Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Ephesians 5:25-33 (NIV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The Church (big “C”) is the bride of Jesus Christ. A church (little”c”) is a part of that beloved bride. God loves His Church! As the famous hymn says: “from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died” (The Church’s One Foundation). Jesus will not abandon the bride for which he paid so high a price. A particular church (little “c”), like Shepherd of the Hills, is a gathering of the Church of Christ (big “C”). Jesus loves us more than he loves his own life. He has offered up himself so that we might come before the Father without spot, wrinkle or blemish. This is a “profound mystery” that the God of the universe would love us weary, broken sinners. Continue to pray that Christ would sanctify Shepherd of the Hills in faith!