Here Comes The Bride…. (I wished she’d died, well, not really I just wish she’d find some other family to be part of))

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 stumbled.

She fell.

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? 

15 thoughts on “Here Comes The Bride…. (I wished she’d died, well, not really I just wish she’d find some other family to be part of))

  1. Thank you so much for bringing this to us. I am sad to say that it has laid me open and I pray God will continue working on my heart so I can love as He loves.

  2. Tracey Solomon says:

    Praying- it’s hard. I’m rt there with you. Which is why I wrote it;) love ts

  3. Brandy says:

    ugh! I’m gonna FB message you about this!

    Great post though!

  4. hmm thats the first “ugh” comment I’ve gotten… Im guessing its an ugh of resonance… praying for you.. and for me.. the body and bride is messy… and complicated…;) hugs!

  5. Brandy says:

    resonance indeed! ;o) Thanks for your help today!

  6. Morticia says:

    That was beautiful.
    However, I’m no longer a part of any church because most of the people in the christian church have been so very hurtful.
    YES – we should love everyone in the church because God loves them too. But YES – we should love EVERYONE IN THE WORLD because God loves them too.

    It doesn’t mean that we have to go a church and hang out with people who are filled with hate and do evil, just to be a Christian ourself. It means we should love everyone, but it doesn’t mean that we have to take part in a group of people who can be so terrible and judgemental.

    Jesus hung out with all kinds of people all over the place. He didn’t stick to the people in the synagogues who preached and prayed in public and tried to make themselves look better… he hung out with the real people, the humble people, the people that the church of that day spit on.

    So yeah, God loves EVERYONE. It means that we should love everyone. But it doesn’t mean that we have to spend our time hanging out with people who are judgemental and say that you will go to hell unless this, this and that about yourself is changed… it means that we go out into the world and spread our love to people. Christ’s love.

    Yes, love the tattered bride – but that tattered bride is all of humanity, not just the people sitting in the pews on sunday.

    I don’t wish to be a part of a group of people with ideals that I am against. Yes, I want to love everyone. That is my point!! I can’t believe many of the things that Christians of this age believe, and still have love. It’s all just too judegmental.
    So, I do not go to church, because they have many ideals I am against.

    I love Jesus, and what he stood for. The Christian church of today does not represent what I think Christ stood for (and stands for) so I am not a part of it, It is in the same way that I am not a part of the church of Satan, or any other organisation that goes against my morals.

    I can love people, but I don’t have to do what they do and believe what they believe to LOVE them. Christ is LOVE, and much of the modern church today does not represent that love for me. So I am not a part of it.

  7. Morticia- absolutely agree. I don’t think anyone HAS to go to church.

    This post is confronting my own attitude towards the church in particular.. if you poke around you’ll see that I’m passionate about overcoming ALL the ways we with hold love from those around us. whether they profess Christ or not:)

    What I’d challenge is the prejudice against “the church” if you inserted ANY race or other religion into those statements, and spoke of a people group in as broad terms, or heard someone else do the same, you’d (or they’d) be categorized as a bigot.

    Which, I do NOT think you are.

    But I also refuse to belong to an invisible/disorganized (or organized doesn’t matter) group that is equally definable by it’s hate. for the church. What’s the difference?

    Here’s my question. What about ME? When you talk about the the church….. you’re talking about ME, too. I’m a person. A messy, sinning, stained and tattered mess. Who passionately loves people.

    And goes to church.

    I hope you’d get to know me before you judge me, and I ‘d reconsider the sense of prejudice (pre-judge) that you’re communicating.

    I totally hear you on the attitudes you’ve experienced in the church, that cause your feelings. Like I said, I’ve struggled with many of the same, I need to stick in and try to change the way things are… even if I feel it’s futile. because it matters.

    I’m so glad you came by and spoke up. The truth is your in the majority. Your feelings and experiences are sadly the norm. That sucks, and is NOT how it should be. I hope someday we worship him together.. in grace and truth..

    if not here… then in heaven.. 🙂

    1. Morticia says:

      Thank you for replying to me!

      You said:
      “What I’d challenge is the prejudice against “the church” if you inserted ANY race or other religion into those statements, and spoke of a people group in as broad terms, or heard someone else do the same, you’d (or they’d) be categorized as a bigot.”

      I don’t think it’d work the same way if I said, say, that I don’t want to belong to a group of Hispanic people. Why? Because being “hispanic” is not defined by a single set of beliefs and values that every hispanic person holds. As far as I know, there’s no Hispanic Bible that tells everyone person what to think and velieve, and if believe in it, then you’re Hispanic!! That’s not what makes a person “hispanic”.

      Christianity, on the other hand, is *defined* by what the people believe and the rules they follow and the way they live. I’m against many ideas at the core of modern Christianity. I don’t like people being in a group that has, at it’s core, teachings that say that some people are sinners and are going to hell for certain things, like loving someone of the same sex. I’m against things like that.
      Every Christian I’ve met has said that they have to follow the entire Bible, and that that is a part of being a Christian. They said you can’t “pick and choose” parts of the Bible. If that’s true, then being a Christian means that you think I’m going to hell. That’s what I’m against.

      And no matter how many times a Christian has told me that they “love me”, it has pretty much gone in one ear and out the other once they’ve added something like “but what you are doing is wrong, if you continue you will burn in pain and torment forever… I love you, but I think that a very core part of you is WRONG and EVIL and I disagree and that part must be cast out and burned forever because it’s so evil…” I just see no love in that AT ALL.
      They’re against me because I LOVE someone who has the “wrong” body parts. The way I am is so evil and I will burn forever, yet they love me. They’re worried for me? No, they’re worried for themselves. If they can prove to themselves that some people really are evil, then maybe it will help them feel safer, like they really are not going to hell because they are not evil. Perhaps that’s how some people are. I still am not sure.

      I just think it’s messed. If God loves everyone, then he will not let anyone die and burn FOREVER.
      NO ONE.
      There are just so many things in the Bible that I disagree with, but while I was actively in the church, I was beyond terrified to even *question* them, for fear of burning in hell forever. Sometimes this fear was there, but just subconscious. So I had to “love God” or I would burn in hell forever. Now that I think about it, it sounds more like an abusive relationship.

      It’s that being a Christian is saying that you hold these same ideas that the Bible teaches – ideas that foster hate, ignorance, judgement and fear.

      I’m not against the person. I’m against the belief and actions that a person has. I would LOVE to think that there are many christians out there who don’t believe all the things that I’ve been taught Christians believe, like things in the Bible…but if that’s the case, than those people would probably not actually be called Christians.

      I actually do feel love from you. That’s great. ^_^
      But really, you remind me more of me when I was trying to live a Christian life and love everyone. It’s like anything I believed, I had to fit inside this box first, this Christian box, and try to make it fit. Like… does the Bible say it’s ok? Can I believe this if the Bible says that?? Why does the Bible say this here, and then the opposite there??

      It was hard because I was taught that certain people are just…. wrong, and sinning and that if they don’t stop this “sinning” then they will go to hell. I have tried to be a Christ loving christian while following the Bible… until I realised that I just couldn’t follow the teachings of the whole Bible and follow the example of Christ at the same time. There is a lot of hate and judgement in the Bible.

      Jesus has no hate or judgement. He loves you and he loves me and he loves Hitler. I think love is the most important thing. Atleast I know that you want to love everyone too.

      My problem is not with all Christians themselves, but with what they believe in. I mean just the fact that they are Christians means they believe certain things… and it’s those things/beliefs that I’m against. I hope that makes sense. I’m probably going in round about circles and being quite redundant or whatever, so sorry.

      I’m still going to try and be open minded and I could of course change my opinion at any time… I’m willing to listen to what anyone says and I think one of the worst things is to be so definite about believing one thing while shutting out other ideas.
      So… I’m trying to be open minded. Atleast I’d like to be.

      Hopefully I’ve explained what I mean by being against Christianity.
      At the core, I’m for Jesus Christ, who is LOVE, and am against Christianity as a religion because it holds some very unloving ideas and that would be against Christ… and I am against what is against Christ. I just want love. I hope that makes sense. Sorry this was so long!! 🙁

      1. Jenn says:

        I’m sorry you’ve been so hurt by the church, I have too. I’m in the process of trying to be open minded too…it’s a cloudy journey sometimes but those nights when I lie awake and the thoughts spin around in my head I just beg God to show himself to me and I do, I see little parts of Him.

        There is a verse about seeing in a mirror dimly but soon we will see face to face. When I get discouraged by the nastiness amongst christians (myself included) I try to focus on something else, to look for beauty in the world and let it speak to me.

        Don’t let the church keep you from Jesus, it is only meant to be a representation and it’s full of broken people.

        I pray you’ll feel God’s love and know you aren’t alone.

  8. Again.. all great point. esp the point about beliefs vs race. I get that, but still think we can be bigoted or prejudiced towards a people group- and that we should work to overcome that.

    honestly, in this case- a people group has hurt you- (the church and your specific experience with it) and it sounds like that experience is creating a prejudice towards a broader group= christianity at large.

    Here’s the thing- define Christianity? For me- it’s defined as one who follows Christ. There is a vast array of beliefs within that system. From liberal to massively conservative. So it’s hard to say all christians believe: X,Y or Z. Shoot, if you’ve been to a business meeting you know we often can’t agree on a carpet color, let alone a doctrine:P

    I get what you’re saying (I hope- that or I’m whacked which could also be true.) And I agree that Jesus has no hate. As for the rest… Here’s my challenge to you: You get Jesus… so take some time and read his words. Just his.

    Get a cheap red letter edition (Or email me and I’ll send you one;) and just read Jesus’s words. Then decide what you really believe about him…

    I’m actually doing the same, right now….Sometimes I think I get distracted by all the other stuff, and out of touch who this Jesus is, that I say I follow. I have to know HIM in order to follow him.

    And to be honest-I admit while I KNOW about Jesus, I often DO not GET Jesus. He is so not, like me. Loving, yet righteous. Tender and merciful, yet ready to knock over tables and crack a whip when people turned his temple into a den of thieves (really a market- they were profiteers!)

    Anyway- all this to say: I don’t have all the answers, (ok I don’t have many) but I do have faith, and I do try not to box God into anything he hasn’t created… and to follow after Jesus even when I don’t get him.

    I’m sorry you’ve been hurt and have seen so much hurt. I just hope that you know that there are those believers out here who don’t think we have it all together. Who don’t have stones to throw or judgments to make. (umm not my job, and not one I’d want, actually.) But that really do love people. (Even if i speak in cliche’s:P That was prolly a record!)

    No worries- I want love too. I get that. And I want to be loving. Even if I’m really judgmental and stupid. (Which I can be, who isn’t?)

    Peace sister. And I hope you won’t quite give up on his followers..just yet… we can be pretty slow… 🙂

    love ts

    ps that was rambly… sorry just giving you my heart.. and it rambles:P

  9. Bev says:

    Tracey,

    This is great and totally unexpected. I too love the Church. I am a minister, have been for over thirty years and sometimes I thought the Church would kill me (and sometimes that I would kill it), but there came a time in my life when I realised that if Jesus loved the Church then so must I and that I would love her and serve her until the day I die, because, as you say, saying I’m not of the Church when I’m a Christian, doesn’t mean I’m not of the Church. Once we choose Christ, we become the Church…

    If you look at the book of Numbers, where Balaam was hired to curse the people of God (who, by the way, were down there worshiping a golden calf), he could do nothing but bless them. He got taken higher and higher, but the view of the OT church became more and more beautiful, because when we get a God’s eye view, we can see past the slutty manipulative nature and into who God has called her to be.

    Great article!

  10. Rea says:

    This is beautiful, thank you.

  11. Sisterlisa says:

    Powerful analogy!

  12. Jenn says:

    So eloquently put…I felt like I was right there, am right there….judging that bride of Christ who is me.

    Oh this was so much easier when it was in my neat, tidy little box! It is so much realer for me though now that is raw, and genuine.

    Thank you for your words.

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