Allow me to paint a picture if you will.
This is the story of a young couple, their closest family members and friends, and a crowd of onlookers.
The crowd has gathered, the stage is set. All the people are in their places.
Women are huddled in groups chattering softly among themselves. The smiles are gleaming brighter than the lights. It is the day they have all been waiting for.
Men are making jokes and reliving stories of their experience with this type of day. They are handing out advice to the young man they are there to support. There is a lot of backslapping and fist tapping going on.
Finally, everyone arrives and a quiet expectation fills the room.
A cute little girl comes down the aisle of the building they are assembled in followed by a boy holding a pillow with a couple of fake rings attached to it. It is evident that he is not all that excited about being with the girl. She, on the other hand, thinks the event is all about her as she tosses the rose petals high into the air as she walks to the front.
Next comes the young couple’s most trusted and closest friends to support them in their great event. They are decked out in their most elegant clothes. Smiles adorn the ladies faces, and the men have their chest’s puffed out.
They meet the young man standing at the front of the building, and each gives him a knowing smile or nod. They all know that this is the day he has waited for all his life. He can’t wait to see his bride.
There is a long history between this young man and his bride. He found her destitute and broken with no hope of a future. He spoke words of grace and hope to her. He loved her before she ever loved him. He cleansed her and washed her and provided for her. He gave her a new life.
Now today, he is about to see her in all her beautiful glory.
She was up before the sun. Nervous and afraid, she wants to make a good impression on her future husband. She wants everything to be just perfect.
She spends hours preparing herself for the great event. She bathes and puts on sweet smelling perfume. She spends hours at a hair stylist making her hair just perfect. Her nails and toes are manicured and polished. Her make up was done by a professional. Nothing is too much for the man she loves.
She puts on the dress handed down for generations in his family. Handmade with love by his great-great-grandmother for his great-grandmother. It fits but not perfect, but she decided that it was more important to wear this dress than it was to have the latest fashion.
Something old – The dress was given to her by her future mother in law.
Something new – The cross necklace given to her by her best friend.
Something borrowed – The white shawl on her shoulders given to her by her father in law.
Something blue – The color of the blue jeans in a faded picture of her former life.
The time has come. The music has changed. It is announcing her arrival. She takes a deep breath and enters the room.
He hears the music change. The people in the room all stand. He strains to catch the first glimpse of his bride. “Where is she?” he thinks. “I can’t wait to see her.” “It is like I have been waiting thousands of years!”
He sees movement, and in the twinkling of an eye, there she is! The object of his desire is walking towards him. There is a light that explodes out of his eyes and dazzles her with a radiant love that cannot be described. Everyone in the room sees that he only has eyes for her.
There is his bride. His perfect bride without spot or wrinkle. The rest of the room fades from existence, and he only sees her. He thinks, “This is my beloved bride in whom I am well pleased. This is the one I love.”
Meanwhile Outside Of The Building
There is a crowd of onlookers. People who are neither friends or family of this young couple. They are peering through the windows trying to see what is happening inside.
One lady with a blue hat exclaims “Do you see that dress? How can he possibly find her beautiful with that old hand me down?”
A man with red vest pulled tightly over a big pot belly whispered to his wife next to him, “How can he love a woman who doesn’t even know how to hide the cellulite on her big butt?”
Others jeered at the bride saying she was too provincial, too flawed, too imperfect ever to be beautiful. They cried “She needs to change to be more like we are.”
But luckily their cries, jeers, and catcalls were not heard by the young man.
The young man, their friends, and family glowed with love and admiration for the bride. To them she was beautiful. They did not hear them or listen to the cries from the crowd of naysayers.
How can you hear such nonsense when you love someone with unconditional, unfailing, and unreserved love?
Paul speaking to the church in Corinth called the church the bride of Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:2For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.
Do you love the bride of Jesus?