Have you ever had a moment in your life when you tried something new, that made you think, “Wow, this is so awesome! I can’t go back to the way life was before this!”? I have. In fact, I’d say I’ve had quite a few of these moments; I think everyone does.
Some are instantaneous: like the first time you heard the gospel, or the first time you woke up in the morning next to your new husband, or perhaps the first time you held your newborn baby.
Then there are those small, everyday moments that slowly start to change you. For me, one of these moments happened when I started working for a local coffee roasting company.
I had never been too picky about my coffee. As long as it had cream in it, I was happy. As I worked for the roasting company longer, however, my taste began to change. I started taking my coffee black, as I soon learned how to discern the different notes and flavours of the coffee I was drinking. I gained a deeper appreciation for the complexity of the cups I tasted.
Soon, I couldn’t bring myself to drink anything other than well-roasted, well-prepared coffee. (I know I sound like a snob. Bear with me!) I couldn’t go back tomass-produced coffee. I couldn’t stand it because I had acquired a taste for something so much better.
In her book, Half the Church, Carolyn Custis James describes a phenomenon known as "the Blessed Alliance." Right from the beginning, in Genesis 1:27, God creates man and woman in His image. Genesis 2 expands on the creation of the woman, the ezer, following the first negative statement made in the Bible: “It is not good for man to be alone.”
Right from the beginning, men and women are designed to be partners.
But we all know how the story goes.
The man and woman disobey, and what was a perfect creation is twisted as sin enters the fray. Death. Alienation. Subordination. Estrangement.
But through it all, hope. Because, here comes Jesus! Redemption. Peace. Relationship restored.
We see the power of God to restore relationship between us and Himself, and (rightly so) we focus on the nature of our relationship to Him.
But what about the relationship between men and women? For those of us in the church, how has our restoration with God affected the way that we relate to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ?
Custis James describes the Blessed Alliance as a restoration of the relationship between men and women found in Genesis; men and women as partners in the missio Dei, the divine mission to expand the reach of the Kingdom of God.
How beautiful does that sound?
Men and women, working together, not concerned with who’s in what role, or with who is the head over who; instead, serving each other as they serve Christ, the head of the church.
Men released to do what they alone are gifted to do, and women released to do what they alone are gifted to do.
What a beautiful picture of the church that would speak so loudly to a world that needs restoration, a world where both men and women ache to know that yes, they are very valuable and very much needed.
I have a feeling that if we knew just how good the Blessed Alliance is, if we slowly started to see the Blessed Alliance come to life in our churches, our workplaces, our families, our neighbourhoods, if we acquired a taste for relationships between men and women that is so much better than what we are used to, then we couldn’t go back. We couldn’t have our relationships any other way.
How can you partner with someone today?
How can you make the Blessed Alliance a reality in your own world?
Take a moment.
Ask God if there is someone, male or female, that you can partner with to reach others with the message of the gospel.
Ask God if there is someone you can intentionally serve alongside.
Let’s see the Blessed Alliance become a reality... and let’s never go back to the way it was before.
Rev. Elyse Brouwer is the Connections Pastor at Westwinds Church in Surrey, B.C. She works in the area of young adults, Life Groups, Outreach and church connections.
She graduated from Summit Pacific College in 2013 with a degree in Pastoral Theology. She grew up in Vancouver, B.C., where she accepted Christ as a teenager and felt called to vocational ministry shortly after.
She loves reading, thrift shopping, and any kind of food (especially sushi and Vietnamese). She thinks young adults are pretty awesome, and is passionate about seeing them develop in their relationship with Christ and His Church.