Friday, September 7, 2018

Here Comes the Bride

It is wedding season for Christ Church. Congratulations to Kray and Kyra Freestone who were married two weeks ago. Tonight Dustie Buwalda will become Mrs. Stephen Smithers. And, two weeks from tomorrow the little boy with big glasses that I used to pitch wiffle ball to will become a husband as Josiah marries Morgan. Americans love a wedding. Shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” or "Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings" or “Bridezillas" capture our fascination with the whole affair, but do they capture the heart of the wedding?

Biblically, there is little else that is so full of imagery pointing to our relationship with Christ like the relationship between a bride and a groom, and the wedding celebration. The prophets spoke early on of the relationship between God and his people in terms of marriage (cf. Ezek. 16, the books of Hosea, Song of Songs, etc...). Foundational passages in the New Testament, like Ephesians 5 and Revelation 19, again cast our eyes toward marriage as talking about the mystery of Christ and the church (cf. Eph 5:32). In this context, one of my favorite things about weddings is watching the reaction of the groom as he sees his bride walk down the aisle (check out a few reactions here). From beaming faces, to misty eyes; from incredulity, to barely contained excitement, these grooms give us an insight into the heart of a Savior so utterly taken with his Bride.

This is the point in which we come close to the heart of the wedding. As Lauren Winner puts it, marriage is a gift "designed to tell a story to the entire church, a story about God’s own love and fidelity to us.” This is not a shallow love centered on the romantic “coupling" of two star-crossed lovers. A love whose end is the meeting of my needs, fulfilling of my wants, completing me. Rather, it is a love that seeks the other through sacrifice and eternal commitment, and a love that redeems. My forgetful heart so needs this picture! May every wedding we witness and every faithful marriage we observe (despite their imperfections and human inadequacies) serve to strengthen our hearts by pointing to the Bridegroom who is taken with his bride.

Beyond the weddings, this week we begin a series on Second Corinthians. As we will discover, this is a book that explores the interplay between power and weakness. It is a book that looks at comfort in the face of affliction. It is a book that ultimately holds forth our God as the God of all comfort. Feel free to prepare yourself by reading 2 Cor. 1:1-7.

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