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...the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb… - Revelation 19:7b (NLT)
At a wedding, the ceremony and the reception are always memorable. But sometimes, sadly, for the wrong reasons! As a result, America’s Funniest Videos has no lack of hilarious wedding footage. Their repertoire includes vows misspoken, the groom passing out, a flower girl throwing a fit at the altar, and Grandpa’s pants falling down during the reception.
Weddings can be astonishingly elaborate. Or super simple. The guests show up in all their finery. The cake tantalizes the taste buds. But what’s the most important part of a wedding? Do we really need to ask? It is the promise!
The vows of faithfulness spoken by the bride and groom bind them together in covenant. Sometimes the words are splendid in tone. Sometimes they are simple. Then there are times the vows are neither splendid nor simple... but silly instead, as only Dr. Suess can be:
Yes, I'll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we're rich,
And when we're broke and in a ditch,
And when we're fit, and when we're sick,
(Oh, can’t we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I'll love her my entire life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!
Whether silly or solemn, the celebration of a wedding is a picture of three love stories being played out at once. It’s a representation of the love shared by bride and groom. It’s a reflection of the love of Jesus for His bride, the church. And it’s a representation of the love of God for the entire world.
The promises we make at a wedding to God and our beloved are a reflection of a greater promise… and bring us face to face with God’s extreme faithfulness; the kind of faithfulness which leads to a God-confidence which has infinite rewards in all of the most important relationships in our lives.Share Tweet
...his bride has prepared herself. - Revelation 19:7b (NLT)
The other day my six-year-old called out to my bride, “Hey mom!” Now, you literally never know what’s going to come out of the boy’s mouth. So she turned his way with curiosity only to hear him declare: “You’re hot!” He’d picked up the phrase from one of his friends on the playground at school. When she finished laughing, my bride helped him understand how to best say what he was trying to communicate… that she is beautiful and he loves her!
Speaking of beauty, in the approximately one-bazillion weddings I’ve officiated, there’s always one moment that’s truly unforgettable. That instant when the doors open at the back of the church and the bride stands there, prepared to walk down the aisle. She’s resplendent. The very definition of the word beautiful. Especially the moment when my bride stood there, radiant, to walk down the aisle so I could be hers and she could be mine. (And she’s still hot nearly 25 years later!)
All that to say, there’s just nothing like the feeling of anticipation and joy a wedding brings. In the same way, the wedding feast of the Lamb will come one day. And Jesus Himself, the groom, waits for us. He’s filled with anticipation. We will sing and dance and eat... and celebrate His eternal love for us, which will get better and deeper with each passing day. You can be certain that God looks forward to that day!
A wedding is a long journey at its outset. Not a finish line, but the beginning of a beautiful story. It’s a snapshot of a never-ending, not-even-death-will-break, commitment. It’s a celebration and a demonstration of hope. It’s a joyful picture and the start of a loving commitment between two people for life. Just like God’s commitment to us, His people.
God’s love for us overflows with joy. And love. Trust. Faith. It’s the defining picture of Jesus and his love for the Church. The wedding feast of the Lamb will overflow with greater joy than anything you have experienced or can even imagine. How does that cause you to feel or respond? Tell God or a trusted friend about it today.Share Tweet
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear... - Revelation 19:8 (NLT)
46-year-old Michael Cleveland was shopping for groceries when he collapsed after going into cardiac arrest. The ER doctor pronounced him dead, then left. Nothing more he or anyone could do… or so he thought. The grieving family was shocked when they saw him trying to breathe. His eyes followed people as they moved around the room. He was alive, right? When word was passed to him, the doctor said, sadly, no. These were merely involuntary residual movements that merely made it appear he was living. The family tried in vain for two hours to get the doctor to return. When the coroner arrived to retrieve his body and noticed Michael still moving, he insisted the doctor return to reassess the situation and it was soon determined the man was, in fact, still alive! Sometimes even the experts can be wrong.
Are you in a relationship that’s been pronounced dead? Sometimes we wind up at a place where we’re just going through the motions; the signs of life are faint. Some marriages don’t live up to the ideal, but nothing lives up to the ideal all the time. It doesn’t mean we need to give up or go looking for greener pastures. If you’re struggling, find a way to move closer to the Lord. As we grow closer to God, we naturally draw nearer to one another. As we become more like Jesus, the kindness in the marriage grows. The gentleness grows. Love grows. Peace. Patience. Every tangible bit of evidence of the presence of God’s Spirit in a life overflows from a marriage that is rooted in and filled with Him. The best any of us can do is aim for the highest example on a consistent basis. And the highest ideal, the supreme example, is the unity of the bride and groom with one another and with God.
When a bride and groom join together as one, Jesus is seen more clearly than ever. When He’s accurately depicted, He looks appealing to a watching world. And when He is represented in this way, He draws people to Himself. And restores life - and hope - where they once seemed absent.Share Tweet
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband... - Revelation 21:2-3 (NLT)
I arrived at the first really significant choice in my life at 5 years old. It was not only a choice, but a fork in the road. My parents were going to buy me a toy but there were two I just had to have. One was a Lego Fire Station. The other was a set of Incredible Hulk Inflatable Muscles. I labored over the decision. And finally chose the Legos. A choice I’ve never regretted.
Recently that choice came back to me as my six-year-old played a video game… Lego Marvel Superheroes. As he played the Hulk, running around, smashing things, I realized with a happy tear in my eye: He doesn’t have to choose! [sniffle...] Lego and Marvel Superheroes fit together perfectly! It’s a match made in heaven.
Legos were created to fit together. And they not only fit one another, but they go so well with a host of other fun brands... like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jurassic World. Two brands that are tons of fun on their own just get better when they are wedded to one another. The marriage of the two makes something completely new and so much better than each on their own!
Marriage is a picture of connection. The elements of a relationship are like Lego building blocks. And when the ultimate building block is in place - the cornerstone, Jesus - the structure is built in a way that will last. Scripture tells us to let the Word of Christ (lógos Christos) to dwell in our lives. Lógos comes from the root word lego, and signifies a systematically constructed set words conveying a rational thought. When the Word of Christ dwells in our hearts, everything else begins to connect and find a good fit.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” - Revelation 19:9 (NLT)
As a newly ordained pastor, I was honored to wed my first bride and groom in late 2004. Then, less than a year later, the groom’s was the first funeral I officiated on my own. A wedding and a funeral for one family in less than twelve months. It was almost surreal to walk through these seasons with this beautiful couple. I met with them to plan their big day. Led them as they shared their vows. Traveled to pray with them in the hospital a few months later. Then drove four hours to walk alongside their family in their moment of loss. Through them, I was blessed to have a front row seat for two pictures. First that of Christ and His bride which was revealed by their wedding… and then to honor that very same groom as he entered into the reality of the experience of meeting Jesus, the True Bridegroom, face to face.
The wedding feast of the Lamb is the deepest source of hope we can have in a moment like that. With each loss we walk through in this life, we look forward even more to that Heavenly wedding day, the day of the great reunion. Sometimes we tend to think about eternal life in the context of life after we die. But, guess what? In Christ, we are already alive forever. Right now there’s a part of us that’s connected to real life… the part of us that experiences love and feels a deep connection to joy that will live beyond our life on Earth. And that eternal life we’re already living? It brings Heaven to Earth today in our relationships. You see, when God’s home is among His people, Real Life has arrived. He lives in us, so right now, spiritually speaking, God’s home IS among His people.
At a wedding you can easily understand the desire to experience this kind of joy forever. But we especially long for forever-life when walking through grief and loss. It’s when we remember this that we can be most grateful to the Lord for the hope He’s given us. Will you thank Him with me for this truth today?Share Tweet