This is our reminder that Monday, during what would be lunchtime, we are fasting and praying for 1) God to do in men and women what he needs to do in order for 2) good marriages to come into being in all kinds of encouraging ways. And as you pray and fast, you might consider…..
Two billion people, one-third of the world’s population, watched the Wedding of Prince William to, now, Princess Kate. I—belatedly on Friday evening via DVR—was one of them. Honestly, crazy hats and all, it was magical. Sitting there with a few housemates, recovering from jet lag and in my slippers, it called out to deep longings in my soul. 46, single, living a life that is profoundly rich but far different than I expected, my heart was stirred.
The pageantry and people-lined streets, combined with the reality of this strong, handsome, tender-hearted Prince waiting for his beautiful, radiant bride (“Thy servant and Thy handmaid” the liturgy said at one point) could not help but serve as the symbol it was designed to be. The longing it fanned in my heart was twofold—the longing for union with an earthly prince (and to be that beautiful 🙂 ), no doubt, but even more so, the longing for the consummation of The Wedding Feast, union with a heavenly Prince. Oh, that we all might live happily ever after! Oh that things might be as they should be!
Five weeks ago tonight, my 19 year old nephew at the University of Virginia was up on a roof top to star gaze with some friends, slipped, fell and was killed almost instantly. The eldest of seven living grandchildren, tall and handsome, warm and bright, he was in a sense the heir apparent of the extended family—albeit in sometimes shaggy bangs and flip-flops. At his memorial service—filled with its own pageantry of sorts and people lining the edges of the church—his father haltingly spoke of Tom (or Tommy 4 as we have always called him), leaving this earth and entering into the presence of Jesus, poised for the wedding feast with the King of Kings. This service was in many ways a celebration of Tommy’s perfect union with The Lover of his Soul.
With all my head and with ever-increasing parts of my heart, I know that my brother’s words are true. With waves of grief still washing into and through my family’s life, Kate and William’s wedding, whether they intended this or not, could not help but be a profoundly encouraging pointer to the eternal reality which is to come.
“6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 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.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Rev. 19)
Pageantry, people, and the wedding of the Lamb of God with his readied bride—it is not a fairy tale. These are the true words of God. It is as Colossians 1 says: the faith and love we have in this life “… spring from the hope stored up for [us] in heaven and about which [we] have already heard in the true message of the gospel… (v.5)”
This week, as you pray and fast, keep inviting the Lord to work his heavenly symbolism and earthly consolation into our real and fleshly lives (i.e. bring about good, life-giving marriages!). Pray that, too, that he would reveal to each of us what we need to become to be ready for marriage and for our eternal union with Jesus and his people. And lastly, ask simply that we might all discover—both in our heads and in our hearts—more of the eternal hope that is truly ours, that which is the source of both faith in Jesus Christ and love for people, regardless of our marital status, even today.
Have a wonderful week—