Tag Archives: Bridegroom

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

October 23: Pierced for Love

‘Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.’ (Eph. 5:22)

I will admit: facing my own brokenness in the Church and offering that vulnerability to fellow congregants is not always easy. I would prefer to pose ‘resurrected’, my wounds NOT visible. But the huge Crucifix that looms large over my parish sanctuary demands otherwise. He gave all to us, and so must we, one to another. In truth, His offering–a broken body and shed blood–is the very basis for our being a people. Through the Cross, Jesus pledges Himself to us forever. That pledge liberates our freedom to love one another.

I was greatly helped by Dr. Grant Pitre’s book ‘Jesus the Bridegroom.’ In it, Pitre chronicles bridal imagery throughout Scripture, anchors it in Hebrew tradition, and emphasizes St. John’s use of Jesus the Bridegroom; the Church, His bride. Startlingly, Pitre argues that God’s spousal love for us is most pointedly revealed at Calvary. His piercing is the culmination of God’s all-consuming desire to unite Himself to us forever. On Good Friday, Jesus married us.

Stay with me. Pitre claims that ‘Jesus’ wedding day is the day of His death, the day of His Crucifixion…’ St. Paul’s reference to the Church being prepared and washed and presented to Christ (Eph. 5) is rooted in ‘the ancient Jewish bridal bath and wedding ceremony.’ That washing had everything to do with the blood and water loosed in His dying. Jesus absolute self-giving on Calvary is His bridal pledge to us, a wedding vow born ‘of a love as strong as death.’ (Song of Sol 8:6)

St. Augustine goes further; he likens Calvary to God’s spousal union with His people. ‘Like a bridegroom Christ went forth from His nuptial chamber…He came to the marriage bed of the Cross and there, ascending it, consummated a marriage…He surrendered Himself to torment for His bride in a communication of love.’ Christopher West quotes St. John Paul ll who sums it up this way: ‘The “sincere gift” contained in the Sacrifice of the Cross gives definitive prominence to the spousal meaning of God’s love.’

When we gaze at Christ Crucified, remember: God loves us deeply, passionately, like a husband who dies to show his wife how much he loves her. Only this Bridegroom lives, His sacrifice signaling the undying love to which He binds Himself to us forever. Lovestruck, might His people respond: ‘We do.’

Please join us as we pray for:

1. Upper Midwest Region, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Jean Mersberger – Coordinator: For strength and vision for Jean, for existing groups and for new groups to be established.
2. Foundazione Novae Terrae (www.novaeterrae.eu) Italy: Strength and provision to fight for ‘right to life’ measures throughout Europe.
3. Harrisburg Diocese: Discernment for timing and team of new Living Waters group.

“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director of Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR OCTOBER 23, 24, 25, 26

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October 25: Flesh of Our Flesh

‘The bride belongs to the bridegroom.’ (Jn 3:29)

We who welcome the Cross as the sign and seal of God’s unfailing love for us welcome Jesus as Lover. Calvary is the means by which He betroths Himself to us. His broken flesh is the means by which He incarnates Himself into our flesh—the whole of our humanity. Blood tore the veil of sin, water cleanses us for Him, His Spirit indwells us and makes us new. We are His, He is ours.

St. Paul recognized this profoundly. He addressed the sexual impurities of the Corinthians as the spiritual adulteries that they were. ‘The Lord is meant for the body, and the body for the Lord’ (1Cor 6:13) he exclaimed, then forbade them from spiritually bonding with false lovers as to prevent them from breaking one-Spirit communion with God. He reminds us that Christians—purchased by Jesus through His blood, and raised with Him through His Spirit–now belong to God in our very bodies. His faithful love commands a faithful, bodily response to Him.

I just met with an Archbishop whose eyes conveyed the depth of his spousal bond with Jesus. He wanted to know more about Living Waters but actually I needed to know something from him. As we shared with the Church leader about how we minister to persons coming out of deep sexual sin and wounding, he replied: ‘The key to all of this is intimacy with Jesus.’ Enough said. In exchange for all my words, he summarized the essence of what we and all healers do (or should do): invite broken ones into the Cross—bridal intimacy that has power to transform the most sin-wracked frames into vessels of honor.

Many of us have served couples whose one-flesh unity was ruptured by sexual infidelity; some of us have been those couples. The beauty of yielding our bodies to give love highlights the damage done by breaking vows with our bodies. If we can see and ache for the infidelities we have committed with each other, might we not ask God for the grace to feel the damage done when we as mere creatures violate our spousal pledge to the Creator?

His intimate love invites us to surrender our heart afresh to Him, especially when native lust tempts us to wander. As we grieve over sin, let us also lament the spiritual adultery which resists communion with the very One who is our cure. His very Presence is the antidote for the addictive soul; He alone composes us and invites us to rest once more in perfect love.

‘The knowledge that God is truly with us—that it is possible to be in familiar communion with Him—is the primary need of every lonely, suffering soul. Our work as ministers is that of praying “Come Lord Jesus” then inviting each one into the healing Presence.’ Leanne Payne

Please join us as we pray:

1. Ohio, Crispin & Annelyse DeBellis – Coordinators: For strength and vision for Cris & Annelyse, for existing groups and to see new groups established. Blessings on partnership with their church to establish more Living Waters groups throughout Ohio.

2. Aguas Vivas: Cordoba, Argentina, Maria-Innes- Coordinator: For Lord’s guidance, strength and protection as they finish their first Aguas Vivas (LW) group.

3. RHN: Prayer for wisdom, discernment and protection for RHN board members: Andrew Comiskey; Stephen Black; Karen Booth; Robert Gagnon; Denise Schick; Jason Thompson.

“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR OCTOBER 23, 24, 25, 26

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