January 19, 2008

Wedding Plans are underway

Lately, God has been speaking to me a lot about the Bride of Christ. Until this season of my life, this meant very little to me. I have never been the kind of girl who planned their big, fancy wedding at the age of twelve. I have never been very romantic in the traditional flowers-and-chocolate sort of way. Even now, as God is preparing my heart for marriage, and taking me through the process of wedding-related things with my best friend, I still have very little foresight as to what my wedding will look like. One thing I do know is that weddings require a lot of attention to detail and a lot of preparation. This preparation can be frightening, frustrating, joyous, and just plain painful sometimes.

If it is true that the Church is the Bride of Christ, and the wedding will be after Christ's return, is not the time we have here the time of preparation for the wedding? What does this entail?

The engagement announcements-- Usually, the bride isn't afraid to put the name of her betrothed on the announcement of engagement. For some reason, it seems, we are afraid to even reveal his identity. But, when we don't tell the world Who it is that we are going to be married to, we keep them from sharing in the blessings of the engagement.

The perfect dress-- All brides want one thing, if nothing else, for their wedding. If the dress isn't right, the whole wedding can't be right. Bridal ornaments are talked a lot about in the Old Testament, always as a symbol of the bride's identity. In Isaiah 61:10, it says that the Lord has clothed us "...with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." What dress are we wearing as the Bride of Christ? Is it a radiant white that displays the purity and righteousness provided for us by Christ? Or did we opt for an ivory dress because of our infidelity, our unsightly pale skin, or because we thought we would break the norm of society?

The bridal shower-- I think that the bridal shower is the thing that we, as the Church, neglect the most. Instead of bringing our spiritual gifts before the Bride of Christ, we spend all of our time offering services that will in no way aid in the wedding preparations or in the life we will share with our Beloved after the wedding day is over. We were all created with gifts that will help the Bride fulfill her one true wedding preparation (that is, restoring God's glory in the world), but we either work out of our flesh, or we never RSVP for the bridal shower. Help the bride out a little!

"... Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." - Ephesians 5:25-27

On Aprils

Ten years ago, I sat in the dining hall of a Christian camp. A man my father's age sat with me. It was April, and I had no idea... I had...