I love weddings.
I love going to them.
Being in them.
Which is good since about, oh, 3,597 of my friends got married this summer (slight exaggeration but so close to reality).
There is something incredibly special about watching two people enter into a covenant with God and each other before a group of their closest friends and family. Seeing the teary-eyed couple understand the gravity of their commitment to forsake all others for the rest of their life and cling to one another for better or worse, sunshine or sadness, excitement or excruciating pain, is a stunning illustration of something bigger than this world.
As I watch the Christ-centered weddings and even the wedding videos on Pinterest (this one is my all-time favorite… just listen to the vows. wow) and take in the mass amounts of preparation for each couple’s big day and listen to the stories of how the bride and groom, gushing with love, met and were led to marriage, I’m overwhelmed.
My eyes usually leak.
My heart is so full.
And my soul is led to worship.
But I’m slowly starting to see the bigger picture.
Beyond the weddings, the vows, the pearls, the white dresses and the covenants of this world, stand another wedding.
All the beautiful, captivating weddings of this life point us back to the sinless Savior who, as He died on a tree and rose again three days later, issued a new covenant with us.
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put My laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
then He adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Earlier this summer I saw one of my very best friends say “I do” to her prince charming (that’s them up there… they’re gorgeous) in a dazzling ceremony drenched in holiness and purity.
Last weekend another set of friends pledged themselves to each other in an enchantingly innocent and pure service.
Today I saw this wedding where the bride and groom began their ceremony by praying for each other and their marriage.
And all three of those weddings taught me the same thing.
Even the very best weddings are shadows.
Shadows of the glorious, heavenly, magnificent wedding where Jesus Christ redeems His adulterous bride and claims her as His own for all eternity.
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.
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;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” -Revelation 19:6-9
The purpose of marriage is to illustrate the union between Christ and the Church. A union so holy and radical that God uses an earthly illustration to give us a taste of the splendor and majesty of the divine wedding Jesus beckons us to be a part of.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. -Ephesians 5:22-27
There it is.
As spectacular as the most beautiful, elegant and Christ-filled weddings are, there’s a better one coming.
“…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.” -Isaiah 62:5b
Now that is overwhelming.