Dear Young Couple That I Surprised This Past Week

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

I’m the guy in the black dress that was tapping on the window of your car at 5:45am. And, yeah, I know: when you’re sitting in your car with nothing on but your underwear, a priest is pretty much the last person you want to see. But, in the future, if you refrain from parking behind churches, you’ll significantly lower the odds of that kind of encounter.

There’s a good deal more advice that I would have given you, but you didn’t roll down the window when I tapped on it the second time. In fact, neither of you looked at me; you just started the car, backed away, and drove off.

I can’t say that I blame you. I mean, it was a pretty weird way for me to start the morning, and I had on all my clothes. Nevertheless, on the off chance that you might happen to read this column, I thought I would go ahead and let you know what I would have said if you had given me a chance to actually speak to you.

I’m sure that you believe that you know everything that you need to know about sex. After all, you’ve probably looked at lots of porn, and you most likely have all sorts of friends who’ve tried all sorts of things, and chances are good that you had to sit through those classes at school where they talk about how to do it safely and how to avoid STD’s and how to make sure everyone involved has given their consent. But what you clearly don’t understand is that sex is sacred.

And, sure, that’s not a word that people use very often in connection with sex, but, in Holy Orthodoxy, we believe that sex is a gift from the Most Holy Trinity, and anything that comes to us from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is sacred. In fact, we often hold weddings in the building just a few yards from where you were parked, and in those services we actually thank the Most Holy Trinity for all the sex that the couple will enjoy across the years. Here’s a selection from one of those prayers: “Do Thou bless this marriage, and give unto Thy servants a peaceful life, length of days, chastity, love for one another in the bond of peace. Count them worthy to see their children’s children; preserve their bed undefiled and give them of the dew of heaven.”

That’s what happens when sex is used properly—it’s the sacred expression of a life-long love; it creates a bond of peace, and it leads to children and grandchildren. But you’re never going to experience any of that as long as sex is just something you do in a parked car.

Which leads us to the biggest irony of all in this odd and awkward situation: You’re probably thinking that this is all about control; you’re probably convinced that we Orthodox Christians want to tell people when they can and can’t have sex. But you’re wrong. What we Orthodox want is for couples like you to get the most out of sex. We want the two of you to experience the bond of peace and the dew of heaven.

But the only way that’s going to happen is if you understand that sex is sacred. And the only way you can receive all the blessings that accompany that sacred gift is through marriage. So, hopefully, one day, I’ll see the two of you again—fully clothed, please—and we can talk about what that might look like.