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Immanuel in the Bedroom

This reflection is an entry from A Theology of Desire.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).

(Matthew 1:23 ESV)

Many Christians have a deistic understanding of God, in which the Creator breathed the universe into being and then stepped away to watch what would happen. In this view, God is separate from us and often disapproving. While most Christians believe in the power of prayer—requiring that God have some level of ongoing involvement—there’s still an essential separateness between humanity and divinity.

When we view God this way, we ignore the scriptures which say we are temples of the Spirit; holy dwelling places for God. We have trouble accepting that we are the body of Christ, and also his friend, and his bride. There is deep intimacy in each of these relational descriptors which connects to the truth Matthew captured in today’s scripture:

God is with us.

This isn’t merely a description of the incarnation, and it’s not a past state. Jesus was, and is, and is to come. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the once and always. God is around you, and within you.

The God-human Jesus is named Immanuel so we can reject a notion of distance and instead recall God’s constant presence. In every touch and whisper, in every moment of passion, God is there.

Don’t let this disturb you. There’s no need for embarrassment or shame whether you are in a boardroom, a barroom, or a bedroom.

God is with you.

God is holding you to the earth with the force of gravity, pushing up and out from your very heart, and hovering above you as you sleep. God is with you, adores you, and takes great pleasure in you. God is in every ounce of blood coursing through your veins, every living and dying cell as your body ages, and every pulsing pleasure you receive through orgasm.

God is with you. Immanuel is there.

It happens sometimes that the Lord himself moves our souls and forces us, as it were, to this or that particular action by laying our souls wide open. This means that he begins to speak in the very depths of our being, without any clamour of words, he enraptures the soul completely into his love and bestows upon us an awareness of himself so that, even if we wished, we should be unable to resist.

St. Ignatius

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