Intimacy, Sex, and Worship

In a Jewish wedding ceremony, there is a chuppah. A chuppah is a sheet of fabric that is held over the bride and the groom. It represents the bond that is being formed between the two--one where such things as "for better or worse, richer or poorer, and in sickness and health" are pledged to one another. The chuppah is a symbol of the intimacy that is being made between the bride and the groom. The chuppah is taken into the marriage chamber and put above the husband and wife before they consummate the marriage (or, as Frank put it Sunday--basket weaving). The chuppah symbolizes the intimacy that is established between the husband and wife.

In the wedding covenant, intimacy and sex are bound together. Husbands and wives pledge themselves to one another, stating things like "to have and to hold, for richer and poorer". There is also a commitment of sexual holiness between one another.

If people lived out these commitments, I believe the world would be a better place. I believe there would be much more joy, because sex at that point is more than just a feeling or something you do. It is a celebration of the relationship.

Unfortunately, in our culture we are distracted by so many things. The intimacy of relationship and sex is cheapened for feeling, thrill, and experiences. Sex has lost its intimate nature. It has become a way to sell things and to give us pleasure. It is something people do now, sometimes as a precursor to relationship, as Walter shared about a couple of weeks ago.

We also overload ourselves with relationships. We live in a culture where we need to know what is going on everywhere. We are connected to Facebook so we can see into the lives of the people we went to school with, and the people we work with. We also share everything about our lives--what we are eating, where we are at, what we are feeling, the frustrations we have. We have no desire to have deep relationship with them, we simply want to "share" information.

In all of this, we have cheapened our understanding of intimacy. We have lost our concept of what private space is. We have lost the depth of what sex between a husband and a wife should be. We have made a mess of our marriages and our relationships.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "What does all of this have to do with worship?" Worship comes from the word worth-ship. The idea is attributing worth to something. Examples of attributing worth can be seen all over. When you put on an MSU shirt, you are attributing worth the green and white. If you have pride in the car that you drive, you attribute worth.

Take that concept and connect it to the first of the 10 Commandments: You shall have no other Gods before Me. In a few short words, God gives us a framework for living. Attribute everything you are to God. If you look at the next 9 commandments, you can see how God is calling Israel to reorient their lives with him as the center. He wants nothing between them and him. He desires intimacy. He desires devotion. He desires commitment.

What if we were to take those statements into our relationships? What if we had devotion and commitment for one another? What if rather than distracting ourselves with this and that, we were to put down our phones and have real conversations where we look into the eyes of the other person? What if lived our lives to attribute worth to our husbands and wives? What if we were to restore the intimacy of the chuppah?

My hunch is that there would be much more joy in our relationships. There would be more depth and weight to how we worship God. And, I bet the "basket weaving" that happens between a husband and wife would be more than a feeling, exchange, or fantasy. It wouldn't just be an experience for pleasure alone. It would be a husband and wife experiencing intimacy, connection, unity, and joy.

Posted on June 10, 2015 .