachencko

I've been writing about the wedding of Kitty and Levin for some time now. The entire ceremony is found in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 in Part V of Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. This segment of the novel is so richly intertwined with Scripture and presented in such a radiant, reverent manner that it has become a truly delightful meditation for me! I have felt eager to return to it again and again.

Today's passage is found in Part V, Chapter 6. When I started "Classics and the Bible Sundays", I promised to keep the posts short. In an effort to stick with that plan, I'll break today's passage into two parts. This week I'll cover the portions highlighted in red, orange, and yellow. Next week I'll cover the green, blue, and purple.

We are nearing the end of the ceremony. Levin and Kitty have already plighted their troth to each other. The crowd leans in for close inspection as the bridal pair moves toward a pink silk mat. There is a saying that the first to step on the mat will be the head of the house --
Neither Levin nor Kitty were capable of thinking of [the saying] as they took the few steps toward [the mat]. They did not hear the loud disputes that followed, some maintaining that he had stepped first, and others that both had stepped together.
{Awww . . . It's significant details such as this that keep me in awe of Tolstoy's genius.}

They prayed:
'Endow them with continence and fruitfulness, and vouchsafe that their hearts may rejoice looking upon their sons and daughters.'
They alluded to God's creation of a wife from Adam's rib, 'and for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh,' and that 'this is a great mystery'; they prayed that God would make them fruitful and bless them, like Isaac and Rebecca,JosephMoses and Zipporah, and that they might look upon their children's children. 'It's all beautiful,' thought Kitty, catching her words, 'just as it should be,' and a smile of happiness, unconsciously reflected in everyone who looked at her, beamed on her radiant face.
They alluded to God's creation of a wife from Adam's rib, 'and for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh . . .
  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

 'this is a great mystery'
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:32

 Isaac and Rebecca
 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her . . .
Genesis 24:67 
Starting with this post, my Scripture links will take you to each passage in full context rather that to the individual verses. I highly recommend that you read them! Today's links are especially rich. Explore the story of Creation, the mystery of Christ and His Church, and the touching love story of Isaac and Rebekah.


*All Scripture quotes are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.

(Source: BibleGateway. Image Source: WikiPaintings)

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