I was wearing a bow tie. My favourite wedding shirt, borrowed pants and shoes (that i would later repair with sticky tape). I had the honour of walking an amazingly beautiful woman down that aisle, to hand her to my handsome best friend. I’m awkward at the best of times and earlier that morning i had resolved myself to tell this daughter of God how beautiful and wonderful she was. That i was proud of her, that God was stoked on who she was and how she lived. As i walked up to her my mind went completely blank and i awkwardly muttered “your beautiful” and stood next to her. She took my arm and began to swear under her breath in a combination of excited nervous freak out and a desire to start this thing. We waited, and after a moment i joined her. As we took those first steps in amongst the swearing i prayed. She was walking into something huge, something beautiful, something God ordained. A wedding.
The day was perfect. The colours, the pretty people dressed up. The weather was great, the photographers were hot and we laughed a lot. This wedding had been planned and thought about for months, the invitations sent out, the venues organised and the night before the decorators stayed up till the early hours of the morning to finish up the beautification of an old shed. A lot of work and effort and creative innovation went into a day that lasted less then twelve hours. It was a good day.
A means to an end.
If marriages were purely for the wedding our divorce rate would be high…. #ohwait. Weddings are purely a means to the end which is – life long committed partnerships in love between two people. (side argument man and woman, won’t be discussed right now) You can have the greatest wedding on the planet and still only last in the marriage for a week before you want to kill the other #divorce.
Weddings are great. (more on weddings – http://wp.me/p1utPe-22 ) They are communal expressions of love for the couple and agreements to their commitment. Marriages are better. The process of taking two single people and melding them into one. Figuring how to champion the strengths of each, making each participant better then them on their own. Marriages take work (i’ve heard from my parents, as well as EVERYONE ELSE says) There are down times and hard times and patience growing times BUT they are ultimately incredible if we work on it.
Salvation is a means to an end. Like weddings, when we say the prayer or we get water baptised, or we get overwhelmed by the spirit, or God meets on the road and speaks to us – our line of salvation. That step between being rescued by Christ and ignorance/ sinful rebellion. (another week of discussion) But our wedding with God, lets call it. Our wedding with God is purely and beautifully a MEANS TO AN END. Christ didn’t die for a moment of celebration.
One of my good friends Luke, decided he wanted to become a christian. It was in the middle of winter in Canberra. So i wasn’t prepared to take us all out to the lake, so we found a bathroom. We filled the bath with warm water and pushed him under – as he was sooo tall. This was his wedding with God. No decorations, no reception meal. But we celebrated Luke becoming a member of the bride of christ – a son of God. However the wedding happens, it is a moment. God didn’t send his son for the moment when Luke went under the water in a bath in Chris’ house.
Earlier this year, me and a team of 6 amazingly beautiful young people spent 6 and a half weeks in Uganda. Most of our time there was spend being involved in crusades in villages and schools. We saw over 250 salvation’s and in the midst of all the excitement i had a conversation with a local pastor. He made a comment that stood out to me. “Africa has been saved so many times i’ve lost count” He was referring to the gospel message being responded to multiple times but nothing happening after. A different pastor pulled me aside and asked me to return to Uganda to train pastors, because they were young and untrained.
DISCIPLING THE NATIONS IS THE ONLY REASON WE ARE ON THE PLANET. (of course, out of love for the father)
Gospel = good news.
If our good news is purely “lets make sure everyone is married to God without knowing who he is or how he communicates or how to be the best wife” then we will end up – no – we HAVE, ended up with a world full of divorced christians from their loving husband.
We have nice weddings, we have nice renewals of our wedding vows when we are old, but do we really work at our marriages in daily life? The great commission is repeated over and over as a call to missions – “Lets go into all the world and marry people to Jesus”. But does anyone else feel like we forget the next words of that? Disciple. Jesus took three years physically and whole lives spiritually to disciple his twelve.
Are we prepared to take that on for three years?
If all 2 billion christians on the planet took 12 people and discipled them for three years – The world would be discipled. (2 billion times 12 = 24 billion?)
In our marriage to God lets celebrate the wedding, lets have a party and a good old time. But lets fight for our marriage in the day to day, for each other, for the nations.
Think about what the bible talks about marriage and family. Imagine that for the world. Imagine that for our marriage with the father. “Wives submit to your husbands as husbands love like Christ loves the church”
God speaks that we are worth dying for. I will submit to a husband that loves me like that.
And i will train to be the best wife ever.
What does that look like in our own cities and communities?