Last weekend Amanda and I attended the wedding of her best friend in Indiana. The ceremony was held in a restored farm pavilion followed by a wonderful reception in a completely remodeled barn –something ripped right out of a magazine displaying “shabby-chic”. During the prelude music, the bride was assisted by my wife and other bridesmaids to make her way to the back of the pavilion from where she was getting ready. In this short trek the bride remained concealed by Amish-made, quilted blankets held up by the bridesmaids. They were successful despite the heavy covers flapping in the strong wind, and the groom waited in great expectation. The two were wed in down-to-earth style, the truth of love shinning more than flowery words.
I was happy for our friends, but since I have been pondering more theologically on the events of last weekend. The Bible uses the image of a wedding quite often to describe the beautiful relationship between God and humankind. God is the expectant groom who has made all preparations for the blessed union, and God’s people are identified collectively as the bride. I hate to stereotype, but being a guy I hadn’t exactly been planning my wedding from an early age. Many women do. It could be the dress or the hair, but our culture has definitely made the bride the “star” of the show. And I’m fine with that; but I think it unfortunate that the groom’s role has been limited in our society –even to the point of some grooms claiming their wedding celebration as “her day.” Men, it’s ok. Embrace your wedding day, embrace the wedding image.
You see, whether you think it’s “too feminine” or not, the wedding image is appropriate for all of us. The story of God and humankind is a love story. God created us out of love and made a covenant with us. We rebelled and chose our own way, making the relationship with our creator in peril. God, however, sent His Son to reconcile that relationship and restore that covenant. Then we, the bride, await that blessed day when we’re with our Lord in union forever. This isn’t a chick-flick. It’s a real and beautiful description of how God relates to us, and we to God. Are you resistant to the “bride” image in the Bible? Do you feel squeamish about God’s good and beautiful love? Do you trust that God loves in this way?