7-4-21 | Worth It! | Jeremy Hudson
One of the features of my job is that I often find myself officiating wedding ceremonies, a role that I thoroughly delight in doing. I love everything about weddings. I love the personal touch in the decor, the celebrant joy of the guests, the beauty of the bridesmaids and the goofiness of the groomsmen. And even though I was at the rehearsal the night before, and even though it isn’t my wedding or my bride, I still find myself waiting with excitement for the doors in the back to be flung open and the bride to appear.
But all of that is not what moves me the most.
What moves me to the point of tears is watching the groom’s response to his bride stepping into view and moving elegantly in his direction. Many times the young man standing next to me will completely lose his bearing, overcome with joyful emotion at the realization that his waiting is over. The time when he and his beloved can begin their life together as husband and wife is finally here.
It’s the yearnings of the soul, the excitement for what is yet to come, and the being overcome with joy is why marriage is a picture of how God loves us.
In his Gospel, the Apostle John records Jesus using the motif of marriage to help us understand this point:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
While you and I may read this and think it is Jesus’ version of a post-it note saying “I am going to the store, will return soon,” it is actually so much more than that.
In Jesus’ day, when a man and woman were married, they did not get to begin their lives together once the ceremony had concluded. Instead, before the groom could take his bride home, he had to go and buy or build a place for them to live. He would labor to make sure that the home was ready and suitable for living. Then, the groom’s father would come to inspect his work. When the groom’s father determined that the house was ready, he would tell his son “Go get your bride and bring her home.”
So, when Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to prepare a place for them and that he will return to take them to be with him—they heard “I love you like a groom loves his bride. I long to be with you like a groom yearns to be together with his beloved.”
When we look at our relationship with God through the lens of marriage it gives us a better understanding of our relationship with God.
People will see Jesus in the marriages around them. Depending on whether or not that marriage is healthy, they will see a picture of Jesus that they can access and accept, or they will see a picture of a Jesus that they want to avoid.
This is why we at Fellowship need to champion healthy marriages. It’s not just because healthy marriages make healthy families and healthy families build strong communities. It is so much more than that.
Healthy marriages show us how much Jesus loves us.