“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.” Ephesians 5:25-27
I went to a wedding this last weekend. It’s been a while since I went to one of those, but this one was really special. My cousin got married. I was a teenager when she was born, so by the time she grew up to be any size, I was out on my own doing my own thing. She’s a mother of two now, but in my head she’s still like three years old. Her sister who is a few years younger is even smaller in my mind. Funny how our minds freeze things in time like that.
Time, geography, and circumstances prevented us from really ever getting to see much of each other, but we connected a while back on Facebook, and it’s been nice to catch up with her and kind of get to know her. People can say what they want about Facebook, but without it, we might not have ever connected again.
The wedding was on a Sunday morning. Some might find that odd. I did, at first, but soon it began to make perfect sense to me. I knew that some of it was likely logistics. This was a second marriage for both my cousin and her fiancé. They didn’t want or need the big fanfare wedding. They wanted to be married. It so happened that their pastor was in the middle of a sermon series on marriage and the family. How cool was it to actually have a wedding ceremony during one of those messages? Pretty cool, actually. Those are the things of dreams for pastors. Their pastor could not have made up a better sermon illustration than that!
But as I sat there and listened to the pastor talk about marriage and the commitment involved, I couldn’t help but think how fitting it was to have a wedding on the Lord’s Day. After all, the whole idea of marriage was His. We try to define it in our society. We try to say what it is, and what it isn’t. Who should be allowed to call themselves married and who shouldn’t. We’ve politicized marriage and have tried to make it a right, when it is actually a gift from God.
God said something about his plan for marriage. He said, “Man will never be able to make without a woman to help him.” (Genesis 2:18, Stacey’s translation) So He made woman and gave her to man. Now man had someone to pick up his dirty socks. Just kidding. Adam didn’t have socks yet. God made woman and gave her to man to make wholeness. Oneness.
But that’s not why I think having the wedding on Sunday was so cool. Marriage is something else. Marriage is the closest human relationship there is between two people, and marriage is the best picture of Christ and the church that we have. It’s like God’s word picture to us on how Christ relates to the church and vise versa. The Bible describes Jesus as the Bridegroom who is readying himself to come for his bride. We, the church, are His bride.
The Bible tells us that as the bride, we are to keep ourselves pure for our wedding day. Spotless. Blameless. (And thanks to Jesus, we are!) I once heard of a wedding where it was the groom who came down the isle for his bride, rather than the other way around. They were trying to illustrate the Biblical picture of Christ as the Groom who will one day come for His bride. And when He comes for us, we will join with Him for all of eternity in perfect relationship. That’s what marriage illustrates for us. Or what it’s supposed to anyway. Two, becoming one, until the end, only with Christ and the church there will be no end.
So I liked this Wedding Day Sunday after all. It’s really perfect. How better to start off a marriage than to recognize the Lord’s place in the whole thing? Without Him, we wouldn’t have marriage at all. Maybe my cousin has started a new trend.