One of the images used to describe the Lord's people is the 'bride of Christ'. In wedding ceremonies the bride is often beautified with dress and jewelry, her hair is done and makeup is applied. She is radiant as she walks down the aisle and her grace is evident. She is attractive in her beauty and in her character, her purity. She is so beautiful.
Does that really sound like the church?
Of course we all know that the 30 minutes a bride stands before a group of individuals is not her every day persona. She is an office worker, a teacher, a doctor, a student, a lawyer, a homemaker. She has her good days and her bad days, her moments of exhiliration and her stretches of drought and normalcy. Throughout all of this though her husband remains committed, he did not just marry the gilded and adorned beauty that walked down the aisle to meet him. No he married her largely for her consistent character and faitfulness to their marriage vow.
One thing I have come to notice over the years is that married couples who are passionate about each other are beautiful. In their age and their years they acquire a beauty as they fall ever deeper in love with the other. It is a beauty that spills out into the laps of those that are near them, they inspire others towards connectedness in their relationships and a deep intimacy. This is a love not easily feigned nor imitated, because it is a love that knows beauty is more than cosmetic, it is it's own language of knowing the other.
The church is not perfect, we are after all human. However as we continue to fall in love with our spouse, with our lover and creator our love can become a beautiful thing. We do our love with Christ a dis-service when we describe it solely in the realm of the platonic or brotherly. The relationship of God's people (our own relationship) with Christ is to be passionate, romantic, intimate and deeply connected. Perhaps if we really embraced this truth the church could begin to really be the church.
I would argue that largely the church today is concerned with cosmetic beauty, and as a result we end up looking worn and trashy. The world is to look at the church, to smell the perfume of our relationship with Christ, and to be attracted to that covenant. They are to see a transforming power at work in the world, but instead they only see human political parties and hypocritical nationalists. Through our actions we have not shown that God can change the hearts of men, we have instead shown that God likes to boycott Target and water board Muslims. We do our groom a disservice when we pursue after influence among the powers of the world, when after all we are already betrothed to the Lord of All, the Lamb of God.
She is so beautiful, and the beauty is held in the intimant closeness of Christ. We must not look elsewhere for our affirmation and power or we will surely become an adulteress.