Communion as Betrothal

by Brenda Kuseski

In Sunday worship we will observe Communion, instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper.  As you read the following article by Brant Hansen in his book, Blessed are the Misfits, discover how Jesus has made this provision for you:

    When Jesus was sharing his last supper with his friends, he wasn't just having a Passover meal. he was proposing. This sounds bizarre. But there's no mistaking it. In their culture and at that time marriage happened in stages: there was a betrothal - which was legally binding - often at least a year before the wedding. They would not live together during betrothal. They were “together yet apart.” And here's how it happened…

   First, it was common for a Father to choose a bride for his son. The bridegroom would then come to the home of the woman his father had chosen. To her family he would then present an offer: a covenant, and agreement proposing marriage, including a price he was willing to pay to her family for her. The price was an indication of the value he placed on the woman he wanted to marry. (It didn't work the other way; the bride's father didn't have to pay a thing. The cost was borne by the groom and his Father. )

   If her family accepted, the groom would pour a glass of wine for her. And now, it was squarely up to her. If she accepted, she would reach for the cup and drink. The delighted groom would then follow by drinking from the same cup. They would be betrothed. This meant they would be legally bound and the two had become one. The bridegroom declared that she was “Sanctified unto me by... the law of Moses and Israel.”

   But the marriage would not be consummated. Not yet. Before the groom left he would leave her with gifts, as a way of reminding her that she was bought for a price, now betrothed in a New Covenant with him.

   He would then go home and tackle his next project:  he would build a place for them, a “honeymoon suite,” usually in his Father's house. No doubt he would think of his beloved the entire time he was building…. And  much as he might yearn for her, he couldn't be married until the construction was ready, and he didn't get to determine that. His Father would let him know when it met his specifications. …Only then might the groom hear the words he been waiting for: “It's time. Get your bride.”

   He would signal his coming with a loud blast of a shofar, a Ram's Horn, and then he and his party would arrive for the bride and her bridesmaids. The crowd would then excitedly make their way to the Father's house and a week-long party would start. Lots of food, lots of dancing and an abundance of celebration. It concluded with a massive Festival, a Grand Finale Feast with two stars of the show: the groom and his bride. The Wedding Feast, at last. And finally they were together, and no longer apart.  [adapted]

Becky WarnerComment