Weddings are beautiful. I don’t care who you are, what culture you live in, or what worldview you hold, in general, weddings are beautiful to all people everywhere. We know this because of the time and preparation that goes into making a wedding ceremony reflect what is actually happening. God is joining a man and a woman together and that is beautiful, always (Matt. 19:6). Even when the couple denies God’s existence, the institution of marriage is a divine working of providence. Each time a couple unites in marriage, it is the installation by God of a reflection of the relationship between Christ and his Church. For those of us who recognize this holy element of a wedding ceremony, we try to magnify the beauty of the entire event. But even those of us who do not recognize this or refuse to recognize it, wedding ceremonies are coordinated and decorated in a way that reflects the beauty of the existential joining of two lives into one.
I am going to be attending a wedding ceremony this evening and though it will be gorgeously decorated, there is one aspect of that wedding that far exceeds the beauty of any flowers or dresses or decorations. And this aspect is highly eschatological in significance.
Tonight there will be gorgeous flowers in bridesmaids’ hands, flower girls’ baskets, and set up all around. There will be beautiful music, cute kids, loving hugs, kisses, tears, and words. A good crowd of folks will be gathered to witness the marriage of a young man and young woman who are about to embark on a journey unlike any other. Emotions will be high. However, the best part will be at the point of highest tension in the evening. Once all of the parents have been seated. Once the groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls, and ring bearers enter, the music dramatically will pause, and begin again. This cue will lead everyone to stand, all eyes to be turned toward the back as a bride dressed in white prepares to come down an aisle for her waiting husband. That moment of bliss and joy is my favorite part of weddings because it captures a picture of a glorious consummation of an eternal plan that will one day unfold.
Jesus Christ is our bridegroom, and we ourselves, the Church, are his bride. Though we were lost and dead in our sin, our bridegroom came for us. He sought us and he bought us with his blood. Christ cleansed us from the guilt and corruption of our sin and made us white as snow with his blood. One day, we will be at the end of an aisle gazing not at our beautiful white garment, but on our gloriously beautiful Groom, who loved us, justified us, sanctified us, and glorified us for his glory. A great cloud of witnesses will observe the scene as we are forever perfectly joined to our Savior with no sin or death in sight!
I have already experienced what I am about to witness tonight. The anticipation of awaiting for my bride to walk down the aisle was immeasurably joyous. However, the anticipation I feel for the day when I will be not the groom but a part of his blood-cleansed Bride gazing at my King of grace in the splendor of glory is one I cannot describe. Christian, share my joy today.
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for athe marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— Revelation 19:6-8
The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Emmanuel’s land. –Anne Cousin (from ‘The Sands of Time are Sinking’)