This evening we did something a little different at supper. A middle-aged couple had gotten married during the year and the campers wanted to have a wedding reception for them. Out came the flowers, candles, pretty napkins, and other wedding finery. I ran around scrounging up supplies and helping to circumnavigate a small crisis when our conventional-sized oven ran out of gas.
After the "bride and groom" arrived, I sat down to play background wedding music with Bekah and Joel. Mom had faxed some classical duets and trios and we managed to make a makeshift music stand out of a high-chair and a tray (don't ask me why we don't have any music stands at camp, it's beyond me!) About the time we began playing Canon in D, three young girls started playing dress up with the decorations. Seeing how those repetitive eight notes are the bane of any cello players existence, I promptly went into "musical autopilot" and began to watch the young campers who were enthralled with their new discovery.
One girl took a long piece of the gossamer netting that had been placed on the tables and pinned it to her hair like a veil. She then wrapped lengths of the fabric around her waist like a skirt and tied it in a bow behind her back. Silver and blue ribbons found their place in her hair and her eyes matched their glittering display. The other girls began to follow suite, and pretty soon, each one was adorned in their wedding finery. Their faces were glowing and they skipped from parent to parent, displaying for them the gossamer evidence of their big dreams.
By this time Canon in D was long over, but I kept being distracted by these young, innocent girls giggling in their bliss. Their joy bubbled over as they talked about brides, weddings, and the intricacies of veil arranging.
As I watched, I remembered my own girlhood days, the dreams I had, and the games I would play. I remember a beautiful white dress that I had from a cousin's wedding in which I was the flower girl. That dress was one of my most treasured possessions. I wore it for as long as I could, even after it ripped down the back and had juice stains all over the front. Wearing it made me feel beautiful, free, and vibrant. I would dance around the house, dreaming big dreams about a perfect wedding with a perfect dress and perfect flowers.
As I grew older, weddings lost their enchantment. Joel and I have been asked to play in weddings ever since we were little kids and it quickly became old news. "Oh, another wedding? Ok. Practice? Nah, let's just sight-read. We'll be fine." I began to see all the fuss, expense, and unneeded extravagance for what it really was: cheap bauble. Weddings these days seem so fake, so shallow, so devoid of meaning. I was no longer a little girl playing make-believe; I was no longer innocent and full of life, twirling around in my white dress, oblivious to the effects of sin.
Jerked back to reality by a missed accidental in the piece we were currently playing, I began to draw parallels between those little girls dancing around in their dress-up wedding gowns and the way we are supposed to be as Christians.
In the comments of a previous post, my Grammy recommended that I read Union and Communion by Hudson Taylor, a commentary on the Song of Solomon. When my Grammy recommends a book, I take it very seriously because she is very well-read and has excellent taste in quality literature. So I looked up the book, which is available free online, and printed off a copy, hence the reason I began to think about the spiritual applications of every girl's longing to someday be a beautiful bride.
In the Bible, Christ is compared to a bridegroom and the church as His bride. I am Christ's bride. You are Christ's bride. But how often do we approach Christ with the attitude that a literal bride has when she goes to meet her husband? A bride goes with anticipation and joy. She spares no expense in getting ready to see her groom, putting on her finest gown and perfume. She will do everything in her power to bring him joy. Her eyes sparkle, her face is glowing. She is radiant because the one waiting for her is the delight of her life. She is enchanted by his very presence and she has an insatiable desire for his company.
Do I approach God that way? Do I long for one-on-one time with Him or is an hour in church once a week long enough? Is He my delight? Do I approach him because I need something or because I want to bring Him joy? Do I give Him the best, the most precious part of my day? Do I demonstrate my love for Him with actions, as well as words?
I must admit, learning about Christ as the church's Bridegroom has cast a completely different light on weddings and I'm not nearly as cynical as I once was. But more importantly, I am learning to be a bride right here, right now. Because I've already found my Groom and He's been waiting patiently for some time now. He's been trying to get my attention but I keep getting distracted playing the harlot. But His loving, tender persistence is finally having an effect and I am ready to make Him my sole delight. Are you?