May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live together in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Romans 15:5-6
These are the verses printed on the front of the bulletin for Martha and Justin's wedding this past Saturday. I think this passage beautifully expresses their hearts' shared desire as they embark on this journey of marriage.
Standing with Martha in the parlor at the back of the sanctuary before the service began, I was struck anew with how wonderfully marriage illustrates so much about our faith. I was amazed at the sweetness of God - the incredible, tender, heart-melting sweetness of God - that He chose the institution of marriage to broadcast to a sinful world how passionately He loves His people.
As Justin stood at the front of the sanctuary, beaming with anticipation while Martha approached, I was reminded that it is with just such joy and delight and longing that Christ regards me. He loves His bride, the church, and He longs eagerly for His wedding day!
Some people think this Christian faith is heavy, that God is a joy killer, that our calling is one of burdensome laws and life-sapping servitude. Like Jesus is a stern taskmaster or a malevolent judge. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a child of God, I can testify that Jesus is like a radiant bridegroom, smiling joyfully at His bride. He is truly beautiful, altogether lovely.
Watching Martha as she stood before Justin and eagerly promised to be his and his alone, to love him and to live and serve alongside him, to give up her own name in exchange for his, I was again amazed at the beauty of the gospel of grace. Martha was absolutely glowing. The anticipation of several months was finally being realized in her union with her husband. For what seems like an eternity, she has been longing to be swallowed up in his embrace.
And then there was The Kiss. It very nearly blew the roof off the sanctuary.
When I consider my Beloved - when I read His Word to me, when I talk to Him in prayer, when I sing His praises, when I talk to others about all that makes Him lovely - do I do so with a heart bursting with longing, eager to behold my Beloved face to face? Do I anticipate Glory with the excitement and intensity with which Martha anticipated that Kiss?
I love Christ-centered weddings. They are indeed a billboard proclaiming God's faithful covenant love for His people. They bring my Beloved tangibly near. They prompt me to fall in love with Jesus all over again.
They make me long for the Wedding to come, giddy for Glory.