Monday, June 14, 2004

profound paradox

What a mystery is this thing of love. The more I meet and hang around married people and the more weddings I attend, the more mysterious this whole idea of love has become. I know more and more people that have no business being together. Why in the heck to some of these people get and stay married?

What was it that caused the ultimate decision to love or to get married? Why did they choose that person over all the rest? Christina and I had a great conversation about this today. What in the world are people thinking when they decide to get married and spend the rest of their lives with that one person? It's so bizarre.

Most of these people wouldn't really be friends if they weren't married. What I mean is that, separated, erased of all memory and thrown back together as singles in a crowd, I wonder if all these married couples would decided to marry each other again. Each husband and wife seem to be so different. Communication styles are different. Interests are different. Ministry goals and ideas are different. How in the heck did these people fall in love?

Half of people's married life is spent bickering and disagreeing. And those are the good marriages. And I just can't believe these people got together for the sex. I heard one guy say that getting married for sex is like buying a jumbo jet for the little bags of peanuts. So there must be some other mysterious reason why two decide to become one.

Paul, at the end of Ephesians 5, lays out what I understand to be a biblical model of mutual submission in marriage. Then at the end he quotes Genesis 2:24 about two people becoming one flesh. He then says this, "This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church." (v.32). I think Paul does something beautiful here. He taps in to the profound mystery of love. He uses this unexplainable phenomenon of marriage as an illustration of how mysterious Christ's relationship is to the Church.

How does one go about explaining how we are all the body of Christ as we worship Christ? How does one explain that we are called to be like Christ and be united with Christ? How does one explain that we as the Church are the present incarnation of Christ and that His Spirit apparently dwells in and among us? All the while trying to grasp that Christ Himself was both fully human and fully divine, both the Son of God and "God with us"? These are mysterious realities. And the closest mystery with the same sort of profundity is the paradox of marriage. The only illustration or word picture that can even come close to the likeness of the mystery Christ and the Church is the mystery of romantic love and commitment.

This is both frustrating and encouraging. This truth reminds me that my attempts to figure out intimate love will fall as short as my attempts to understand the mystery of Christ. And yet, I am hopeful because of the beauty that is generated from this profound paradox.


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