In Sunday’s message we talked about us, the church, as God’s inheritance. We traced this theme through both Old and New Testaments, and we saw that it finds its highest expression in the New Testament where the church is referred to as the bride of Christ. I really enjoyed studying for this message, and sharing it with you. What I enjoyed most was the nearness and intimacy I experienced this week in my time with God as I reflected on those passages of Scripture that refer to marriage and the “mystery” as Paul refers to it, between the marriage relationship here on earth, and the union of Christ and his people. I’d like to share with you some of the things that I reflected upon this past week.
First, I thought about how the marriage relationship is described in the Bible. The idea of two becoming one, and bone of bone, flesh of flesh speaks of inseparable union. Our individual, biological bodies are so connected that great pain, handicap, and sometimes even death results when we “disconnect” any part of ourselves. I couldn’t help but think of couples who have ended their marriages and the devastation I’ve seen resulting from these painful break ups. Some of you are struggling with your marriages, and I am laboring for you in prayer that your relationships will become the sacred, nurturing, joyful thing that God intends them to be.
Another thing I reflected on this past week was my own marriage. I cannot begin to describe for you the great joy and fullness I experience through my union with Sherri. A few of you were members when, in our first year at SIBC, Sherri and I were separated for six weeks. It was the longest separation we had endured in twenty eight years, and I was so “lost” without her during that time. To this day, that experience motivates and energizes my prayers for deployed service members, or others who are separated unwillingly for any reason.
Finally, I reflected this week on just how vulnerable God has made himself in order to enter into relationship with us. God the Father experienced the vulnerability of sending his son into a hostile world where he was despised and rejected, scourged and crucified. God the Son experienced the vulnerability of being rejected by his own brothers, betrayed by one of his own disciples, and viciously murdered by the spiritual leaders of his nation. God the Holy Spirit has, and continues to experience the pain of our sin and refusal to listen, or follow his promptings and leadership in our lives. He is grieved and quenched over and over again, but he never leaves us. He never ends the painful relationship that he has committed himself to as our comforter, guide and friend.
Let me encourage you to take some time to reflect on Scripture and its teaching. Mediation is a lost art in our fast paced world, but the benefits are beyond description. The strengthening of our hearts, lives, marriages, families, and relationships occurs when we take time to meditate on the truths of God’s Word. Do you hear him–Almighty, Omnipotent, Creator, God above all, in all, through all — tenderly calling to you? Slow down. Stop. Listen. Take time to reflect on his great love and experience his wonderful presence in your life.