Friday, September 9, 2016

Kings and Queens

Orthodoxy is the Church, the Body of Christ, His indefectible Presence in the human race, which He established by His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His sending the Holy Spirit, and to which the whole of mankind without exception is called, so that the Church is potentially a pan-human reality.

The Church is the New creation of the New and second Adam, namely Jesus Christ, and is made in His Divine image, as a body has parts and a head, so the Church as the Body of Christ has parts and a Head, Christ Himself, and as creation both old and New is ordered by Divine hierarchy, so is the Church.

The Divine hierarchy is inherent in God the Holy Triad, as Father the Principle of Unity, as Son the Word expressed by the Father coeternal and consubstantial with Him, and as Spirit the fullness of Wisdom who is not only Giver of life and Lord, but the Divine agent of the Father in begetting His priestly nation.

The life of God the Holy Triad provides for humanity the pattern of our fulfillment, and earthly society is able to function in health, happiness, and holiness only when it is modeled on this pattern, which has been revealed in Holy and Divine scriptures, vindicated by the Church, and transmitted by Holy tradition.

God is sovereign in the heavens and on the earth. He alone is the King, but by His only-begotten Son, the Word, the King has arrived among us, and by His Spirit, the heavenly King on whom we call, we have been made a nation of kings in the Divine image, and the Kingdom of God is revealed among men.

Patriarchy is the Divine order in the Holy Triad, expressed in the universe at large, and written into human society, such that all human societies originate as patriarchies, and so long as they continue in emulating the Divine order they survive, while those which devolve into matriarchies break down and die.

The Church in all her formularies and ceremonies expresses the sovereignty of God and teaches the right ordering of humanity as patriarchal society, following the oracle of Holy and Divine scripture, and this is nowhere better revealed than in the blessing and crowning of a wedded couple, a man and a woman.

The wedding service is a formulary and a ceremony that teaches, by means of the mystery of marriage, the right ordering and establishment of the Christian family, as a Kingdom of the first degree, with a crowned King, and a crowned Queen, anointed by the Spirit to beget, to bear and to raise royal children.

Far from being a mere mystery play enacted to inspire the bridal couple with an ideal, or to entertain the wedding guests, the wedding service is a God-empowered, Spirit-filled anointing, and the blessings and the crowning not mere tokens, but the substance of Divine nature enacting an unrepeatable incarnation.

He who makes all things New becomes the Mediator between a New Adam and a New Eve, the old Adam and Eve being put to death by irreversible covenant, and His peace dissolves the enmity between man and woman, and opens to them the gates of the earthly Paradise, blessing them as the kings and queens of old.

Bless them, O Lord our God, as you blessed Abraham and Sara. Bless them, O Lord our God, as You blessed Isaac and Rebecca. Bless them, O Lord our God, as you blessed Jacob and all the Prophets. Bless them, O Lord our God, as You blessed Joseph and Asenath. Bless them, O Lord our God, as You blessed Moses and Zipporah. Bless them, O Lord our God, as You blessed Joakim and Anna. Bless them, O Lord our God, as You blessed Zacharias and Elizabeth.

The wedding service is constitution and charter of the New kingdom of the family begotten and born of the Bridegroom and the Bride, detailing the Divine order which is to work out among them their salvation, and establish the next generation, the children born of them, in the Kingdom of God and righteousness.

In the prayers and in the lessons read, all the essentials are presented for the Bridegroom’s and the Bride’s instruction, which they ought to not only hear, but regularly hereafter rehearse in word and deed, by their mutual obedience to the Divine commandments, that their lives may indeed be the life of the Holy Triad.

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His Body, and is Himself its Saviour. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives be also subject in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church, because we are members of His Body. Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

The apostle is not expressing his own opinion, nor restating the cultural norms of the time in which he lived, but handing over to the Church in every place and in every age the timeless pattern of Divine order found in the Holy Triad and manifested in the Lord Jesus, who was obedient even to death on the Cross.

He tells the men, that is, the Kings, to love their wives. He repeats himself, because it is more natural to men to respect their wives rather than to love them. He tells the women, that is, the Queens, only once, to respect their husbands, for it is more natural to women to love their husbands rather than to respect them.

The subjection of the woman to the man, of the Queen to the King, is not onerous, does not denigrate, has no part in exploitation, no earthly advantage to the man, for as the apostle hands over to us men, we must lay down our lives for our wives, and by extension, for our families, as Christ does for the Church.

The pattern of the Divine order is seen to permeate all things, carried along from the remote past even in our genes, even in the natural evolution of life as it issues out of the Spirit, the writing in scriptures and the traditions passed down through the generations of every nation under the heavens, only confirming it.

In  the Church, the Divine order is taught in the traditional icons given to the Bridegroom and the Bride. To the King is given the ikon of the King, Christ Jesus holding open the Book and blessing. To the Queen is given the ikon of the Queen, All-Holy Mary holding the Child, looking toward and pointing to Him.

The gifts signify the Divine order. The man begets a child, and the woman gives it birth, she becomes a mother. The woman begets wisdom, and the man gives it expression, he becomes a father. Neither man nor woman is complete without the other. The King and the Queen, and the Kingdom, earthly Triad.

Each has their own sphere of authority within the Kingdom. The King creates and sustains, with his brothers, the outer world, they become the walls of the City of God. The Queen creates and maintains, with her sisters, the inner world, they become the guardians of home and hearth of the Kingdom of God.

Patriarchy is the earthly reflection and realization in mankind of the Divine order in the Holy Triad. It is not imposed on us from above, but is indivisibly part of our human nature. Even without having Divine scripture, the Greeks understood the pattern well, their philosophers articulated it, as in Plato’s Meno.

Πρῶτον μέν,
εἰ βούλει ἀνδρὸς ἀρετήν,
ῥᾴδιον, ὅτι αὕτη ἐστὶν ἀνδρὸς ἀρετή,
ἱκανὸν εἶναι τὰ τῆς πόλεως πράττειν,
καὶ πράττοντα τοὺς μὲν φίλους εὖ ποιεῖν,
τοὺς δ᾽ ἐχθροὺς κακῶς,
καὶ αὐτὸν εὐλαβεῖσθαι μηδὲν τοιοῦτον παθεῖν.
Εἰ δὲ βούλει γυναικὸς ἀρετήν,
οὐ χαλεπὸν διελθεῖν, ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὴν τὴν οἰκίαν εὖ οἰκεῖν,
σῴζουσάν τε τὰ ἔνδον καὶ κατήκοον οὖσαν τοῦ ἀνδρός.

First of all,
if you take the virtue of a man,
it is easily stated that a man's virtue is this—
that he be competent to manage the affairs of his city, and to manage them so as to benefit his friends
and harm his enemies,
and to take care to avoid suffering harm himself.
Or take a woman's virtue:
there is no difficulty in describing it as the duty of ordering the house well,
looking after the property indoors, and obeying her husband.
Meno, section 71e

Man creates, sustains and protects the outer world. Woman creates, maintains and provides the inner world. Two together, two are one, indivisible and according to Divine order, as the Creator designed them, as They designed us, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them be masters…’

Yes, Kings and Queens.

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