Yesterday, I had the absolute honor of being a bridesmaid in my dear friend’s wedding. She was the most beautiful bride, dressed in white, adorned in a wreath of flowers, framed with her curly locks, and shining radiance out from her eyes. Rachel met Jason over two years ago, and it didn’t take her long to realize he was the man she wanted to spend her life with. She waited and waited for this special day when they would be joined together in spirit, never to be separated. It was beautiful to see her eagerness and sincere, sacrificial love for her groom.
The day finally came. All of us girls were together in the bridal suite, preparing ourselves for the ceremony. Perhaps the most calm among us was Rachel, whose mind occasionally drifted from the preparations to simply anticipating being with her groom so soon. Even when little things arose to fluster her, it didn’t take her long to step back and remember what she was preparing herself for, and it gave her peace and excitement to move forward. As much as she loved her bridesmaids, she was ready to see Jason, and you could see her glowing at the thought of him.
Soon, the ceremony had begun. The bridal party processed down the aisle, then eagerly awaited Rachel’s appearance. As she came down on her father’s arm, she was breathtaking indeed. But my eyes were torn between watching my dear Rachel, and watching the face of her groom. Jason could barely control the smile breaking across his face, coupled with the tears filling his eyes and dripping down his cheeks. His face was so clearly overwhelmed with his love for this girl’s soul. After her father presented her, he grabbed her hands so quickly that Mr. Brazell even dropped a few papers in his hand. But Jason’s eyes didn’t leave Rachel’s face. Nor did her eyes leave his.
As the ceremony proceeded, the prayer was prayed, the message was given, the parents prayed again, the vows were said, the rings were given, scripture was read, and a song was sung, Rachel and Jason barely looked away from each other. I was standing on the left side, where I could only see Jason’s face. Everyone who watched him was amazed at the tender but overflowing love that flowed out of his eyes and soft expressions. Throughout the ceremony, Rachel cried some tears of joy and deep emotion. Jason reached up and softly wiped them from her eyes. His love for her brought tears to my eyes, and the eyes of many others. What a blessing they are.
I came home today, and a few of Macaela’s friends were here. As they were leaving, Jose asked how the wedding had been, and I told him it was wonderful. He asked an unexpected question: “How did the groom look at the bride?” I ran to try to find a picture capturing what I’ve just described, but I didn’t have one, so I briefly told him. Walking out the door, he said, “Now just imagine Jesus as the groom and you are the bride!”
Ephesians 5 tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” God’s people, His church, is called “the bride of Christ.” And I think Jose’s reminder is more poignant now than ever before. Even just reading what I’ve already written, both about Rachel and Jason, there are so many stunning parallels to us and to Jesus. But to summarize, this is what I find so beautiful:
Jesus loves us. He is overwhelmed with joy at each one of us that chooses to follow Him down the aisle because He loves us. We can live in the peace and eagerness of a bride who is deeply, sincerely, sacrificially, and unconditionally loved.