Medium, message, marriage?
Warning: The Lutheran Blogosphere Advisory has rated the following post PG-13.
As quoted in my previous post, Marshall McLuhan points out:
"In Jesus Christ, there is no separation or distance between the medium and the message; it is the one case where we can say that the medium and the message are fully one and the same."
"Amen!" I say. . . with one reservation: What about in the consummation of marriage? I'll do my best to handle this gingerly: The message of marital sex is the fully giving of oneself to the other, and the medium by which it is done is the same.
Letters sent between to betrothed lovers are symbols (or collections of symbols, ie. words) of their affection, reflecting a longing to give the self to the other. They're filled with pronouncements of the sacrifice of the dreams, desires, sufferings, and body of the individual, for the unity of the dreams, desires, sufferings, and bodies of the two. In marriage, this longing is consummated.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
This mystery bears a strong resemblance (dare I say, at the risk of sounding too Catholic, correlation) to the mystery of holy communion: At the table, the bride takes Christ into herself (in, with, and under the bread), and in so doing is herself taken into Christ (the church is present wherever Word and Sacrament are faithfully administered; the church is the body of Christ.) The bride and groom are unified in the marriage bed; Christ and His church are unified at the table.
I've always been amazed at the language used in scripture regarding marriage. There's talk of the marriage feast of the Lamb at the second coming of Christ. Too, Love itself is defined as God Himself, and lovers long to be married.
My next question (upcoming post?): if the mystery of marriage reflects the mystery of communion, does the mystery of childbirth reflect the mystery of baptism?