Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Smug marrieds and true beauty

We've just had a marriage enrichment weekend with our church. It was brilliant in so many ways. Life should not all be marriage weekend's but it was a brief moment of grace that was much needed.

Along the way we came across this quote, from a well known American pastor:
"One of our culture's powerful lies - fuelled by pornography, sinful lust, and marketing - is that having a standard of beauty is in any way holy or helpful. God does not give us a standard of beauty - God gives us spouses. Unlike other standards of beauty, a spouse changes over time. This means if your spouse is tall, you are into tall. If your spouse is skinny, you are into skinny. If your spouse is twenty, you are into twenty. When your spouse is sixty, you are no longer into twenty, but rather into sixty. And if your spouse used to be skinny, you were into skinny, but now you are into formerly skinny. We are to pour all our passion and pursuit of sexual pleasure into our spouses alone, without comparing them to anyone else in a lustful way."
How counter-culturally liberating.
I'm into my wife, as she is. Yes!
When we got married I was into 23 year old.
Now I'm into 33 year old, mother-of-two.
And so on.
No comparisons.
My beloved is mine and I am hers.

Human marriages are echoes of a greater reality - that Jesus is our divine husband who gave himself for his people. That God's relationship with humanity is that of a marital union between Jesus and the church (and adoption by his Father).  So, actually, gospel ministry is marriage preparation and marriage enrichment... Calling us to Christ and to enjoy him. Married or single, everyone is invited to become part of Christ's bride.

I've been reading Psalm 45:1, a Psalm of Christ that declares him to be the most handsome of all people... to be Most Beautiful, to be Beautiful, beautiful. 
My beloved is mine and I am his.

There's nothing in Christ's appearance to attract us to him.
Most people miss his beauty.
Yet by the light of the Spirit, a Christian cries: 'Beautiful, beautiful.'

We're drawn by his heart.
We're drawn by his love.
We're drawn by his crucifixion.
I'm into crucified.

And He is into church. Gandhi might've said I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians. Christ himself would differ strongly - there might be little attractive about the church but Christ clothes her with many-coloured robes, she is beautiful to him. Christ is into church.

Christian, you're into crushed and crucified, because death in him is life in us. Humbled. Thankful. Never with cause for smugness just a sense of overwhelmedness at his love and his beauty.
"Fullness of divine in Thee I see, Beautiful Man of calvary"
"He fought at Golgotha and secured his bride's person... he'll fight at Megiddo to secure her property.... and in between he woos and wins his bride"

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