This image, or at least the beginnings of it, came to me as I was coming down from the Blue Mountains this afternoon.
In essence, it's a Christ centered reinterpretation of the sacred marriage, though, in retrospect, it could equally function as a Christ centered reinterpretation of the tree of life.
There are some obvious references to the Trinity and the Incarnation, but it also captures my understanding of the reconciling power of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Scriptural inspiration includes the following quotes:
Revelation 21:1-4 - "Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
1 Timothy 2:5 - "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Matthew 23:11-12 - "The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
Note: I have retained the traditional "Father" and "Son" language, despite the problematic gender bias, as I find the alternatives on offer are generally awkward and struggle to capture the inter-relationships within the Trinity adequately. That being said, here is an alternative interpretation and you'd like to discuss the gender language issues further I'd invite you to continue reading The sacred marriage in Pagan and Christian dialogue.
Elsewhere you may hear a more elitist message. "He looks like a god." "She looks like a goddess." They stand apart. In ancient times, emperors were acclaimed this way. In these times it is models and entertainers. But counter to this, Genesis says, "Every one of you is God-like." You slaves, you exiles, you oppressed. There is no one who is not.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the ultimate beholder is God. Genesis 1 says, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Genesis 1 says, you are beautiful.
Some quotes on the meaning of worship ... and how we sometimes distort it.
"Evangelism will end, and education, as will prophecy and social service. But worship is forever."
"Our worship must cost something, or else it is meaningless. True worship always involves sacrifice. Of course, Jesus is the only sacrifice for sin, once and for all. Yet the term 'sacrifice' is not just associated with redemption. The word literally means 'the act of offering something meaningful and valuable.'"
"It has been suggested that in worship man needs to intellectualize his emotions and emotionalize his intellect."
"We are often so caught up in our activities that we tend to worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship."
"In the end, worship can never be a performance, something you’re pretending or putting on. It’s got to be an overflow of your heart….. Worship is about getting personal with God, drawing close to God."
"Our heart’s desire should be to worship God; we have been designed by God for this purpose. If we don’t worship God, we’ll worship something or someone else."
THE WESTMINSTER CATECHISM
"Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."
"Worship in truth is worship that arises out of an actual encounter with God, a response to the experience of knowing God's real presence and activity in our daily lives. This has nothing to do with sentiment, thinking religious thoughts or having aesthetic experiences in church buildings; any religion can give you that sort of thing."