Thanks to Rev. Philip Hoppe, for this one. I ran across this as I was going over Sunday's sermon thinking about how through Word and Sacrament Jesus is making His bride ready. The message and metaphor of this one was worth sharing.
It is sadly common behavior in our day: hooking up. For those who do not know (blessed are you), the term refers to a casual sexual encounter without any strings attached. On college campuses, it has become the norm rather than the exception for many students. That is sad enough.
But it has occurred to me recently that many people are approaching their relationship with Jesus in the same way. Who? Well those who want the sacraments (as well as things like marriages and funerals) of the church without remaining as part of the life of the church. Have no doubt, to participate in the sacraments is intimacy with Jesus in the most real way possible. And to ask for those things with no intention of a life with Christ in his Church is to ask Jesus to hook up, to have sacraments without strings attached if you will.
This is despising the Word of God. This is failing to hold these things sacred. This is disrespecting Jesus himself. It is unquestionably a sin against the Third Commandment.
We must not enable people to simply continue unaware of their sin in treating Jesus this way. We cannot simply say, “Well, at least they want to be baptized or come to the table.” While it is easy to suggest that is always righteous to seek the sacraments in any way, it is not. We must call things what they are. And to ask for the sacraments apart from a life with the Church is a gross misunderstanding of life with Christ in his Church. We must expose this truth in order that this sin can be repented of and forgiven as the person is drawn back into the life given by Christ in his Church. Jesus wants more than anything to be in intimate relationship with each member of humanity, but he does not hook up.
Jesus relationship to his people is that of sustained intimacy. It is not a single act of intimacy but a life of intimacy. This is why the scriptures always speak of the relationship as a marriage of Christ and his Church. It is a relationship in which the Church called by the Spirit’s gifts leaves all other relationships and cleaves to Christ her husband. They live together as one. What God has brought together, let not man seek to separate.
To read more from Pastor Hoppe you can visit his blog at http://ihoppe.com/blog