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Centerfold Church

Sometimes you forget you are a Bride.

On Sunday mornings you trade your wedding gown for the perfect skin of a magazine model. Produced, choreographed, airbrushed, packaged, sold for consumption. The countdown timer signals the bass drop and with a practiced smile you self-consciously raise your hands (for maximum visual impact).

Sometimes you forget you are a Bride and you play a pin-up girl instead – technically perfect, visually exciting, devoid of intimacy.

I know you’re just trying to be “excellent”, but you’re comparing yourself to an artificial standard of beauty crafted by men in boardrooms on Madison Avenue. You’re comparing yourself to the visceral manipulation of a throbbing concert designed to sell fame and t-shirts.

So the congregation becomes an audience and we sit in padded theater chairs with cup holders to watch you bare yourself on stage like you’ve rehearsed all week. Smile on. Arms raised. Music pounding. A million watts of lights and fog.

You are practiced perfection, and we consume you.

Remember when “worship” was an eager walk down the aisle to meet your Groom with love in your heart, before it became the back-lit catwalk strut of the always-on-display?

You have forgotten you are a Bride.

You spend too much time thumbing through magazines, admiring fake realities and you think that this is what it means to be “perfect”. You no longer seem real. There’s no relationship. No intimacy. Just the practiced smile, the flawless skin, the choreography, the lighting cues and the fog, and the shrink-wrapped concert recordings shipped around the world.

Once alive and full of breath and beauty, you’ve become a two-dimensional commodity sold every week and we all join the conceit, pretending this is “worship”.

But you don’t have to do this.

You can forget the lights and the makeup, the practice and cues, the exaggerated body language because cameras don’t know subtlety. You can forget the aching pornographic loneliness and find the warm embrace of real.

You are enough. You are beautiful.

All He ever wanted was for you to wake up next to Him with no makeup on, to pour a cup of coffee and curl up in sweatpants next to Him, to whisper your heart-secrets in His ear. To lose yourself in the romance of His body broken for you. To worship.

But you have forgotten you are a Bride.

published July 29, 2013

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