About two-thirds of the way through W. Paul Young’s The Shack, Mack and Jesus take a walk across the lake. It fares better for Mack then it did for Peter, but then Peter had an audience (in the boat) and the whole concept was sort of foreign.
One aspect of The Shack I like is that Jesus is not just resurrected in theory, but in actuality. [Note: there have been endless theological battles over the meaning of the resurrection and the need to see it as literal or not from the 1920s to the present. ] This graduate/doctoral level battle between theological Liberalism and the rise of Fundamentalism (and their smarter brethren, the Evangelicals) were all just asking the wrong question about the resurrection.
Paul already gave the answer: If Jesus is not raised from the dead we are pathetic. Instead, says Paul, Pop some beers and grab a wench and have a good time till you die (First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15. Worth reading the whole thing…the logic is flawless).
The deeper question was thereby avoided for generations. What does it mean that Jesus is resurrected from the dead and is alive right this very minute as the Lord and Master of the Church…it’s Bridegroom? What does it mean that YOU are going to be resurrected in similar fashion?
The Real Debate
It’s like debating for decades whether a married couple are actually married after their vows and wondering if they have had sex (even though the kids playing around their feet look oddly like the both of them).
Instead of endless committee meetings on building funds, the color of choir robes, the tile that goes in the Narthex or who will be the docent speaker from an endowment why are we not asking what kind of “Bride” we are as a Church?
What would happen is a man married a woman, and after their honeymoon she sets up the house as if she was single, except she had pictures of him liberally throughout the house. But every night when he came home diner was set for one.
Worse, (and I’ll get off my critical path here quickly), she began to complains to friends that he is not real and despite his attentiveness she ignores him.
Some of you may have heard, or even experience, the phenomenon of being “married singles”. Essentially a man and wife who are married and live in the same house live two separate lives. Most such arrangements end in divorce, or worse.
My question is simply a biblical one…what will we – you and I – do as the “Bride of Christ” with the Living One, with Christ? And, perhaps more striking, what will we allow Him to do with us in His love?
We already know he is not the type of husband to be abusive, pushy or demanding. He wants love to come from within us and has even given us His own Spirit to assist us in loving Him in some reciprocal way. (Personally, I need this because I can be a cold-hearted and quite selfish…).
Today, we Believers, are joined of our own volition together as His Church (the Bride) to a Living Husband who always wants our good and best.
How shall we respond in love today to Him? Just today? As He Himself said “every day has enough trouble of its own.”
As for the color of the robes? Crimson is a good start, no?