A few years ago, I saw a billboard that said: Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage. As I drove by the billboard, I reflected on my 40+ years of marriage and recalled the marriage ceremony. I was married in the Greek Orthodox Church. The service is sacred, holy and lovely. At one point in the ceremony, the bride and groom are wearing a crown of flowers on their heads and holding candles walk around the altar. The crowns or Stefana, symbolize the glory and honor bestowed on them by God during the marriage sacrament. The crowns also symbolize the crown of sacrifice since every marriage involves self-sacrifice on both sides. Every now and then I would look up at my soon to be husband’s face and to this day I remember how pale he looked (although it could have been that the ceremony lasted 1 1/2 hours!). I noted how seriously he took the ceremony. His vows were indicative of a future with me where I was to be his forever bride, till death do us part. Below is a picture of the crowns that we wore on our heads so very long ago.
I am aware that some of you reading this have broken vows; your marriage has ended and along with it your heart was broken as well. Let me say to you that we do not serve a distant God, but One who is in our midst and reaches out to you in your pain. Perhaps some of you reading this have never been married, or hope to be married or perhaps not. No matter where you are in this journey, Christ is ever present.
There was a wedding two thousand years ago in a town called Cana. We may never have known about this town had it not been for a wedding that became famous because Jesus was there. When the steward of the wine mentioned that they were running low on wine, Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew who could find a solution; her son. And He did. He changed water into wine. The significance of this story cannot be understated. Jesus, our groom, poured out wine and bread for us. His blood was shed and His body broken for His bride– the church.
The Apostle Paul gives us insight into the comparison between Jesus our Groom and His bride; those who would believe in His name and be united with Him forever.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives submit to their husbands. Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself to her by washing with water through the word and to present her to Himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. (Ephesians 5:24-28)
Husbands are called to lay their lives down for their wives, as Christ laid down His life for His bride, the church. Wives are called to respect and value their husbands; Friends, we all fall short of this mark. Marriage takes hard work. It’s never perfect and following Paul’s words seems hopeless at times, particularly when one or the other spouse is not doing their part to submit to one another.
But God …… so loved the world that He sent His only Son to rescue, forgive, and help us in this journey of marriage.
Back to the billboard I saw: Enjoyed the wedding. Invite me into the marriage.
This is the key. Once the ceremony is over, the beautiful dresses and suits are packed away, the flowers die out and the music fades, we must then remember to daily invite Jesus into our marriage. After years of being married, I have seen that when I do, He turns tasteless water into a deep rich wine. He takes our inabilities to sustain our natural love, and gives us agape supernatural love. Natural love can only take us so far.
Those of you who are single and a Christian, you are in a Covenant of marriage with Christ. Submitting to God and loving others is part of this Covenant. We love others because He first loved us.
Will you join me in inviting Jesus into all of your relationships today?
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