I cry at weddings…every single time.
It’s that moment when the doors fling wide, and we all pivot, beaming honor, standing in awe. The bride bursts the shadows, and my soul’s rising quicker than my body. The lump in the throat testifies that I’m in the palpable presence of something holy. If I were Moses my shoes would be gone.
I’m looking on far more than a bride and I feel it in my bones; she’s a symbol, a rumor – a whisper of something far deeper, far older, and yet still coming to be. A promise. The transcendence of her entry, that rightly-placed-awe that’s spilling forth in her direction shouts to a moment when the Greatest Doors will fling wide, and all the faces of heaven will pivot in unison, and there He’ll be: the Lion and the Lamb; the Savior slain before the foundation of the world. The King of Glory who was once a poor boy. And every heavenly host will battle the lump in the throat that’s bursting to cry praise that’s too big for a body to handle, and it’ll be a little like that. Maybe He’ll be like that; like the entering Bride, but so much more. It’s Revelation 5 retold. The scroll, and the Throne room, and all eyes trained in His glorious direction.
But that won’t be all of it.
You’re really about to think me funny now… but I get the same shivers over the applause that erupts at the final note’s close of a Broadway musical. Out comes the cast one by one, and we clap hard, but we’re under no illusion about who we’re waiting for. We’ve got awe in our hands, ready to place on her brow. We want the diva. So, we wait with our breath held and smiles on our faces; and she bounds forth, and we break open. And I battle that lump again. There’s something holy about the entrance, and the awe, and the thanks, and the culmination.
It’s that same rumor in encore: the glorious appearing– when we see Him for who He is.
…and also when we see ourselves.
“All Creation waits and groans for the appearing of the sons of God”. They’re hanging outside the curtain, watching with baited breath for Him to appear, and also for us, behind Him.
For, “now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
Every one of us will be called through the curtain- have a share in the joy of His glory. Not because we were so great, but because He made us co-heirs by His kindness. Called us up on stage to share His story, and to have a hand in His work.
And my goodness, we have no idea yet the gravitas surrounding what we will be. We’re holy. CS Lewis said that there are no mere mortals; no such thing as a discardable man or an unremarkable person.
So, in my mind, a bride carries all that meaning like a bouquet when the doors swing wide and she whispers to me again of Christ. As I watch her father, and watch her husband to be, and I cry my make-up off yet again.
And so, weddings are holy.
And every now and then, I’m given the sacred privilege of honoring a friend who’s become a glory-bearing bride. I get to mark the holiness of the moment by molding materials into Art; laying my hands to the hand-written notes of guests to form them into an “Ebenezer”– a remembrance- a monument to the holiness that happened when two people became one, and the formerly alone were chosen. And that deserves something sacred.
Recently two friends– God’s kind gift to each other- were made to be married, and I cried like a baby and then painted.
I share it with you now as an offering to the One who’s great appearing is rumored in every wedding march and Broadway musical’s close…“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”.
(Ever wondered how a painting get born? Here’s a video of the creation. Run time is 3:46)