For many Christians, one of the hardest things to do is to see oneself as part of the Bride of Christ. Some have never even heard of the Church being a Bride. Perhaps it is too personal, too close, to see the Lord as the Bridegroom and us as the Bride. Maybe it’s uncomfortable to think of God living with us day to day like a spouse. After all, do we really want that kind of accountability in our lives with the Lord? Isn’t the Lord just for Sundays, funerals, baptisms, weddings, and when we need help? And then there are the sexual identity problems. How do Christian men see themselves as a “Bride”?
The problem, however, with all of these struggles is that if we don’t see the Lord as a Bridegroom and the Church as a Bride, then we can’t understand life and the Institution of Marriage between a man and a woman. The world performs millions of marriages every year and in every faith. And yet people remain, for the most part, clueless to the meaning of the event they’re celebrating as a high point in their lives. We all need to stop and ask ourselves, “What is this ceremony or institution all about?” Surely, we didn’t invent things like men, women, virginity, sex, honeymoons, wedding receptions, unity candles, the father giving away the bride, the best man, white dresses for the bride, resulting children, families... I could go on. No, all of these things are not just religious or cultural traditions invented by us. The Lord created marriage, and all the items mentioned above, to be a sermon series about His love for us.
The Bible’s message about all of this is really simple. It starts in Genesis 2 with a man and woman getting married. It ends in Revelation 21 with Christ and the Church, living happily ever after as Husband and Wife. In between, Jesus tells everyone He is the Bridegroom (eg. Matthew 9:15). As the faithful Bridegroom, the Lord asks the Church to marry Him at the Passover/Communion Table in Matthew 26:27-29. Our Lord then plans out His honeymoon and wedding reception. He first goes to His Father’s House to prepare a place for the Bride’s honeymoon (John 14:1-3). And finally, He orders all the needed food and drink for His guests at the coming wedding reception (Matthew 22). No detail is forgotten. After all, it is the greatest Wedding in history.
What we have today is what I call, “The Runaway Bride.” That is not just the title of a recent Hollywood movie about a bride that ran away from several grooms at the altar. The title is more of a description of what is going on in the Church today. The Church seems to be unclear and confused about God’s love, marriage, and what all of this is about down here. We all attend weddings, but seem to have little understanding of how those deeper truths might apply to us. There is very little interest in the Church about the Bridegroom’s return and our honeymoon with Him. It is a rare church that even mentions Christ’s soon return and our future life with the Lord. These days many in church seem to be more connected to getting out of worship on time. The Lord’s Bride has truly run away.
Without an understanding of the meaning and glory of marriage, it will be trivialized and redefined as it is now. It is time for the Church to run into the arms of Her Bridegroom and live life as an expectant Bride.