• Movies:  they intentionally portray a fantasy world, but how many of us subconsciously adopt their woefully deceptive interpretation of true love as our own?
  • Music:  we say we filter out lyrics describing lust, carnality, and debauchery, but do we really?
  • Social Media:  does gossip or suggestive texting somehow get filtered by Twitter and FaceBook?
  • Women:  how does what you wear incite sinful thoughts among your brothers in Christ?
  • Men:  how does looking at sexually suggestive imagery warp the ways in which we perceive and interact with our sisters in Christ?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bride and Groom

Respecting our brothers and sisters in Christ takes on even greater significance when considering how we singles model the Bride of Christ through our interpersonal relationships.  Granted, the entire Church as the body of believers constitutes the metaphoric object of Christ's eternal affection, in which our earthly marital status doesn't actually matter.  So, let's participate in the marriage analogy as we live out our daily lives within our communities of faith!

Our groom is none other than Jesus Christ himself, holy and set apart for this eternal role.  So should his bride be anything but virginal, set apart for him alone?  Did you smirk when you read that?  Virginity can seem archaic even among believers, but will God be mocked by the ways we trivialize chastity?  True, our past sexual sins have been forgiven by our gracious Father.  But that's not a license to keep pushing the fornication envelope, is it?

Brides hold their prospective groom with unrivaled adoration, and seek to honor him.  Whereas a prospective bride might have been closely associated with other males before her engagement, as she moves towards marriage, she reframes the boundaries of those relationships into another context befitting her new status.  Even her relationships with other women take on a different hue as she transitions into marriage.

And as the groom identifies the object of his desire, the surrounding community recognizes his prospective bride and confers upon her the respect of one who has been uniquely chosen for this new life.  How well do other people identify us as "the bride of Christ?"  Can they recognize that we are in a committed relationship with Jesus?  Do we act as though we have been set apart for a greater purpose?

Indeed, brothers and sisters:  What God has brought together for His glory, let no one put asunder.

Take heart:  the reception comes after the recessional!

From his smorgasboard of church experience, ranging from the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the Presbyterian Church in America, Tim Laitinen brings a range of observations to his perspective on how we Americans worship, fellowship, and minister among our communities of faith.  As a one-time employee of a Bible church in suburban Fort Worth, Texas and a former volunteer director of the contemporary Christian music ministry at New York City's legendary Calvary Baptist, he's seen our church culture from the inside out.  You can read about his unique viewpoints at o-l-i.blogspot.com.

**This article first published on April 20, 2010.