The first wedding that I had the honor of being a groomsman took place in August 2014. It was the first wedding where I got to see God put on display in the context of a wedding up close. As a groomsman I got to see the entire ceremony take place and I also knew the couple very well. As I stood there I began to realize how much symbolism there is in the modern day wedding ceremony that reflects the nature of the relationship between the Godhead (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) and the Church (the Bride of Christ). Ever since then I dreamed of clearly conveying this reality at my own wedding. When Kayla and I got married, I did just that!
I don’t have a recording of what I shared but I do have everything I wrote out (and mostly memorized) while leaving room for some on-the-spot creativity. I wanted to share it so that you could read it and learn for yourself how so much of the wedding ceremony displays our hope in an even greater wedding day to come.
Here’s how it went:
Hi everybody! Thank you all for coming to Kayla and I’s big day! It means so much to us that you would commit a whole day to this event in our lives. Deeply and sincerely, we want to say thank you for coming! I want to take this opportunity to share why we are about to have this ceremony! Everything that you are about to witness isn’t just for Kayla and I, but it’s for you too! Yes, we are the focus today, but there is a lot more going on here.
Here’s what I mean. We are convinced that all of history, not just this ceremony, is a story that ends with a bride and groom in a wedding. This ceremony is simply a reflection of that wedding. The way we know this is because of the Son of God hanging on a cross for me, for Kayla, and for each of us here. He died on that cross, but He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the grave, the first fruits of a great resurrection to come where the sting of death will be replaced by fullness of life.
Everything in this ceremony points to the true wedding that will take place on that day between Jesus Christ and His Church. Literally everything!
Our whole relationship started with a pursuit. I pursued Kayla and have continued to do so ever since. In the same way, on earth Jesus pursued His bride to be, the church, those who believe in His name and follow Him. And He continues to do so even to this day. Soon, Kayla will walk down the isle in the midst of you. She represents the bride, the church. She isn’t perfect, like the church isn’t perfect. But she is loved, and she is honored by all of us here. You didn’t stand for me, but when those doors open in a little while, we will all stand for her just as all the world is awaiting the church of the living God to appear before Jesus!
And her dress is important too! The beauty and elegance of the dress that Kayla will appear in mimics the glorious, victorious story that the Bride of Christ has walked. Despite her shortcomings and difficulties, it represents her righteous acts done from a place of being loved by Her Maker. All the while she has been waiting for her wedding day, with anticipation welling up inside as her groom is crowned a king.
Kayla’s father will escort her down this isle and he represents the current caretaker of the church until the day comes when she will see her groom face to face. That caretaker for the church is the Holy Spirit who guides the Bride down the isle amidst the world- the path she, the church, must take until that day, until that very moment of revelation.
But there are more people present on that day. Many saints have gone before the Bride, a great cloud of witnesses, who get to share and partake in the joy of the bride and groom. They are given a place of special honor because of their love for the groom and his church shown in their labor to bring them together on that day. Those witnesses are represented by our wedding party. You may not know the names of those standing up here, but we do, and we love them just as we may not know those who have gone before us in the faith, but they are loved by the Lord and He brings them with Him when He comes.
And so now we have me. I get to represent the son of the Father, Jesus, who came into the world before all of us to reveal His love and the love of His Father. He proved it on a cross, and now He is the risen Lord, with the name above every other name. And this King has chosen His bride. A day is coming when she will be revealed. His love and pursuit is why the wedding happens, but it’s all so He can show His beloved bride to the world.
Lastly, we have the officiant, representing the Father Himself. He is the one with every authority. Only He can tear the veil of this world that separates the groom from His bride. That will happen one day, but now this ceremony is merely a story of that day to come.
It is our prayer that as you see our simple ceremony you catch a glimpse of the glorious ceremony to come. We hope that by faith in the love of the true groom you find your place among the bride- secure, loved, and a part of His glorious inheritance.
And now comes the unveiling! After the wedding party, the doors will open to reveal my bride in her splendor. When she appears, please stand to honor that splendor just as all creation will stand when Jesus returns for his Bride. That day is coming, but for now we get to enjoy this one believing for the even greater one ahead.
(Our walk in song was “Holy (Wedding Day)” by The City Harmonic. Check it out.)
(Photo credits to Rachel Hicks. Check out her work at rachelmeaganphotography.com)