Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ugly Bride

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Lovephoto © 2009 epSos .de | more info (via: Wylio)

As a performer in a wedding band and as an adult (I don't like to admit that, but the fact that one of my progeny turns 13 in 3 months proves that it must be so), I have attended a number of weddings over the years. And in all of these weddings do you know what I've never seen?

An ugly bride.

They just don't exist. 

I've thought about what it is that makes every bride so gorgeous, even if she's not a conventional beauty most days and there are probably a couple of reasons. Regardless of how extravagant or simple the ceremony, the bride is probably wearing something a little different than what she generally wears and that has a tendency to make someone appear more radiant. Most brides smile a whole lot and a smile always brings an element of beauty to anyone. But there's something that I think outshines either of those reasons.

She's loved. And she knows it. 

Knowing that you're loved does wonders for anyone. There's a certain intangible quality that beams out from someone who knows that they're loved and loves in return. There's simply no masking it -- it's undeniable.

Of course, now that I think about it, there may be one ugly bride. The Church.

If you're a part of the Christian Church, you probably have ideas on what might make us not so attractive. Legalism. Judgment. Hypocrisy. And those (along with innumerable other faults) are probably part of the deal.

But I think what it really boils down to us that most of us don't know that we're loved. We say it, but we don't  know it. We think that it's something that we have to earn or something that we don't deserve and as a result, we don't experience that transforming love. And as a result of THAT, we're not transformed. So we're the Bride of Christ, but we're not a particularly beautiful bride.

That said, I believe we can change. I believe we can know and reflect the love of God. Maybe we just need to own some of these passages a little bit more.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. (Psalm 52:8, NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)

How can you make the Bride of Christ a bit more beautiful today? And what is your favorite passage that makes you KNOW that you're loved?

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