In the Bible, a common image that expresses God’s relationship with his people is the image of marriage. In Hosea, God espouses his people, especially after their conversion (Hosea 2).
This marital love is an intimate covenantal type of love between spouses. Similar verses are also found in Isaiah chapters fifty-four and sixty-two.
And this marriage theme continues into the New Testament with the image of Christ as the groom and the Church (the people) as his bride (Ephesians 5:22-25).
Now with this marriage theme, the spouse of God was often found unfaithful (Ezekiel 16).
She committed idolatry (spiritual adultery); and, God could have divorced her. But he did not. Instead he drew her back to himself (Hosea 2:16ff, Ezekiel 16:62-63, and John 3:16). As matter of fact, it would be impossible for God to divorce his spouse for Jesus himself has said that what God joins together, no one can separate (Mt 19:6 and Mark 10:9). We are the eternal spouse of our God.
But although God will not divorce us, are not some trying to be divorced from God? Many people today do not want to be part of a church, which is the bride of Christ. They want to be just spiritual. They may want to be people of faith, but they want to do so outside the Church. But isn’t stepping outside the Church, the bride, stepping away from her groom Jesus? Isn’t this also a spiritual type of divorce?
When Jesus started the new faith we call Christianity, he did so as a group, not individually.
The first community gathered together to pray (Acts 1:14). They devoted themselves to the “communal life” (Acts 2:42). To be separated from the community, was to be in danger of losing one’s faith. God intends that we be “Church” or “community” not just individuals. This keeps us united with our Groom, Jesus.
Now, what is a bit troubling in today’s world is that some are prevented from worshiping in a church because of work schedules or because of activity schedules. I have visited with many who say they cannot worship in a church on the weekend because of work or because of activities. My hope is that all employers and all in charge of activities will allow those involved to remain actively in the church by allowing them to attend church on the weekend to keep their relationship with Jesus alive, to keep their “marital union” with the Groom intact.
Jesus says what God has joined, let no one separate. He himself wants to be intimately and convenantally united to his bride the Church. Hopefully we can all find a church to be with Christ our groom.
Hopefully no one will prevent anyone from participating in their church.