Skip to main content

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"


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…