Formalistic Intimacies

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Our pastor relates private worship with God to intimacies in marriage. Basically, the acts of love that happen behind closed doors should be greater than what takes place in public.

Otherwise it is like a cold, dead marriage where the couple acts like everything is fine in front of others.

He wasn’t saying if you raise hands and dance in church you better be whooping and jumping during your private time—but that when you are alone, you should be freer in your expressions toward God to sit silently, stand, shout, weep, etc. Even more so: your times of corporate worship should not make up the totality of your intimacies with God.

I’ve heard other analogies of our relationship with God as a lover, but this one impacted me. And I started to imagine other similarities in the lover-of-God relationship.

For one, formulas. After a particularly spirit filled private worship where God speaks, it is easy to try and replicate the experience. But routine is only good if it helps you remember or allows time in a busy schedule.

Imagine if your next date went something like this:

“You’re wearing that?”

She’d expected a different reaction over his favorite color: azure like the Trinidad waters from their honeymoon. “You don’t like it? I didn’t spend much.”

“It’s not that. I’m glad you bought a new dress—it’s just,” he licked his lips and glanced away as though he was embarrassed, “We really had a good time last week. I felt like I hadn’t connected with you that way in years.”

It had been like learning to swim after not seeing water for… well since the tropical honeymoon twenty-five years ago. But the kids were all gone and it was time to remember why they had married in the first place. “It was amazing.” Goodness, she loved him.

“Yeah,” her husband approached with an eager expression but pulled back just before his typically warm fingers reached her skin. “Wait. We didn’t kiss last week until after the dinner.”

“After the dinner?”

“Yes. I made reservations for that same corner booth and made sure that girl Julie could serve us again. I even arranged for the manager to come out at dessert and ask about the meal.”

“You want the evening to be identical?”

“Of course. I’ve been practicing the ‘Man on a deserted island’ joke all week because last time when I told it, you threw your head back and laughed. I knew as soon as the candlelight caught your earring and shined across the table—it would be a night we’d never forget…we’d make it.”

“You’re going to tell me the same joke before dinner?”

“Before we order. That’s how I did it last week.” He pulled on his jacket. It was, in fact, the same coat he’d worn the previous week. “Practice tossing your head that way—I want to make sure I see the light refracting the same across the room.”

She couldn’t help it, she threw her head back and laughed.

“No. Not like that.” He tossed one hand up and turned his head. “Like this.” He seemed to reconsider. “But sexier.”

“Do I need to order the same meal again? Or can I get something new?”

“I already called ahead to make sure they could redo the special. I’ve order your duck confit and substituted broccoli for the potatoes.”

“But I didn’t really like the broccoli.”

“Well, I don’t want to take any chances. Last week ended so beautiful. And I want to get lucky again.”

His attempt at humor was unnaturally strained. She would lighten his mood. “Maybe you’ll get lucky at the beginning of the night if you relax a little and just,” She traced her fingers up his arm, “play it by ear.”

He responded to her touch immediately and took her in his arms. After a long kiss, he sighed and relaxed. Even as empty nesters, they would make it. They would be okay.

“So,” he nuzzled her neck. “When are you going to change into the dress you wore last week?”

4 thoughts on “Formalistic Intimacies

  1. Eric says:

    Cool illustration! I’ve been rethinking “real relationship” with God lately, and had a couple interesting God encounters this week… which OF COURSE would be silly to try and recreate!

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