Holy and Pleasing
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters … to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. – Romans 12:1 (NIV)
Father Cedric wrote in Je Vous pardonne tous vos peches, a collection of French priests’ observations about confession, “Confession is the most boring thing in the world. … When people don’t like what you say, they leave and try their luck with the priest across the way.”
He also told the story of being a young priest and of hearing, one after the other, the confessions of a wife and a husband who were both cheating sexually on their marriage … with the same man. Father Cedric noted, “It wasn’t easy to keep from bursting in laughter.”
A lot of relationships are fused. If one is cheating in one way, the other is also cheating in another way. Cheating is not just adultery; its spectrum is withholding. We back off just when we could get closer.
Deep connection is honest. It comes from a spiritual sensibility, a sense of salvation, security, safety, trust, belonging. God made us sexually beautiful and spiritually beautiful. We are to present our bodies to each other in wholly, holy, honest ways.
God is part of our coupling, not separate. We get all gummed up whenever it is just the two of us. We become idolatrously dependent. Sex becomes something that can’t fully bear the unconditional love we want it to bear. We step out, when the whole point is to step in to deepening intimacy.
Let our sex lives be honest. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Pastor at the Orient Congregational Church on the far end of Long Island, New York. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.