This year was a year of marriage milestones for my family. My parents celebrated 40 years of marriage. Moriah and Todd celebrated 10 years of marriage. Matthew and I celebrated 10 years of marriage, and Aaron and Jessica celebrated their 5th anniversary. To take it even further, Grammy and Poppie were married 65 years this year, and Fay and Papa would have been married 80 years this year.*
All of these anniversaries were made even sweeter by the marriage of my youngest brother, Gabe, to Kayla on August 11. (I’m sure glad they hit the right year to follow the family trend!) There isn’t anything much better than seeing the waves of emotions wash over a groom’s face as he watches his bride walk down the aisle. Gabe’s face didn’t disappoint as he saw his bride walk toward him in white and place her hand in his. The ceremony was a joyous occasion, as it should be.
My mind drifts back to our wedding, which in some ways could have been a total disaster. Matthew and I foolishly decided to have a wedding OUTSIDE in August … in Texas. Our parents lovingly complied with our wishes. Thankfully, we had an unusually mild summer in 2007, so the temperature was bearable. The only problem was the heat shower that came right as I was walking down the aisle. After a few moments, we decided to call a brief “intermission” and try again in a bit. Our guests and most of the wedding party huddled under trees during the shower while I went back into the small cabin and a bridesmaid salvaged my hair in about 10 minutes. I actually liked my second hairstyle even better than the first! The rain stopped. The guests flipped the hay bales they had been sitting on, and we started the wedding again. I got to walk down the aisle to my groom twice. I remember being happy. It was perfect. The wedding was imperfectly perfect. We left after the reception with the hope and joyous expectation of life together.
Where my thoughts drift next might seem like a major switch in gears, but bear with me for a minute. Earlier this summer, I stumbled upon Shane & Shane’s Psalms II album. I haven’t been obsessed with an album in a while, but I have been obsessed with this one. There are so many great songs, but "Psalm 45" sticks out to me. It’s one of those songs that has made me cry or want to cry so many times. If you haven’t listened to it, you need to. You won’t regret listening! This is the refrain that gets me:
You ransomed your bride
On the day that you died
Ascended to heaven in glory
She stands clothed in white
With her head lifted high singing
"Come and return in Your glory”
Weddings are joyous and lovely and filled with the hope of the future. Scripture says that the church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27). In order to win that bride, Christ left His Heavenly throne and was humbled in the form of man. But, not only that, He was willing to be obedient to the Father to win His bride, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:5-8).
“You ransomed your bride on the day that you died…”
On the day that He died, Christ paid the ransom for the church (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 1:16-19). His blood was shed so that we might be clothed in white. The bride didn’t do anything to deserve this. The bride didn’t promise to always fulfill and bring joy to the bridegroom. Still, Christ willingly died. He took our filthy rags and clothed us in white. So, those who have come to a saving faith can cling to the hope of her bridegroom returning and celebrating in the marriage supper of the Lamb. May the church’s cry truly be, “Come and return in Your glory.”
“’Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.’”
*Matthew’s side of the family has some impressive anniversaries as well this year. Nana and Popo have been married 55 years, Debbie and Larry 36 years, and Zach and Rachel celebrated their first anniversary this year.