Thank you for allowing me to interrupt your daily scroll of terrifying apocalyptic news. I want to try to show you a picture that few people get to see.
One of the greatest privileges I have as a pastor is officiating weddings. Little in life is more moving, more powerful, more transcendent, than the moment a bride walks down the aisle toward her groom.
Can you hear the soft, instrumental music playing in the background? The groom is at the altar. Every eye is on him. The anticipation in the air is palpable. Then – the music shifts, the doors to the sanctuary open, and I struggle to gently say, “please rise.”
Everyone turns to see the bride. Hands cover hearts as smiles break out across faces. People turn back to see how the groom is doing as the most beautiful woman he has ever seen starts walking toward him.
An unmatched sparkle beams from her eye. There’s a smile that becomes uncontainable within the first four steps she takes. Her pure white dress screams to everyone in the room - I’m taken! Not a hair is out of place. But even it was, no one would notice. The joy that radiates from deep in her soul drowns out any imperfection.
At this point, it’s best not to look at the groom. Most likely, he’s a mess. And if you want to keep your composure, the last thing you want to see is a strong man turn into a pile of mush because the love of his life is about to give her love exclusively to him for the rest of their lives.
For the follower of Jesus, this beautiful moment paints a picture of something more beautiful than this moment. Revelation 19:6 – 8 reads like this:
“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.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
Let me tell you about one of the greatest privileges I have as a pastor. It’s watching the church, the bride of Jesus prepare for her true and better wedding day. As a viral pandemic broke out around the world, I have seen the church of Jesus put on her wedding dress. That is, she has gotten her hands dirty with good deeds.
People have freely, joyfully given their time and talents to transition entire communities of faith to worship online. Cords were run, cameras were tested, hurdles were jumped over well into the night. All of this so that on Sunday morning, the church could gather to worship, even if online.
People freely, joyfully learned how to navigate new technologies so that the church would not have to forsake meeting together. Small groups of people met together – safely apart – to encourage one another, pray together, and study God’s Word.
Leaders have thrown out months of hard work in order to provide relevant care and content so that the church would not be helpless and harassed like a sheep without a shepherd. People have offered to help each other with rides, child care, groceries and more.
I don’t know if there is a more moving, powerful, transcendent sight in all the world than the church being the church. When the people of God dress themselves in righteous deeds like this, we scream to the world – we’re taken! We belong to Jesus. We’re giving all of our love fully to Him for the rest of our lives!
When we do, then there is no doubt in my mind, that there is a throne in heaven with a King whose heart bursts with joy. And He can’t wait to come back and get His bride.
Keep on serving, church. Keep on praying. Keep on giving. Don’t lose heart. Every good deed we do in the middle of this pandemic is just one more part of the process of getting ready for the wedding day that all of creation, all of history has been waiting for.
“…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
~ Isaiah 62:5
How about you? What are some of the ways you have watched God work in and through His church during this time? Please leave your thoughts below!