Lent – Day 27: Friday, 19 March
1 Corinthians 11:2-3
2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realise that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
In the Prayer Book Solemnization of Matrimony (the Wedding Service!) there is a lovely line in the minister’s introduction that describes marriage as “signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church”, that is, there is a greater relationship than human marriage that exists between Christ and his Church. Christ is the Bridegroom, and we, the Church, are the Bride. Christ is also described as the head of the Church, and we the Body.
This might form a more inclusive picture, where we are all under Christ, as opposed to men only. Paul the apostle was neither anti-woman nor pro-man. He is attempting to see in human relationships symbols that reflect a higher relationship. While we may struggle with Paul’s views, it could be that he is describing something about the way God has created our relationships. However, I want to pick out that the head of Christ is God, by whom Paul means Father God. Jesus was obedient to his Father in heaven. Let’s use more correct wording – God the Son was obedient to God the Father and came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth. He remained obedient and true to his mission throughout his earthly life.
While Father and Son are both God, there is a relationship. Father God is not any more God than God the Son, for both are God. Because both are God, and God is one, God the Father and God the Son are both God, two persons but not two completely separate individuals.
The Holy Spirit is part of this union as well, but more on this later.
Are Paul’s words inappropriate for our times?
How do you relate to God the Son?
How do you relate to Jesus, the man?
How do you relate to Christ Jesus, the head of the Church?
How faithful a bride is your church fellowship?
Father God, I am in a relationship with Christ Jesus that in some way reflects the relationship between him and you. Would you deepen my understanding of this relationship as I deepen my trust in his love and headship? In his name I pray. Amen.