Earlier in the year we had the joy of attending the lovely wedding of some friends of ours.
Reu is at an age where he doesn’t really appreciate the finer details of weddings yet. He didn’t really see much of the ceremony – he was intent on swiping the pretty sequins off the table next to us, and playing with the bouquets of flowers that were attached to the barriers. In the end daddy took him out to play during the talk so that we weren’t too disruptive!
But one day, when he’s a bit older and more civilised (will that day ever come?!) we look forward to chatting to him and Bo about the significance of marriage. We wanted to share some ponderings to perhaps help you chat to your children next time you’re at a wedding.
It was such a special day, that reminded us of even more special realities.
As we watched the stunning bride walk down the aisle in her white dress – her Father beaming and delighted – it pointed to the greater meaning of marriage. As we saw the groom with eyes filled with wonder and awe at the beauty of his bride – it pointed to an even more magnificent love story. As we heard our friends vow to love, cherish and honour each other for the rest of their lives – their vows of commitment spoke of the unconditional love of another. Weddings point us to a wonderful reality embedded in the history and future of the universe – the thrilling reality that God loves the people he has made in an even more intense way than how a groom loves his bride. All human weddings are a picture of a greater love.
The First Ever Marriage
When the boys are older, we’ll be able to tell them that the first wedding happened at the very dawn of time. After God created the cosmos for his glory and our enjoyment, he created a companion especially for Adam. The first marriage was similar to every other marriage since. God the Father presented his daughter to Adam. He walked her down the aisle to her groom. God’s heart was full of excitement and satisfaction as he gave his beautiful daughter to her husband.
“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Genesis 2:18 – 26
Christ and the Church
And we’ll be able to tell them that the love that a husband and wife have for each other (whether mummy and daddy – or any other bride and groom that they see) are a picture of Jesus and his church. We’ll be able to explain to them that Jesus loves the church deeply – that he loves his people so much that he died for their cleansing. That Jesus makes it possible for his bride to wear a sparkling, snow-white wedding gown of righteousness. You see Jesus, like prince charming in Cinderella (but in a much more wonderful way), made it possible for the church to discard her rags of poverty and disgrace and be clothed in a ball-gown fit for a Queen.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Marriage Supper of the Lamb
And then we’ll be able to tell him that there is a wedding day to come, where we, the church, the bride of Christ, will be united to our wonderful bridegroom Jesus. At long last, we will live with our God – never to be separated again. We will enjoy the ultimate wedding day as the beloved of Jesus and we will feast and celebrate at a banquet fit for royalty – for that it what we have married into.
“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.”
Weddings are such wonderfully happy occasions – entire days set apart to celebrate covenantal love. They feel so indulgent don’t they? We wear beautiful outfits, we revel in the affection that the bride and groom have for each other, we feast on cake, we laugh and reminisce, we drink delicious wine and we dance the night away. That’s totally appropriate behaviour when we are celebrating a wedding. How wonderful that the joy that we feel at a wedding day is just a drop in the ocean compared to the joy that we’ll feel on our wedding day to Christ.