Friday, 2 September 2011

The Bridegroom Builds the House, the Bride Beautifies it

Whilst it doesn't apply any more in some "modern" cultures, in many parts of the world, when a man leaves his parents to marry and set up his own family, he will build a house from scratch himself.

Then, dowry paid, he will welcome his bride into that abode and she will take that house and by the work of her hands and the fruit of her womb, beautify it (or to give it a bible term - glorify it) and make it not just a house, but a home - full of life.

This is a metaphor, (not a moral imperative - which is good news cos I'm useless at DIY - I think that a monkey nut is something you throw into the chimp enclosure) that shows the relationship between Christ and his Church.

Right back at the beginning of time, under the direction of his Father, Jesus the Son built a three-storey house (water-land-heavens) called Earth (Jn.1:3, Col.1:16, Prov.8:30). He then placed his bride - created humanity - in charge of that house with the mandate to beautify it (Gen.1:28) with life.

All this was a pattern - a prophetic image that would later become a reality after the resurrection of Jesus and the giving of the Spirit. Now a new humanity - a true humanity - is filling the earth and beautifying it, preparing this earthly house for the return of her bridegroom.

Christians don't "go to heaven" at least not in any ultimate sense. True Christian hope is for the renewal of this earth, the one on which you are standing right now, it is what they are (or should be) living for, working for, praying for, dying for after the pattern of the one who gave everything to have them in that new world with him. (Matt.16:24)

When the Spirit and Bride say: "Come Lord Jesus" (Rev.22:20) It isn't a "Come Lord Jesus and take me away from this dreadful place, put me on a cloud and give me a harp," it's a "Come home - all is ready! (Prov.9:1) Come and take your bride in your arms and make her happy with your love forever." (Song of Songs 8:2)

Looks like there's a bit of work to do before this house is ready.  So we pray: "Let it be on the earth as it is in Heaven..." (Matt 6:10)

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