Christ is the Church

If the church is the bride of Christ, and if the bride is one flesh with her husband, then it only stands to reason: The church is one flesh with Christ.

This is a good thing.  Because Christ’s flesh is no longer here, on Earth.  If it were not for this fact, then Christ would have no physical impact at all, anymore.

To think about a widow, or a widower brings us part way to contemplating this mystery.  My grandfather died this year.  He was an amazing man.  Ninety-two years old.  Still worked.  Full of energy, enthusiasm, excitement.

There are many ways that he is not gone.  But the most important, perhaps, is in the person of my grandmother.  We went to this Chinese Buffet with her the other day.  It was a place we’d often gone with them both.  He was there with us, he was so very present at the table.

I guess this is why the church is so crucial.  As has been often noted, there is no back up plan.  We are it.  And if we were truly one flesh, how could we resist?  How could we refuse?

To say that the church is the body of Christ is to emphasize the fact that we are here while Jesus is not.  But it is also often said that the Church is the bride of Christ.

After giving it a little thought, I realized that these two sentences really come down to the same thing.  They cast different lights on different aspects of it.  But if a bride is one flesh with her husband, then she is his body, in the same way that the husband is the bride’s body.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Christ is the Church”

  1. you’re assuming the wedding has occurred? you’re assuming that the bride and the Christ have come together? If so, then why do we have the Holy Spirit?


  2. Great points, Steve. I’ll have to ponder that question. There’s certainly a biblical precedent for what you’re implying– that the wedding hasn’t happened yet.
    However, I think the Holy Spirit works out quite nicely on my account.

    In my marriage with my wife, there are 3 “people.” My wife and I have physical bodies. But Jesus is present, too. He is an immaterial force that lives in the spaces between us.

    Though Jesus has ascended, he once had a physical body. And the church has a physical existence, too. The Holy Spirit is the immaterial force that lives in the spaces between us.


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