I work part-time on a church staff and one of my responsibilities is to serve as the coordinator for all of the weddings that take place at our church. This is a job that I absolutely love! I enjoy walking with a couple throughout the process: their planning and many months of preparations; the wedding rehearsal as they prepare for the following day and as they are reunited with friends and family members who have often traveled great distances to celebrate with them; and then to witness their wedding day when everyone is full of smiles and love abounds.
There was a wedding at our church on Saturday and even though I had just met the grandmother the day before, when I went to get her before the ceremony began to tell her that it was time to line up for the processional, she was beaming and grabbed my arm and said, “I love you!” Joy and love just abound at weddings! It is fun to be in the mix.
My absolute favorite part of the wedding ceremony comes when all of the bridal party has already entered the Sanctuary, the flower girl starts down the aisle and we close the large, wooden double-doors at the back of the Sanctuary to prepare for the bride’s entrance. The bride has a last minute alone with her father and this is a very precious time. Then the music begins, the congregation stands and expectancy builds as they wait for the doors to be opened. Both doors are opened simultaneously, revealing the bride to her groom waiting for her at the end of the aisle.
I love to see the groom’s face as he lays eyes on his bride for the first time**. His face is a mixture of awe, joy, adoration and anticipation. This is a holy moment and a privilege to witness such a special and sacred occasion. In those moments, I can’t help but be reminded of the passages of scripture that talk about the church as the bride of Christ and our reunion with Him as being a wedding feast.
Thoughts of the Second Coming, or moment when Christ returns, can sometimes be filled with an element of fear because we just can’t imagine what that will be like. When I think of it like a wedding, that replaces my fear with hope and excitement. Some day the doors will be opened that stand between Heaven and Earth and separate us from God and we will finally be able to SEE Him standing there and we will see that His face is a mixture of awe, joy, adoration and anticipation as he sees us His bride. What a day that will be!
** Some couples choose to see each other before the wedding and I understand the desire to save time and take all pictures before the ceremony or have a few moments alone when the groom sees the bride for the first time, but I much prefer when a couple waits. There is something so neat about the moment when the Sanctuary doors open and the groom sees his bride in her wedding dress for the first time as part of the ceremony!