The Bride of Christ
April 29, 2018 | Lisa Degrenia
Passage: Ephesians 5:21-32
I, _________________, give myself to you to be your husband/wife to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others until we are parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is my solemn vow.
The Church as Bride of Christ: Problems with metaphor
- Difficult for those who’ve been disappointed by marriage - Never married, divorced, betrayal, abusive marriage
- Difficult for men to relate to "bride"
- The phrase “Bride of Christ” not found in the scriptures but there are plenty of passages which use the metaphor
All metaphors break down. Bride of Christ remains a powerful reminder of our relationship to one another and to Christ
Ephesians 5:21-32 NRSV
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Be subject = Voluntary, free choice, submission, our power under the authority of another, cooperating, collaborating
Ephesians 5-6 describes the mutual submission of husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters
- Previous verses discuss being filled with the Holy Spirit by singing Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs & giving thanks to God the Father in name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Trinity, the fullness of God, First Creed)
- Out of Reverence to Christ- I/We submit to Christ as His follower out of reverence for Christ first submitting to us. Jesus made the ultimate submission in his life, death, and resurrection.
Notice verses 22-27
- The Love of our Lord Jesus Christ is deep, pure, sacrificial
- Look what Jesus gave up to make us his own. Compare with Philippians 2. Poor, homeless, misunderstood, glory to humility, abused and tortured, obedient to the point of death, even on a cross
- Jesus making us his own- making us holy, set apart, like in marriage the couple is set apart only for each other
Vs. 26 Cleansing with the washing of water by the word
- The powerful presence of Jesus in the sacrament of baptism and in his Holy Word- Cleansing, new birth, water for growth, Jesus’ tears, Jesus washing feet
Vs. 27 Jesus presents the church to himself in splendor radiant (Remember, you are both beloved and the light of the world)
- Jesus, the Bridegroom, presents us like a Bride unstained, unwrinkled, unblemished, innocent which literally means unwounded. By his stripes, we are healed. He took the wounds that we might be unwounded.
28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.
We leave our earthly labels and tribes to be at one with Christ
- This isn't head knowledge, it's down to the bone, the blood, skin in the game, an intimate union
- This is a relationship of devotion, fidelity, one spouse, one Lord. Jesus first loved us that he may be our first love
We the Church, the Bride, recommit to Christ the Bridegroom, using the Wedding Vows
We give ourselves to you Jesus, to be your Bride, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, knowing we are not parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is our solemn vow.
Jesus calls us and gathers us in beautiful and unique ways. Come along as we explore Biblical images of what it means to be God’s people.