I sat in a be-ribboned garden chair, conflicted. “Does he know what he’s getting into? How can he do this? Will it last? Does he really know her? Does he know what I know about her?” The wedding march played in accompaniment as my thoughts ran on like a third grader’s sentences.
I watched him at the sun-bathed altar. His eyes were so full of love. There was a smile of delight on his face. He glowed. Honestly? I wondered whether he was naive or just stupid. But, I love him. So, I smiled. The sun beamed. INstead of bathing the scene in beauty, it’s light just brought my conflicted feelings into sharper contrast.
A tear escaped my eye as she walked past me. It wasn’t a tear of joy.
She tripped on the runner.
She tried to catch herself on the pew. She didn’t. Her knee landed just off the runner in the grass, it stained her gown. “Is she drunk?” I wondered as she kept lurching towards the altar. As she walked past me, I noticed her train was torn. The gown wasn’t flattering. In fact, the fit was awful. Besides, should she even be wearing white? Who is she trying to fool? She didn’t fool me.
I sighed and tried not to roll my eyes. I dabbed at them with tissue and hoped the other guests would think I was touched. But I noticed whispers. Maybe I wasn’t the only one doubting the wisdom of this choice.
He could do so much better.
She’s not good enough for him. I know things about her. Bad things. Things that should make him (like me) reject her.
The list flew through my mind like leaves in the wind:
- She’s got a history, you now- with men.
- She’s a user, an abuser.
- She’s controlling.
- She’s manipulative.
- She’s judgmental.
- She’s sloppy.
- She’s naive.
- She’s vindictive.
- She’s pompous.
- She’s simplistic.
- She’s too pie in the sky.
- She thinks she knows everything.
- She argues over nothing.
- She holds nothing sacred.
- She’s narrow minded.
- She’s too permissive.
- She’s self righteous.
- She’s just not right.
The list went on and on. So did the ceremony and my torrent of thoughts:
“I can’t accept this. I refuse to have anything to do with someone like her. I just don’t have anything in common with her. Maybe, if she listened to me and changed some of her opinions… and ways….we could work this out…But, I doubt she’d see things my way.”
I didn’t hear a word of the ceremony.
Then, suddenly, it was over. It was too late. They were joined. United. One. I sighed.
“I love HIM. But, what do I do with HER?”.
I waited in the receiving line, wishing I was anywhere else. I don’t “do” faking it well. “Congratulations” and “Welcome” were the furthest things from my heart and mind. I wanted to shake some sense into her.. not shake her hand kiss her cheek and welcome her to the family.
As I got closer to them, my heart beat faster. “What can I say that isn’t a lie?” I wanted to scream at him, shake him and tell him what a mistake he’d made. “It’s not too late- this can be annulled or something, can’t it? RUN!” I settled on telling him the truth.. at least he couldn’t say he didn’t know. And I could live with a clean conscience.
At least, that’s what I’d planned. Until I stood face to face with him.
I looked into his eyes. I saw the truth.
He knew it all, worse yet- it was all true.
He also knew what I felt. He knew before I ever stepped into that receiving line.
He knew it all. And He loved her, anyway. And he loved me too. Regardless.
As we stood toe to toe, and I looked into his eyes and saw his love for her, I knew that if I rejected her.. I’d break his heart.
How could I? When he’d already accepted Me?
I wrapped my arms around them both. I held them. I cried.
She’s still all those things….. But, I love her. Because I love Him.
Even if I disagree, even if I think he’s naive.
I refuse to break his heart. I won’t reject her.
She, is the church. She, is me. She is All of us.
And he loves us. As we are.
Dear Lord.. Thank you for loving your bride, messy, clumsy and sin-filled and conflicted as she is. I pray that you’d help us to be beautiful in your sight and in the sight of those around us….help me to set aside my judgements and struggles with the disagreements I hold so tightly– bind our hearts and lives.. make us one… and let us love, whether that means helping to keep each other from sin or to clean up and heal the wounds our sins cause.. Lord make your beautiful bride.. fill our hearts so full of love there is no room for hate….in Jesus name- amen.
There is a lot of angst about the “church” in our world… both inside the christian culture and outside…I’ve had my own share. I think I have the spiritual gift of criticism…. hello? It’s not a gift. As I sat in my devotions this morning.. this is the picture and truth that came to mind… I can’t hate the bride he loves, without breaking his heart.
“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 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
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. Revelation 19:7-10
This week is a celebration of unity across christendom. Started by Rachel H Evans A “Rally to restore unity” Something I think could change the world… if we stopped sniping at each other, and started accepting respecting and *gasp* even appreciating our differences…. the world may just see the love of Christ through us…
And because unity should bring us to action… Rachel’s raising funds for Charity water-— who would argue with clean water to save lives?