Tomorrow, whilst we’re drinking tea and either happily watching British history in the happening or complaining about tax-payers money being spent unnecessarily on the wedding of two strangers, Kate Middleton will marry Prince William. She is the ultimate WAG, almost from a normal background, inheriting all sorts including inevitably one day the title of Queen. The whole country is decked out with union jack bunting and revision procrastination seems to be coming predominantly in the form of endless Royal Wedding related TV documentaries. I’ve spent most of this week with my Nanny, and both she and my Granny up in Scotland are mad far it. So am I (a little surprisingly) and not just because a relatively little part of me would love to become the next princess and marry Prince Harry, the royal with the most appropriate hair colour. With all this talk of The Royal Wedding, I can’t help thinking about the ultimate up and coming, eternal union.
In the bible, imagery about a perfect and faithful husband is used to describe the relationship between Jesus and his collective followers, referred to as ‘the bride of Christ’. As the perfect husband, Jesus has shown immeasurable sacrificial love to the church by giving himself as a sacrifice. His sacrifice was necessary to pay the penalty for each individual’s sin, providing a means by which God’s righteous judgement is satisfied and we as fallen people may enter the kingdom of God. If we believe, not only are our old lives gone with Jesus’ death, but with his resurrection comes new life bought at a price (and therefore owned) by the King of the universe with whom we are united.
God hasn't planned marriage as an institution for oppressing women without a voice but it is designed to model Christ’s loving relationship with the church. When I grow up, If I marry a man who wants to model his love for me on the example set by Jesus’ sacrificial obedience to the cross, I expect it would be a freedom and joy to respond submitting to such leadership. The metaphor provides the ultimate expression of marrying rich. I’m realising more and more that without Christ I have nothing, and being united with Him I have everything, sharing in his inheritance as the son of God. If as Christians, we are each united with Christ, then in follows we are united with one another. This is the Church, otherwise known as the kingdom of God or the bride of Christ, existing now with the deposit of the Holy Spirt and a role to play, in light of the glory still yet to come.
On THE Royal Wedding day there will be no illness, angst or apathy amongst the people of God. No division over secondary issues, hurt feelings or moaning about particularly lengthy sermons. No judgement faces, inconsequential squabbling over hymns, how to play them or supposed theological high ground. As we wait for the big day approaching, let's press on keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. By his grace and for his glory, let's continue living exchanged and changed lives until his work on this earth is done.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God’.
-Revelation 21: 1 – 3