March 03, 2008

Symbol of the bride of Christ

Ephesians 5:22 – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

All brides have a lot to deal with as they head into the final stretch prior to their wedding day. Some brides lose control and become known as "bridezilla." Some brides handle the entire thing with aplomb, but everyone still knows that they have tremendous stress going into the home stretch.

Abigail–Eyes for her groom only

But the cultural/social phenomenon that a wedding has become is caused by stress factors of our own making. When we look at the biblical reasons for a wedding and at the symbolism that is built into the ceremony, we realize that brides have good reason to be stressed.

In a Christian wedding (a bit of a repetitive statement since technically ALL weddings spring from the God of Christianity), the bride is a symbol of the bride of Christ who is to be presented "holy and blameless" and "without spot or wrinkle." Imagine the pressure on the bride who understands this need to be without blemish. Christian brides have traditionally worn pure white to focus on that symbolism. As Christians, we are "clothed" in righteousness that has been placed there by Christ's death on the cross—not by our own good works, which would never reach the level of perfection that is demanded (absolute perfection).

Ephesians 5:25-27 –  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Bride and groom together

Joe and Abigail obviously understood completely the symbolism of the Christian wedding and the gravity and importance of this symbolism. Abigail's dress was drop-dead gorgeous, as was she herself. As her father escorted her up the aisle, Abigail's eyes never left Joe's face. The bride of Christ is to be fully focused on her groom—Jesus Christ.

The fact that Abigail showed a full understanding of the symbolic nature of a Christian bride indicates that Joe understands his role as well. Joe is representing Jesus Christ, who gave his very life for his bride. Joe must love Abigail with unconditional love. He is called to be willing to go so far as to lay his life down for his bride. And knowing Joe, I know that he is absolutely prepared to do just this for Abigail should that need arise.

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