To get to my office at church I need to walk through the sanctuary. I could use a side aisle, but I almost always walk down the center aisle towards the empty cross at the front. I trace the same steps that many a bride has walked as she approaches her bridegroom. And each time I trace those steps, I picture Jesus, my bridegroom, standing at the edge of the platform with eyes fixed on me as I draw near.
Jesus offers such nearness to all (but forces it on no one). He not only welcomes each of us who approaches His holy embrace, He transforms us. We become new creations, cleansed at the core of our being. We become (whatever our pasts) once again virgin.
Hebrews 10:19-22 19Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Interpersonal oneness, including the oneness of sexual intercourse, illustrates our oneness with God. Removal of the bridal veil (just like removal of the temple veil) signals further intimacy to come. The split in the temple veil allows God, our bridegroom, to enter us. Human bridegrooms do the same. On their wedding night, a bridegroom splits apart another “veil” as he fully enters his bride. Sex parallels worship. Each entry promises the experience of glory.
No temple veil separates believers from their heavenly husband. No bridal veil stands between husband and wife. God qualifies us to enter holy places – intimate places – with each other and with Him. We are no longer excluded. No longer do we stand outside with rumbling stomachs, watching through a window as others enjoy a feast. We’re insiders now, feeding each other bits of wedding cake, gazing into each other’s eyes, seeing and being seen.
Yet We Hesitate
The veils are gone. Yet even after they’re gone, we all too often live as if they were still in place. If you’re willing, I urge you to think through the following questions – perhaps when you’re alone with God, perhaps with your spouse, perhaps with others whom you trust. But please, take this time and learn to risk “living unveiled” – it will bring great richness to your life.
Unveiled in Worship – A Few Questions
- God asks us to draw near to Him. Many of us, at least at times, are hesitant to do so; we’re uncomfortable with such closeness; we want to break eye-contact. How about you? If you and Jesus were standing face-to-face, what thoughts would run through your mind? What would you be feeling? Would you look away?
- What do you think about the idea that God hungers to be intimate with us?
- Does God seem near to you? Available? Involved? Distant? Unavailable? Disinterested?
- God also wants us to hunger to be intimate with Him. Some of us are comfortable drawing so near; some are not. How about you? What expression do you expect to see on His face as you approach?
- Why might you be hesitant to risk intimacy with God?
- How might your life be different if you risked “living unveiled” with Him?
Unveiled in Marriage – A Few Questions
- After the wedding, although God has removed His veil between husband and wife, it sometimes seems like a veil still separates us. If you’ve ever felt such a sense of separation, how would you describe it?
- All couples at times feel distant from each other, perhaps briefly, perhaps for a prolonged time. At times, either or both spouses weave for themselves “post-marriage veils.” They do so using varied materials: fatigue. guilt, shame, a sense of unworthiness, a belief that God dislikes their physical intimacy, distrust, irritation, anger, indifference, fear (of a spouse, of being seen, of being trapped). With what materials are you familiar? Are there things you might add to this list?
- God asks us to draw near to each other. Some of us, at least at times, are hesitant to do so. How about you? If you and your spouse gaze into each other’s eyes with more than a fleeting glance what thoughts and feelings might you each experience? Would either of you be tempted to look away?
- How comfortable are you drawing near to each other? What expression do you expect to see on your spouse’s face as you approach? What expression might they see on your face?
- Do you hunger for unveiled intimacy with a spouse or do you prefer to stay “slightly veiled”?
- Why might you be hesitant to risk intimacy with your spouse?
- How might your life be different if you risked “living unveiled” with them?
© Lynne Fox, 2015
This post offers content from my current book-in-progress:
Sex & Worship: The Presence of Intimacy, Passion, and Pleasure.
Preview Its Table of Contents