even the thought of a bride walking down the aisle gets me every time. gets me thinking, that is, and for good reason, about choice and love, promises and beauty. the beauty lies in the act of one person surrendering their right to pursue their own selfish goals and choosing sacrifice for the benefit of the other... 'as long as they both shall live'. it's promise is for forever. it's real. it's beautiful. it's really beautiful.
i was listening not long ago to a man speak about the choice we make for God when we choose to 'do life' with Him. when my choices become not only an inner dialogue but a group discussion. it includes being part of community and being accountable for my life's choices. he said that the real question Jesus is asking us as we journey through life is "will you marry me?". that is: will you, forsaking all others, love Me?
it's the 'forsaking all others' bit that I have trouble with when it comes to my relationship with Jesus. i love God, and with His loving kindness and faithfulness, it's not Him that makes it a difficult task. but, boy, do i love others. i thrive on the approval of those 'others' and am spurred on by the slightest inclination of "well done". these come in the form of a smile, nod, wink, high five, pat on the back, props*, laugh, direct verbal affirmation, an "i'll take that as a compliment" moment.... yep, gimme anything and i'll boast of it to myself. it's often in the words and encouragement or discouragement others that i choose to cling. it's the story i tell myself - 'they think you are so...' whatever it is.
Henri Nouwen says (Inner Voice of Love) "your inexhaustible need for affection is an addiction. stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self... let go of all these self-made props* and trust that God is enough for you".
God calls me away from the 'others' rat race i find myself caught up in. i'm beckoned to come, be welcomed in, stand before Him, and find myself in the Truth of His love for me.
Nouwen goes on to say: "you are being asked to trust that you will find what you need in [Him]... which requires the death of what has become so precious to you: influence, success, yes, even affection and praise".
maybe that's what's beautiful about a bride & groom - their relationship is a gift whereby God restores to them the Truth of who they are in the presence of their beloved. the truth of themselves as one who is loved. the new couple is choosing life together as a 'carrying out' of the Love poured on them by their Maker.
you're my beloved, you're my bride
to sing over you is my delight
come away with me, my love
under my mercy come and wait
'til we are standing face to face
i see no stain on you, my child
you're beautiful to me
so beautiful to me
i sing over you my song of peace
cast all your cares down at my feet
come and find your rest in me
i'll breathe my life inside of you
i'll bear you up on eagle's wings
and hide you in the shadow of my strength
i'll take you to my quiet waters
i'll restore your soul
come rest in me and be made whole
"Now go to the main roads & invite to the wedding feast as many as you can find"