There goes the bride: II
Jesus, Lover of our souls,
We give you praise today.
As Susannah stands before us,
The beautiful bride made more beautiful
by the gaze of the man who loves her,
You remind us that
You have not only loved us;
You have not only given us life;
You have chosen to call us your beloved bride.
Though we are so steeped in sin and rebellion
that our holiest thoughts and efforts are as filthy rags,
You present us pure, blameless, without spot or blemish,
in splendor before the throne of God.
Your love is tenacious. It is unconquerable,
and it is inseparable from us.
Lord, enable Jason to love Susannah in a like manner.
Help Susannah to receive that love and to return it.
By the power of Your Holy Spirit, enable all of us
to love You and our neighbors as You have loved us. Amen.
That is the prayer I wrote out for my sister's wedding. That is the one I left at home. The Holy Spirit apparently had different words He wanted to communicate through me that day. I think the final product came out something like that, but it was not the same, and as nervous as I was, I can take no credit for the prayer that left my lips. I really don't think I know what I said.
But what I meant to get around to in my last entry was this: I am not sure I have every experienced something so exhilarating as watching my sister, who is the most beautiful bride I have seen to date (perhaps only my own will be more beautiful), walking sown the aisle toward me, standing in front of me. I was blown away and still do not know how to put it into words. I am not sure I should try. I guess if you have been married or if you have been a pastor, you know what I am talking about.
I think I was given a whole new understanding of the relationship between Christ and the ones He has saved. I have read the marriage metaphor in Ephesians a bunch of times, and I think I got it, at least with my brain, but now much more with my heart. She was beautiful, more beautiful than she had ever been her whole life, yet she could only really look at her husband soon-to-be. And he could only gaze at her.
I know that marriage is certainly more than just the one hour (if that!) ceremony, but it is definitely not less. I knew one guy who always introduced his wife of twenty or so years as "my bride."
"Oh! I am my beloved's, and my Beloved is mine. He brings a poor, vile sinner into His house of wine.
I stand upon His merit. I know no other stand. Not even where Glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land."
--Last Words, by A.R. Cousin [based on Rutherford's letters]