Celebration in Heaven
Open Your Bible
Revelation 19:1-21, Revelation 20:1-15, Isaiah 25:6-9, Isaiah 54:5-7, Ephesians 5:25-27
BY Guest Writer
As most brides do, I had high hopes (and perhaps delusions) that my wedding day would be perfect. For me, it almost was. Almost.
On a steamy Saturday in May 2001, Chad and I were preparing for our big day. My bridesmaids and I drove to the church and went to the make-shift bridal suite to start getting ready. I don’t remember how long we there before one of my bridesmaids came in and said, “Whit, you need to get upstairs because there’s a massive storm headed our way. If we don’t get you into the sanctuary now, you may have to walk in the rain.”
The church where we were getting married had two separate buildings. And there wasn’t a way for me to get from where I was to the vestibule, where I would walk down the aisle, unless I went outside. This was our window to avoid the storm, and we needed to go now.
We gathered up all our stuff and made the trek up to the sanctuary. The gorgeous blue sky that had welcomed us earlier when we first arrived was now hidden by ominous, dark clouds. Yes, a storm was imminent. Happy wedding day to us.
We piled into the foyer, but quickly realized that it wouldn’t do for the bride to be standing there greeting all the guests when they arrived. The only option we had was to file into the ladies’ restroom. It was like a bad joke: “How do you fit a bride and ten bridesmaids into a bathroom the size of a mid-size sedan?” As it turns out, not easily.
I spent my last hour of single life stuffed into a church bathroom. But through it all though, my bridesmaids— my best friends dressed in sea-foam green (bless them!)—were so kind, faithful, funny, and selfless. Missi, my college roommate, had me laughing. Meredith, my soon- to-be sister-in-law, kept refilling my water. Lori and Ashley were loyal lookouts, reporting back to me who had just arrived. It’s now one of the sweetest memories of my wedding day, each of my friends making sure in her own way that I was wedding-day ready—the most beautiful, confident version of myself I could be.
The Church, the global and eternal collection of God’s people, is Christ’s Bride, and her wedding day is fast approaching. Despite the gathering clouds of external opposition and internal grumbling, all who are made alive in Christ—single, married, divorced, or widowed—need to be doing our part to make Her wedding-day ready.
It is theologically true that we, the Church, are the Bride of Christ, beautiful and beloved by Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom (Revelation 21:2). And one day, our wedding and reception, called the marriage supper of the Lamb, will be the most perfect, extravagant party you can imagine (19:6–10).
However, I think in some ways we serve another wedding day role: that of bridesmaids. Part of our job is to make sure that the Bride is as lovely and wedding-day ready as she can be. Our goal is for the Bride to look radiant. We are partly responsible for what those outside the Christian faith think of the Bride.
That might sound good, but maybe you haven’t seen much of the resplendent Bride. Perhaps you’ve been bulldozed by a bit of a Bridezilla instead. And to that, I can relate all too well; I know the pain the Church can inflict. I truly, truly do. But while she may be messy, she is also redeemed.
Even when our hurts are legitimately and deeply wounded, our challenge is to remember that Jesus loves His Bride. He doesn’t ignore her flaws or shortcomings, and He never, ever condones abuse of any kind—but make no mistake, Christ loves the Church He died to save.
Today, we are standing in the vestibule of human history. We can’t know for sure when the doors will swing open and we’ll see Jesus coming for us. Between now and then, let’s do all we can to be ready for our Bridegroom.
Whitney Capps is a national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her first book, Sick of Me (B&H Publishers) and bible study, We Over Me (LifeWay) both release in March 2019. Whitney is the founder of Simple Seminary, a place for the everyday gal to learn theology. She and her husband, Chad, are raising their four boys just outside Atlanta, Ga. You can connect with her at whitneycapps.com or on Instagram, @whitneycapps.