I originally posted this in February 2011. Something Derek said yesterday in church reminded me of this, so I’m updating, expanding, and reposting it for folks who may have missed it back in the day.
As a performer in a wedding band and a grown-up, I have attended a number of weddings. And in all of these weddings do you know what I’ve never seen?
She just doesn’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 from what she generally wears, which can make her appear more radiant. She probably spent a little more time on her hair or make-up. Most brides smile a whole lot and a smile always brings an element of beauty. But there’s something else that I think outshines any of these reasons.
She’s loved. And she knows it.
Knowing that you are loved does wonders for you. There’s a certain intangible quality that beams out from a person who knows that they’re loved and loves in return. There’s 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 worse, something that we don’t deserve. 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.
When I know that I’m loved, it’s easier to forgive others. It’s easier to smile more. It’s easier to laugh and listen and engage. When I know that I’m loved, it’s easier for me to love others.
Some days, we’re not the Bride of Christ that we should be, but 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)
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)
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)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
If we take hold of the idea that we are loved, we can show that love to those we meet. We can become a beautiful Bride.
How can you make the Bride of Christ a bit more beautiful today? What is your favorite passage that makes you KNOW that you’re loved?