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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blessed Union of Souls

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 5:23

'I just want to be held!' Well, no; that's not quite true, is it? As members of the Body of Christ, or Christians ( little Christs ), we have no 'wants' ( Psalm 23:1 ). As pneumataphoric human beings, though, even though we know that we ARE held ( John 10:28 & 29 ), we still have that inexorable & often inexpressible need for human companionship, that human touch! To be human is to feel: emotions are built into this biological structure; our brains, which might be called our Link with Divinity, are pre-programmed, you might say, to respond to certain sensations with appropriate reactions. For whatever reason & to whatever extent, we have re-programmed ourselves to stifle these emotions, particularly when it comes to those of a sensual or even sexual nature. Scripture DOES remind us that there IS a time & place for everything ( good ) under the sun ( Ecclesiastes 3 ), so, without doubt, there ARE times & places where we should let these emotions flow, but there is also a time & place when we should check them, or rein them in!

When the apostle Paul penned, or dictated rather, his first letter to the Church at Thessolonika, his concern was not the Church in the 21st century, although that was most definitely in the Mind of the One who Inspired him; no, Paul's benediction was aimed at the Church in the 1st century, the one Who was enduring persecution at the hands of the Judaizers. We, however, may understand Paul as viewing, as all or most good Hebrews did, our biological composition as three distinct parts, 'spirit, soul, and body'. This, by the way, is one of the 'strong' points of Trinitarian doctrine. Covenant Creation, or the notion that the creation account in Genesis 1 & 2 was not that of the material universe, but simply a record of the Creator's introduction of Covenant to the Creation, clearly shows us that we are comprised of at least two parts, our biological bodies & the 'breathe of life' ( Genesis 2:7 ), or that Divine Essence which gave us Life!

According to Scripture, marriage was ordained by the Creator as that mysterious union by which a man & woman become 'one flesh' ( Genesis 2:18-25 ); indeed, echoing this account, Solomon, king of Israel wrote, 'Two [ are ] better than one' ( Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 ). Whatever 'one flesh' might be construed as meaning, it is obviously metaphorical; those joined in union are STILL two separate & distinct human beings! A marriage is not only the joining of two human beings toward one purpose, one goal; it is, more importantly the blessed union of two souls, the merging of two distinct spiritual beings into one!

It might well be said that Moses was imbued with the same Spirit as Jesus; indeed, throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, we read examples of those prophets of old that were inspired by the Divine & thus accomplished things that no mere mortal could have! In other words even, it could as truly be said that these prophets of old possessed the 'spirit' of their predecessors ( II Kings 2:15 ( Luke 1:17 ), having the same strength of will & purpose. In much the same way, metaphorically speaking, it is said that husband & wife become 'one flesh'; they come together in their separate biologies in order to accomplish one purpose, to meet one ultimate goal.

The Spirit of Life, that which empowers us all to live in Blessed Communion with the Divine ( though sadly, not all do ), was given that day in the Scriptural Garden of Eden, not as a token of biological life ( that already existed ), but of spiritual life, awareness, if you will, of the Creator & the blessedness of right relationship with Him. The apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia that the marriage of a man & woman was simply a picture of the Blessed Union of Christ ( the Creator God ) & His Church; as such, any biological union should mirror what has come to be called 'The Marriage of Heaven & Earth'. The sensual aspects of biological marriage should most definitely be preserved as they were ordained, but of utmost importance is the spiritual nature of marriage!

Human emotion is an important, integral & inseparable part of our makeup! Even though we are spiritual beings having a human, or biological experience, it is not just from our biology that these feelings come. Our brains, our Link to the Divine, if you will, are so integrated with our biology that we can motivate our several members to do things that are out of the ordinary, even 'supernatural'. We are told from early on that we should not let our emotions reign over us & while this is very true, the reaction by many Christians is to stifle them altogether, an overreaction, one might say. The wisdom of reining in one's emotions is without doubt; in order to enjoy the full blessings of marriage, we must exercise good judgment in the flow of our emotions & their immediate results, the actions which they stir up!

The need for the sensual is more evident in some than it is in others! For whatever reason, some have re-programmed themselves to such a point that they are able to exist without its comforts, others are able ( publicly, anyway ) to so completely stifle these emotions in order ( as they claim ) to better serve their God. Bad experience or 'spiritual' flagellation has caused or enabled many people to almost bypass their emotions, especially when it comes to the sensual, but from the Beginning, it was not so; when the Creator breathed into His Creation the Breath of Life, he endowed us with emotions & called His Creation 'good'!

Charles Haddon Shank


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