by Joanie Butman
After a year with two memorials and a major health challenge, it’s been a joy to celebrate back-to-back family weddings. Who doesn’t love a good wedding? To me there is nothing more hopeful than watching a couple walk down the aisle full of excitement, eager to begin their new life together – the future pregnant with possibility. Plus, where else can you do the chicken dance without inhibition, the electric slide, or even the occasional Horah (Hava Nagila)?
I’ve often wondered why Jesus decided to reveal Himself for the first time at a wedding. Was it just because He was a nice Jewish boy who always did what His mother asked? Or was it something more symbolic? I’ll let the pundits argue over the meaning, though I’m not sure anyone this side of the grave can explain God’s timing with any certainty.
However, I do know that the Bible frequently refers to Christ as the Bridegroom with each of us as His bride. As I pondered this fact, I realized that my spiritual life has been one long courtship with Christ drawing me closer, preparing me for our engagement (conversion). Since then, He’s been training me for the ultimate wedding feast. Giving me dance lessons so to speak.
With many relatives and friends planning weddings, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the endless specifics involved in orchestrating the festivities. They are so choreographed these days it’s given rise to an entire new profession: Wedding Planner. The job description varies depending on how intricately you want them involved, but basically they handle all the details of planning, coordinating and wrap-up after the wedding. One website described the role as “turning magic into reality.”
As a Christian, I’m blessed to have my own “Wedding Planner” who deals with every aspect of my life – including His own fee. He’s the One who is intricately involved in every detail “doing immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). And don’t think He hasn’t had an entitled bridezilla on His hands most of the time, insisting on doing it her own way, dictating terms and making unrealistic demands. That is, until I got on the infamous Wedding Diet.
Every bride-to-be knows to what I’m referring. It involves an incredible amount of stress and very little food or rest. Surprisingly, the result is a slimmer version of herself, and what bride doesn’t want to look her best on her wedding day? Conversely, the Christian wedding diet is full of the presence and peace of Christ, trusting Him completely, and healthily satiated with His word. He wants us to be so full of Him that there’s no room for lesser things.
I asked an unrelated newlywed if she enjoyed her recent wedding, and her response saddened me. She replied, “I got through it. I’m just glad it’s over.” Her answer sounds eerily similar to how many of us get through the day (and sometimes even a life.) But that’s not Christ’s plan for us. In John 10:10 He says “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Christ wants us to spend our time here preparing for our wedding feast “confident that he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
I’ve made a fool of myself on the dance floor on more than one occasion (most notably the past two weekends), but even more so on the dance floor of life. In many ways, life has often felt like one long chicken dance with me trying unsuccessfully to keep up with an increasingly exhausting pace. The wedding diet helps tame that feeling, but I have to be diligent. In the end we’ve all got our own dance to live at our own pace, and God wants to be our partner. Trust me, it goes so much more smoothly when we let Him lead.
As I said in the beginning, weddings are full of joy and promise. The only thing more hopeful than watching two people get married is anticipating the day I walk down the aisle towards Jesus eager to begin our new life together. Hava nagila – let’s rejoice! He was Jewish remember.
While the illustration to the left is both beautiful and something to anticipate, I'll leave you with my visual of the celebration to follow.