Today, I’m mourning at a funeral: the daughter of a friend. In just a week, I’ll be rejoicing at a wedding. Life, in all its pain and glory, makes us stop and look beyond it. What waits for us at the end? Where will this young girl go? Why could she not have been that bride?
As Christians, we aren’t spared the pain but there’s a sweetness to it. We know the end of the story, and both the funeral and the wedding point us there.
Revelation 19:6-7, 9–
“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. … Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
All of life is an invitation to that wedding banquet, and death is the door through which we enter the receiving line.
At some point, the analogy starts to break down. As much as we the Church are the Bride of Christ, we are also invited guests at the heavenly Banquet. In another sense, we are Prodigals returned to the Father. We are sons of God in the Son. We are the Body of Christ who is not only Bridegroom, but Head of that Body. What holds all those images together?
Pure love, weeping love, exultant love, bleeding love. The love of a father for his child. The love of a bridegroom for his bride. The love of the God who IS love in his very essence, within and among the three persons of the Trinity.
God invites us to love. Trace the story that runs through the Bible, starting from Adam and Eve’s creation and one-flesh union in marriage … through the aching cry of the Father for the people he created precious, to be his own … through God becoming man to woo us further … through the Son giving his body for us on the cross … all the way to that wedding supper of the Lamb. All of Scripture is a call to rest in the arms of the Father, to be caught up in the loving embrace of his Son. WE — each one of us — are the loved and longed-for and cried-over son; we are the beloved Bride.
God, help us to see your love. Even more, give us the grace to respond. I want to say “Yes!” to that love. “I do.” Fiat. “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
In the pain of the funeral today, I wonder. Is she a prodigal? Is she a bride? The images dissolve in the loving eyes of the God who creates and loves and woos each one of us, who knows our pain and joys and who longs to take us up in his arms.
- What will separate us from the love of Christ? (In a word? NOTHING. Read all of Romans 8, especially verses 35-39.)
- Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8)
- We shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
- Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:9)
Please pray with me for the daughter of my friend, and for all those we mourn:
Into your hands, Lord, we humbly entrust this young girl who has been so loved and over whose death we weep. In this life you embraced her with your tender love; deliver her now from every evil and bid her enter eternal rest.
The old order has passed away: welcome her into paradise, where there will be no sorrow, no weeping nor pain, but the fullness of peace and joy with your Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
© 2015 Sarah Christmyer.