What is the role of the Church?  There are, no doubt, a plethora of ways of answering this question but the Bible passages for this week suggest one, rather unusual, way of approaching this issue.  In the book of Genesis, we have the account of how Rebekah became Isaac’s wife.  She was a special comfort to Isaac after the death of his mother, Sarah.  In psalm 45, the psalmist writes of how the bride is brought before the king in a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace.  These two passages tell the story of the bride (the Church) bringing pleasure to the bridegroom (Jesus).  The Church exists for Jesus Christ.  He is the One to whom she should be devoted and give herself for.

What does the bridegroom give to the bride?  In traditional marriages the husband will provide for the wife and protect her.  He will strive to make her life as fulfilling as possible.  Once again, a link can be made between the Church and Jesus.  Jesus wants the believer to flourish.  “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest….For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”  God calls us to do what is right for us and never gives us something beyond our ability to cope.  On occasion, He will supply us with something good that we never expected.  However, for all these temporal pleasures and experiences there is something yet more valuable that the bridegroom wants to give his bride.  God wants to set us free from a life of slavery.  The Apostle Paul talks about being a slave to sin.  He cannot break free in his own strength and cries out in anguish, “can anyone help me?”  The answer he discovers is yes; the reality is that Jesus can deliver him from all his sins and he is overwhelmed with gratitude.  In sum, yes, the relationship between the Church and Jesus is one where Jesus may be viewed as the best husband a wife could ever have.  However, Jesus is so much more than that as well.

Old Testament reading for this week: Genesis 24:34-67

Gospel reading for this week: Matthew 11:16-30

Epistle reading for this week: Romans 7:15-25

Psalm for this week: Psalm 45:10-17