Soul Sisters

[caption id="attachment_982" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Me & my seester"][/caption]

I love to consider all the metaphors in life that teach us about God and his church (haven’t you noticed?).  Relationships in particular show forth so many Christian themes. Through marriage we learn about the mystery of the Trinitarian nature of God, as well as Christ’s love for the church, and governmental roles of headship and submission. In parenting we see more clearly the relational role of God the Father, the church as mother, and themes such as heirship and adoption. The role of a sibling is also very special as it equips us for our brotherly and sisterly roles in the family of God. I’ve always felt exceptionally blessed to have such a strong bond with my brothers and sister. I am so glad to have both relationships. As a woman, there has always been something different about a sisterly bond that no other bond in life has. I’ve often wondered what God is particularly reflecting in that special gift.

In Scripture we see the brotherly bond play out frequently. Of course, we see the heirship factor in Esau and Jacob's story. The parable of The Prodigal Son has some underlying themes such as the priestly role of the older brother (which this one neglected). Through male family members in Scripture we find the theme of kinsman redeemer. I could go on, but this post is about sisters.

The first set of sisters that stands out in my mind are ugly Leah and pretty Rachel competing for a husband. We know that Rachel was Jacob’s favorite wife, the one that he pined for. But she was barren for a time and her sister began pumping out sons in hope to earn Jacob’s love. Eventually, Leah learns that the love that she really longs for is from God himself. We have a prophecy concerning Rachel in Jer. 31:15—Rachel weeping over the destruction over north Israel. In Matt. 2:18, we see this crying echoed in Herod’s slaughter of innocent children. I love how Veith and Moerbe expound on this in their book, Family Vocation after stating the hope of Jer. 31:16-17:

At the resurrection of the dead, the very children Rachel, the Bethlehem mothers, and all other bereaved parents to this day have been mourning “shall come back to their own country,” and they will be reunited. In the words of Rev. Charles Lehmann, “Rachel’s daughters’ tears have been wiped away…[by] Jesus, son of David, son of Judah, son of Leah” (159).

And then there’s Mary and Martha with their different agendas related to hospitality. But they also seem to get along well, showing up a great deal in the New Testament. Jesus seems to have a special relationship with these two sisters (John 11:5). Mary will always be remembered for anointing her Savior’s feet (Matt. 26:13). We tend to remember Martha for her gentle rebuke from Jesus but we forget that she was the first sister to run to meet Jesus when their brother was dead, where she confesses her faith in him as the Christ (John 11:27).

So we see God’s special love on these sisters, and how their stories point to the gospel. If I may, I would like to take a little bit of creative license in this post. When we think of sisters growing up together, we think of innocence and purity. We think of maidens, virgins, ladies in waiting. It is a time of preparation. In this way, I think young sisterhood is a picture of the church, pure and holy, waiting for their beloved Christ to consummate his marriage promise. We learn together, struggle together, and rejoice together. As young sisters grow many do marry, having the opportunity to be life-givers in a family of their own. In a similar way, the church gets to be ambassadors of the gospel that makes those alive who were dead in their trespasses. What a blessing it is to have sisters here to share our joy! Just as the brothers and sisters in Christ can share our joy now in service and in love, we will all the more rejoice on the new heavens and the new earth when we are with our groom forever. Sisters get to share in a more intimate understanding of this expectation, I think.  Even those called to be single in this life still long for the marriage feast with their eternal groom.

I always say that us sisters really help prepare our brothers for marriage to a woman. I shamefully take part of the credit of my brother’s gentlemanlike qualities. Unfortunately for him, he’s learned much of his patience by being sandwiched between two crazy sisters. Hopefully we are helping prepare our brothers in Christ for marriage to the Lord.

I am so grateful for my sister, Brooke. Because of her, I think that I can be a better sister-in-Christ to all my siblings in God’s family. I pray that we all reflect God’s gospel love in Christ, our groom. Let us all rejoice with Leah, “Now I will praise the Lord.”

5 Comments

Beautiful and from the heart

Beautiful and from the heart ...as always. Sisters are very special. I'm always thankful for my sisters in Christ as well. Somtimes, there is that special bond with a christian sister as tho you've known each other from birth, because of the unity in Christ. Love it!

This is such a very good one!

This is such a very good one! Loved it!
You're sister in Christ...Danerpot!

Tim, that is much of what was

Tim, that is much of what was going on in my head as I was writing this article. It's very mysterious, isn't it? The church is certainly a covenant community, yet we also keep our creative distinctiveness as individual persons...a glimpse of the beauty of the trinity. It's amazing when you think of how much love Jesus has to go around. He monogamously loves the whole church!
I am eager to see what you come up with.

Beautiful! Thank you, Aimee!

Beautiful! Thank you, Aimee!

Aimee, you almost make me

Aimee, you almost make me want to be a sister with a sister so I can experience what you've got with yours!

And about preparing men for the wedding of Christ and his Bride, that's actually something that I've thought over. The Church, Christ's Bride, is made up of individuals who do not lose their individuality in glory but (as C.S. Lewis points out) become more themselves as they become more like Christ. That includes men and women being more of what they are as men and women.

So if we are individuals who make up together the Bride of Christ, then do you think we will experience the wedding (and the wedding supper of the lamb, yum!) as individuals as much as we will in our status together as the Bride?

Tim

P.S. I think I feel an article coming on: The Bride of Christ is not the Borg Collective. Seriously. I know, I'm odd.

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