Clergy Notes — Advent 4, Sunday December 18, 2022
In our bible study this week, I was intrigued by the questions that came up, many of which revolved around the details of the betrothal, marriage, and physical relations between Mary and Joseph. Not quite what I was expecting, especially when we could have been talking about angels!
But, it was a good discussion… and it got me thinking about the allegory of marriage used so often in Scripture to describe the relationship between God and God’s people: first between YHWH and Israel, and then, with the coming of Christ, between God and ALL of Creation.
We may have thoughts and feelings about marriage from our modern perspective, but in ancient Hebrew times, marriage had quite different implications than it does today. In a time when women could not provide for themselves, marriage meant protection and survival. To the whole family, the promise of children meant security for the familial line, and provision as the elder generation aged. Thus, when reading the allegory of God as husband in Scripture, we should understand this as the promise of loving provision; of fidelity and commitment; and as a blessing for the whole human family.
It is an allegory that can be challenging to modern ears. And there are many allegories for God, none of which are perfect, and one of which you might perhaps find more helpful.
Yet, I think there is something quite lovely about viewing humanity’s relationship with God as one long, ongoing love story, which is still being told by you and me today, and which will continue to be told long after we are in the arms of our Creator. For love really is at the heart of this wonderful Story, and what a privilege it is to live it, sing it, tell it, and pass it on to the next generation.
Download the service booklet here: Liturgy at Home Advent 4 December 18 2022