I just finished Church Reformed last week. Something that I found helpful to drive home this concept of the church as our mother was your discussion of the Lord’s Supper. Namely, the way you discussed that the Lord’s Supper doesn’t belong to “the Christian,” but to the church. As the family meal, it belongs to the family, not the individual. Yet we’ve erred in our churches by making it an individualistic experience.
I had this thought as I was reading. I wonder if in a similar way, when people speak of the church as the bride of Christ, do we make the subtle mistake wherein we inadvertently insert the individual Christian as the abstract placeholder for the bride of Christ. We essentially make the Christian out to be the bride of Christ, which means Christ alone is the Christian’s head.
In other words, we use this concept of the church as bride of Christ to deny the authority of the church. “Christ alone is my husband and my head,” says the Christian. Well, not exactly. Just as the Lord’s Supper doesn’t belong to the individual Christian, neither does the bridal honor.
That’s where the concept of thinking of the church as our mother just seems to click with me, and provides the missing link in how to think about it all. Even if the term had no biblical support, I’d still find it insightful.