image courtesy of life.com
If the church is a theater,
marriage is a play —
Christ’s good and perfect love
for his church to convey.
[The role of Christ is performed by a husband, and the church is played by his bride.]*
Our hero is steadfast in his devotion to his wife. His love is powerful and unflinching. With great determination, he sets off to present his bride to the world as unparalleled in beauty, and of revolutionary perfection. He guards her purity and fights for her honor. His own life he deems of little import when hers is in danger. And, in what would seem to be the end of our tale, this husband sacrifices himself in order to give his bride life. But this is not indeed the end of the play. It is only the beginning.
The world the audience, they misunderstand. And their reactions and reviews vary greatly:
- Some women are repulsed by the way they were portrayed as weak and in need of salvation. And you can bet they won’t attend the sequel, which will surely involve both children and cooking.
- Other women, though, swoon at the mere thought of true love, as they long for rescue — but wrongly believe they’ll find it in the arms of the next man they meet.
- The men taunt and mock the actors — the husband for his sentiment and emotion, and the wife for donning a much too modest apparel. “After all,” they complain, “we paid good money for an action-thriller, and we want to see some breasts!”
- Outside there are demonstrators with signs. They protest the absurdly conventional director because he didn’t have the backbone — or the creative imagination — to cast two men as the love interests in his production.
Even the Christians can’t come to a consensus on the play:
- The Calvinists grumble at the scene where the young maiden chose to marry her suitor. “HE elected HER,” they cry out, “and she should have no say in the matter.”
- The social justice crowd believes the writers placed far too much emphasis on the rescue of the young damsel in distress. “And they barely mentioned her great love for the peasants!”
- Catholics and classical Arminians are angry the possibility was never mentioned that the young lady could have fallen out of love, cheated on her lover, and been divorced.
- But the Southern Baptists really enjoyed that aspect of the play.
- Missionaries worry there wasn’t enough care taken in the story to demonstrate that the husband searched — and found — his beautiful bride in a far away land.
- And the Church of Christers are upset there was a pit orchestra.
As for me, I just hope my wife and I can do this play justice. I’m a bit overwhelmed that I’ve been cast as Jesus in any production — much less one that’s for the world to see. I pray that God will empower me to love my wife just as Christ loves the church. And that he will be glorified in, and through, our marriage. Amen.