Rousing Her Radiance: Day 4
Radiant Jesus Prepares Us for Himself
We come into being through the spousal union of man and woman, and we are redeemed by that fullness—we the Bride of Jesus, a people set apart for Him, and He our faithful Bridegroom. St. Paul in Ephesians 5 employs marriage (something we grasp a little) to launch us into the mystery of the Church, how Jesus loves us into chaste surrender (something we grasp less).
Don’t try to figure this out! It’s a mystery at which we can only marvel. Suffice to say our God and His Church is binary, intractably so. We know ourselves and we know Him only through the essential realities of male and female. We mess with man for woman and woman for man to our peril. A non-binary Gospel is no gospel at all.
Before the great Mover and Shaker Himself, we are all subjects in need of saving love; salvation implies submission. On that base, we arise as men and women who can reveal Him in how we love and dignify our sexual counterpart—submitting to each other in holy reverence (Eph. 5:21), with man taking the servant lead and woman responding in turn.
That image (Imago Dei) is broken, to be sure: cast down but not destroyed. We ourselves have cast it down. Before we demonize others, we must admit our own demonization—the quiet and brazen ways we have diminished our own sexual value and others’. In truth, we who Jesus has brought in from the margins of sins against chastity and identity clarity (LGBTQ+-identification) need the clear witness of Bridegroom and Bride. We need it more, not less, the closer we come to Jesus and Church.
The Bridegroom saves us to the degree that we admit we are a messy Bride capable of messing up others. How beautiful the Mercy that meets us in our mess. For this we must be roused by the binary form of things, the original plan for humanity. Our form. Paradise lost yet rediscovered in Jesus. Don’t mess with that. Messy ones need it.
Today, churches around the globe debate how to best serve the sexually ‘marginalized.’ Church, in your deliberations, don’t mess with the beauty of man for woman, woman for man. That original dignity orders, heals, and sanctifies the broken, while pointing to where we are all heading, the wedding feast of the Lamb.
‘Forgive us, Jesus, for dumbing down the truth of things. As You love us unto freedom, clarify for us the freedom of the original pair. As we face the gap, fill us with Your mercy. May hope for shame-free nakedness be ours.’
‘Father, we thank You for Jesus who established the Church on a Rock against which hell will not prevail (Matt 16:18). We pray for every Christian leader to build on Her firm foundation of sexual clarity and integrity. Father, unmask the deceiver and divider of Christians and unite us in one Spirit. As weak members of Christ, we ask for truth to guide our pursuit of sexual wholeness, for grace to sustain it, and for spiritual power to transform us. May we reflect the chaste radiance of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16) to a lost and hurting world.’