One thing God has emphasised lately, is how much He loves His Bride. If Jesus loves His Bride, the church, and I love Jesus, then I have to love the church as well. At a wedding, the guests celebrate the couple’s union. It is so wonderful to watch how the groom loves his bride, protects her and honours her (and how the bride loves her husband!). The piece below looks into some aspects of how the church prepares as the Bride of Christ, and how she relates to her Bridegroom. It also gives some food for thought – what is our attitude towards the Bridegroom and His Bride?
Did you go to the wedding feast that day? Did you enter the banquet hall? If you had gone, you would have witnessed the most extravagant celebration since that of creation. There was a union, and a marriage; the fulfilment of a long-awaited covenant. It was spoken before the multitudes, proclaimed through all the nations. Did you receive the invitation? Did you see the Bride arrayed in glory? Did you see how the Bridegroom took her hands, lifted her veil, and kissed her with the kisses of His lips.
I saw the Bride get ready. It took a long time, but for the Bridegroom, it was only a moment. He could not wait to behold her full beauty, and she could not wait to abide with Him. Yet, she had to prepare, and the Bridegroom waited patiently. He supported her through every stage of her preparation and He loved her from the beginning.
First, she relinquished her bangles, her earrings and the braiding of her hair. A sign of her pride, these were memories of a life she had died to, and no longer served. Emptied in spirit now, she was washed clean with the blood of the Lamb, and she soaked in the presence of God’s grace. The Spirit of God gave her new life. Her cheeks were lovely, her voice was pure, her heart shone with joy and gladness. Still in her innocence, she was exquisite, like the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys. She was fair, and devoted to her Lord, her eyes like dove’s eyes as she gazed at Him and loved Him.
The Bridegroom rejoiced at her baptism, and at her transformation. She wore the scarlet of His sacrifice upon her lips, and the holiness of His being was in her eyes. He started to weave for her a beautiful dress with strands of the finest linen. She set out to prepare for the wedding day. There was much to do, and many arrangements to be made. Who would provide the venue? Who would arrange the flowers? Who would apply the touch of blush, and stroke of mascara to the Bride’s already glowing face?
The nations readied themselves, and the earth moved with precision to execute a fitting venue. Darkness, lies, debauchery and idolatry could not exist in the Bridegroom’s kingdom. The kingdom would belong to those who obeyed their Lord’s commandments and who loved Him. They were those who carried his light in their lives. There were battles as many things were destroyed; some recycled, some replaced, and some left splintered and in disarray. Yet, in the end, the city was established – New Jerusalem, with its twelve foundations, jewelled gates, and glassy gold walls. What a sight to behold with history, eternity and many lifetimes of stories decorating its glorious streets. There was no better venue for the wedding. The city represented all the Bride and the Bridegroom had worked for. Here, the presence of God would dwell with His people. Here, the Bride and Bridegroom would exchange their vows. Here, an unquenchable, unbreakable love would be vowed for eternity.
The Bride smelt her flowers, and the fragrance wafted up to the Bridegroom. Worship, in all its shapes and forms, blossomed in a beautiful bouquet. The blooms were tied together with a single scarlet cord and in unison, they sung of the Creator. It was His image that they sought to imitate, the fragrance of His love that they sought to diffuse. The Bride held the bouquet to her heart and the fragrance of the flowers filled her hands. She could see her Bridegroom’s face in the petals of her blossoms. She could feel His embrace in the strength of their stems. She could smell the perfume of His love, even as He smelt the aroma of her worship.
It was time for the wedding and the Bride was glowing. Invitations had been sent to the nations and only a few final touches remained unaddressed. The Bride readied herself to walk down the aisle. She was already radiant with the time she had spent serving the Lord joyfully, and following in his life-giving footsteps. Now she adjusted the veil before her face. It was so light now, it almost seemed invisible. She took the dress her Bridegroom had made for her, completed over many fittings, and sewn with purpose as they grew in their relationship. Each thread was a testimony, a word, or a promise, and the dress was altogether beautiful. The Bride dressed herself and made herself ready. She had everything she needed, for the Bridegroom had already given it to her. Now it was just left to her to accept His gifts, and apply all He had given.
She brightened her cheeks with the blush of His joy, and opened her eyes with the shades of His wisdom. Kindness coloured her lips, and peace powdered her neck. Faithfulness brushed her hair, and patience kept it in place. Self-control painted her nails and gentleness kept the colours soft. Goodness brushed her nose and love, well; love was a glorious crown, molded by both the Bride and the Bridegroom. It held their reflections, their fingerprints, the memory of their struggles, and their victories, the promise of their eternity together. The Bride placed the crown on her head. She was ready to walk down the aisle.
Were you there for the marriage of the Lamb? Did you see how splendidly the Bride had prepared herself? Did you see the saints arrayed in white linen, lining the aisles, and singing forth God’s Kingdom? Did you witness how the Bridegroom swept His Bride up in His arms, and how the whole kingdom rejoiced with Him? Did you open the invitation that was sent to you? Did you ever send back your reply? Did you get your wedding clothes ready, and did you see the Bridegroom come by? Were you there to see the Bride of Christ? Did you help her to get ready? Were you there to greet the Bridegroom? Did He recognise your face?
[Song of Songs 1:2,9-10, 2:1, 4:1,7:10, 8:6, Revelation 19:7-9, 21:2, 22:17, Matthew 22:1-14, 25:1-13, 2 Corinthians 3:14,18, Ephesians 1:3-4]