Orthodox Mission – Hyde Park, Chicago

“Let the Bridegroom Go out from His Chamber,” Conclusion

The tension over death and life, fasting and feast, in the Mystery of a couples’ marriage, reflects of the union of God and Humanity. It is part of the liturgical continuation of that Mystery. We fast and “separate for a season by mutual agreement,” because of an affirmation of life and the faith and hope in the resurrection. Fasting helps us to work the ground of our spiritual lives so that God can transform the blessed sexual life towards its eventual goal: the perfect gift of life which God gives in the resurrection.
Sex itself is supposed to be approached through abstinence at its very beginning (before marriage). We are not supposed to objectify the act for anything. Marriage is supposed to take place in a sacramental space of human relation which affirms God and the importance of all life as his gift. Marriage is the revelation of a sign of resurrection which is not perfected and completed by any human action or even by any human birth, above the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ, who becomes firstborn of the dead.

Whether we have failed in one way or another around marriage, we can always turn to the fast for renewal of the faith which must define our sexual life with our husband or wife. We can put aside all objectification and the satisfaction of desire, even those that take place in our sacramental, blessed life with our husband or wife, to be purified in desire for Christ. Then we can greet Christ as the Bridegroom, who marries the Church through his cross.

The obedience of the Church is not to worldly power or male machismo, but to perfect outpouring of self-sacrificing love. God empties his omnipotence upon the cross, to give divine power to the weak and those who have been broken by sin.

As head of the Church, Christ teaches us to sign every sense with the cross. He teaches us to give up every reasoning that pulls us toward sin. As Church we join ourselves to him, we name ourselves with his name. He is the Reason of God, the Life and Word that calls us to Creation and to be re-created. Jesus Christ, the Name of the Lord, above all creation, has gone through our death, to give us the perfection of his Life. Let us leave our bridal chamber, to come to the unending Wedding Feast.