In the past, I wasn’t the biggest fan of weddings. As a child I went to weddings with my family and a couple times in my “later years” I had the privilege of playing music for the weddings of close family members or friends. But I never was too enthralled with them. I enjoyed the food though, and if I have enough mental capacity to remember any of the specific weddings I attended, I literally can tell you what food or punch almost every one of them served: Chicken enchiladas, pork roast, Famous Dave’s, grape punch with vanilla ice cream- to name a few.
But in the past couple years I started to enjoy weddings more. Part of it is the fact that several of my friends have gotten married, and it’s exciting to see them begin a new stage of their lives. Part of it is the opportunity I’ve had to photograph the weddings for several friends. Yes, it’s extremely stressful, but it’s also fun to preserve those precious memories for other people.
Having attended two weddings in the last two weeks, I suddenly found a new reason to absolutely love weddings: They symbolize the relationship that exists between Christ and the redeemed!
Regardless of how happy I am for my friends when I attend their weddings, it’s even more exciting for me to look past them and remember that someday I will take part in the largest wedding celebration of all time at the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9). In the words of Fanny Crosby, “O what a foretaste of glory divine!”
Last Saturday I photographed the wedding of a good friend from school, and it was one of the best experiences ever. Everyone was so easy to work with- groom, bride, wedding planner, both families- and it just made my job that much more enjoyable because I could accomplish what I wanted to do as a photographer. I even had a couple friends who volunteered to help me, and I assigned them to take more pictures for me.
One of those was the sister of the groom, and she took several pictures of the bride and the bridesmaids as they got ready. Meanwhile, I was at another location talking with the groomsmen and eating fried chicken for breakfast (which, by the way, was very tasty).
I’ve noticed a trend at the weddings I’ve photographed. The guys get ready by themselves and take about 10-20 minutes to do so. The girls all help each other get ready, and they take at least an hour to do so. If you know anything about weddings, you know this is the norm, at least for American weddings. I don’t know what everyone else does.
Anyway, as I was driving home last Saturday night, I thought about all the work that goes into preparing the bride for the ceremony. Then I realized, “Hey! That’s what I’m doing! I’m preparing the bride for her husband!”
Think about it. If the Christ is the groom and the bride is believers, any and every effort to win people to Christ and prepare people for heaven is also prep work for the big wedding day! Now, obviously, it’s more than that, but it’s no less than that either.
Every believer should strive to be ready for that day when Christ will return for us. Jesus said in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” If you study John 14 in-depth, you will discover that the context is deeply rooted in the Jewish wedding culture.
Furthermore, every believer should seek out the lost and point them to Christ. Even more so, if I want to plant local churches, I should put an extra effort into reaching the unsaved. By planting churches we are preparing the bride for the Lamb, her Savior!
What a long, painstaking process. But how do those brides look when they walk down the aisle? Beautiful. Breath-taking. Heart-stopping. What does that mean? The process is worth it in the end. The rewards are worth the effort.
Especially for Jesus, who alone makes it possible for the Bride to approach him.