The Mystery, the Meaning, the Love
As a man and woman exchange vows of commitment, to love for better or worse, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer, “until death” separates them, two people become one. In their physical relationship, they are one flesh. In their personal choices, they are one mind-set. In their seasons of loss, trouble, or crisis, they are one spirit.
A divine thread is woven within the Christian wedding. What God has joined together, no one on earth can separate. A marriage is rock solid when God ties the knot. The bride’s white dress represents virginal purity. The rings symbolize a priceless, eternal commitment to fidelity. A man and woman participate in this sacred ceremony as a testament of their love. The vows are not mimed, but spoken. The event is publicly announced, even if privately celebrated.
We think about weddings in June because so many are married in June. But no matter what time of year, or how many anniversaries have passed, a wedding serves as a beautiful reminder for couples. As a bride and groom tenderly share their love, every couple in the audience revisits their own wedding. It’s a day to hold hands, give kisses for luck, and celebrate new beginnings.
Is it any wonder the church is described as a bride committed to Christ, the groom? John writes in Revelation, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear” (19:7, 8). Is it any wonder Christ is the model husband, as Paul revealed to the Ephesian congregation? Christ sacrificed everything for his bride. He washed her with water and presented “her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). No bride is ugly on her wedding day, and Jesus, like an attentive, gentle husband, won’t let the church forget we’re still absolutely gorgeous.
Therefore, the Lord’s Supper is a sacred opportunity to remind believers of our original vows, to recall when we were washed in water through baptism, and to celebrate our continual beauty and purity. Ironically, one of the Hebrew definitions for worship is “to kiss.” In this solemn moment of song, prayer, and communion, we kiss our King. We hold the hands nailed to a cross and seek forgiveness for our failures.
In Ephesians 5:32, Paul reminded his readers that when a husband and wife become one flesh, they reveal a “profound mystery” that displays the relationship between Christ and his church. As his bride, we’re deeply loved, passionately pursued, and completely blessed. Now it’s our time to return affection and adoration.
Until death we do meet.
Rick Chromey is a pastor and professor living in Eagle, Idaho; www.rickchromey.com.