December 10, 2007

The Bridegroom is not harsh with His bride

Some thoughts from my notes for last Sunday's sermon that didn't quite fit with the rest:

“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them" (Colossians 3.19)

These words are more than relationship advice. They are a divine commandment. A husband--no matter how orthodox his theology--does not please the LORD when he is harsh with his wife. Orthodoxy does not excuse persistent, willful sin.

But there is also a deeper Christological reality in these words. In this divine mandate to husbands, Holy Writ reveals how Christ treats His bride, the Church. He loves her. He is not harsh with her.

True, He is often disappointed with her, for she does not love Him in return. She does not submit as she ought, she wanders after others, seeking joy elsewhere. But still He is not harsh. He calls to her again and again, preparing a home for her, never ceasing to love her. “Nothing can pluck you from My hand,” He says. “I will protect you, love you, feed you, cherish you, forgive you.” All this is what Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom, does for His bride the Church – us.

"Soon," Advent tells us. "Soon, the Bridegroom shall call us, 'Come to the wedding feast.'" Come, Lord Jesus!

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