In the dark ages, before communications became instantaneous and ‘multiplicitous,’ curious things happened when a young man’s ‘fancy turned to love.’ Some were motivated to drive hundreds of miles on a Friday evening to see their beloved, only to make the return trip on Sunday evening (and this, every weekend for months!). Some discovered the magic connection of writing paper, and penned pages and pages every week, in hopes of a scented epistle in return. Others waxed eloquent in brave, if clumsy, nascent attempts at poetry, even songwriting. Still others discovered the benefits of florists and chocolatiers. They might even have been found, à deux, sipping coffee at a local haunt until the wee hours of the morning. Ah, first love! So beautiful! So all-absorbing! So adrenaline-frenzied!
Human nature all but guarantees the unsustainability of such ardor. Once sleep-deprived and cash-depleted, a gradual slackening takes place, with the transition to the solid commitment of marriage followed by its many everlasting promises. There is first the honeymoon stage, then the intentional work of building upon those early agreements, creating something other, something more, something richer, something even sweeter for its durability, its honesty.
We shockingly encounter Jesus as a bridegroom with the church as his bride. Scripture includes many love letters, many affirmations of his great love, much perseverance in wooing his bride, even demonstrating the greatest love, laying down his life for his loved one. We read that a wedding banquet is being prepared, a feast to end all feasts, celebrating the unity of Jesus and his radiantly beautiful, spotless bride, his Church.
Today, Jesus loves the Church, his bride, who is in the preparation stage for that ‘wedding ceremony.’ She is not yet completely ‘in the world not of it,’ not yet ‘one, Father, as you and I are one,’ not yet showing ‘by the love they have for one another’ that ‘the world may believe that You, Father, have sent me.’ He will stop at nothing to bring her to perfection according to his Father’s great plan of Salvation! His passion is unflagging. His patience knows no boundaries. He will continue inviting her and confronting her ‘til that day. “Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakeable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” Hebrews 12:28,29 MSG. What love is this! We’ll pick up here tomorrow, 10 AM, 3 PM UK, 4 PM, FR. PD
FYI: the US ‘falls back’ tomorrow.