This is the summer of weddings for my family. We’ve attended two in recent weeks and have so many more in the months ahead that it’s hard to keep them all straight. It seems we are blessed to be in relationship with a great number of people who are taking that step into married life right about now!
All these weddings have been bringing to my mind the image of Christ and his church—this idea that we are the bride of Christ. I keep finding it making its way into my conversations. I keep relating my opinions to other believers back to this hope and future. I find myself considering the implications of our relationship with Christ being compared to that of a marriage. I believe it should be noted as an evidence of God’s grace anytime we find the circumstances of life bringing certain passages from Scripture—or certain images it portrays—repeatedly to the forefront of our minds. Weddings should always do this for us. Just as husband and wife are made one flesh so the Bible speaks of Christ and his church being made one. Each time we gather and watch the bride being united with her husband I am reminded: this is our hope. This is our goal. It’s great perspective and it’s a beautiful reminder of our future destiny.
When Paul writes the Corinthian church he has concern that the church not lose sight of this perspective. He wants them to live with this future in view. His specific concern for them comes from the danger of being led astray to teachings that are false, but I think the general warning to remember that we are being made ready, that we are promised to Christ, is critical for us all.
I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:1-3
Paul is calling on the church to remember what it’s all about. What are we doing here? What are we hoping for?
We are promised to Christ. The goal of this life is preparation. We are constantly being prepared for the day when we will be presented to him. All the struggles and disappointments of life, all the blessings and victories; everything in life is making us ready for that day. It’s all preparation for being made one with Christ in full completion.
This is who we are, this is what we hope for, this is why we live; just as a bride is made ready for the day of uniting with her husband so we are being made ready. This can admittedly be an awkward concept for a guy to wrap his mind around. We are the bride?! There is something “macho” within us that wants to balk at this imagery. But if we consider the husband and wife, the uniting and being made one, it is beautiful and should give us great hope and joy. To be made one with Christ—there is no greater destiny than this!
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7-8
What a beautiful wedding day our future holds; a wedding like none other! This should give us hope for tomorrow and strength for today. This picture gives me a great deal of new found love for weddings. They are always reminding me of the future, of our promise, of our hope. There is a great wedding in our future, and it should bring definition to how we live in the present.