Why Do People Smile So Much at Weddings? Well, Think About YOURS

A wedding is something that makes people smile! (Yes, some people cry, but they are tears of joy, not sorrow…) And whether or not you are married, this wedding verse has something to do with you: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10, NKJV)

Isaiah makes a bold statement: he claims that when we have a relationship with the Lord it should be as obvious as wearing a Wedding dress, something that everyone around us should perceive. He says that God literally “clothes us with the garments of salvation, and covers us with the robe of righteousness.” Even though a spiritual relationship with the Living God is an intimate internal affair, Isaiah says that following God should result in obvious external changes. When we follow God, he says, we should look and act differently…

Why do you think he used the analogy a bridegroom and a bride? First, it is because at a wedding, the Bridegroom and bride are the most identifiable participants.

wedding smiles

Their clothes are distinctive; their ornaments and jewelry identify them as people involved in a new relationship. That makes sense, since a wedding in those days involved the whole village and proclaimed to everyone present that the happy couple was now reserved for each other. Unlike all of the other guests, these two wedding participants were entering into a binding legal agreement that was spiritually sanctified and publicly proclaimed; like theirs, our union with God is a covenant relationship. It makes good theological sense that Isaiah would compare our relationship with God to the social, legal, and spiritual underpinnings of marriage.

There was also a tremendous sense of anticipation, certainly for the bride and groom on their wedding night, but for everyone involved. A new family was being created, and a new household was being established. But that’s not why he used the analogy. Read the first part of the verse again.

Isaiah compares our walk with God to a wedding because of JOY. He says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God”! Joy is the defining characteristic of a wedding: there is the power of positive goodwill, the allure of romance, the promise of unlimited potential, and the beginning of something new. I can’t recall attending a wedding that did not have a sense of joy, can you?

Setting up a new home, private moments of intimacy, first baby steps, family meals, setting and achieving goals, and so many other actions and events are all tied up in getting to that place in a wedding where the bride and groom say “I do.” Without THAT moment, none of these other moments happen. Potential remains unfulfilled and two hearts remain independent until that moment occurs.

Have you said “Yes” to God? Are you walking with Him? Then don’t forget: His purpose is not to obligate you to the law, not to burden you with mission, but to create with you a new family bond that brings you joy. Jesus said, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) John said, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:4)

As you consider where God is in your life, don’t forget that He has adorned you in the garments of salvation, and covered you with the robe of righteousness. He has brought you into His family, and there are many, many moments of love, joy, and intimacy with Him waiting to be claimed. Sit and ponder that for a moment. Now go smile at everyone you see today for no earthly reason; after all, it’s YOUR wedding!

The blushing bride is gorgeous, walking slowly down the aisle;
The groom and everybody else await her with a smile!
Every eye is fixed upon her presence in the room
As she proceeds to take her place beside her anxious groom.
This day was planned with all the art and skill they could employ
To bring this love together, and to bring these lovers joy!
Isaiah says this wedding vow will be one that endures,
And that you are the bride, because this wedding day is YOURS.
Rejoice! Be glad! Embrace this day, and all that it will bring:
You’ve been adorned and chosen. You are marrying the King.

 

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

The Cosmic Romance is Happening, and YOU are a Big Part of It

There is a lot of romance happening around a wedding ceremony. The groom is dressed in his finest, waiting by the altar as the lovely bride approaches. He is nervous, she is blushing. She glows with beauty, and he glows with pride. There is a sense of anticipation and joy that makes a wedding day very special. “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5, NKJV)

Weddings are amazing events, full of love and romance. When you consider the amount of time, creativity, and preparation poured into a wedding day, it has to be one of the most anticipated days of a lifetime. I was the father of two beautiful brides, (and one handsome son as well!) and each event was significant and special, attended by hours of planning, selecting, decorating, and choosing every element so that the wedding day went just right.

At a wedding there are participants, coordinators, flowers, colors, rehearsals, photographers, videographers, tuxedos, caterers, locations, churches, gifts, meals, DJ’s, music, toasts, shoes, and countless other things like romance to consider.
When I’ve had the privilege to officiate at weddings, I have noticed that most of these details are very important to the Bride. She is not only giving herself away, she is coordinating the blending of two families to create a new one. That means, of course, that her wedding must be special, and it should commemorate the occasion with all of the appropriate decorations and elements. Brides and their mothers (and perhaps their wedding planner) dream of, conceive, plan, and manage every detail of a wedding so that it will be a perfect day.

romance

Grooms, not so much. Most of the time (in my observation) Grooms leave a lot of that preparation stuff where it belongs, with the Bride and her mother. Yes, they smile and say, “Yes Dear”, or “That looks great”, but really, how much work do most grooms have to do getting ready for the wedding? So why didn’t Isaiah say, “As the bride rejoices over the wedding day, so shall your God rejoice over you”? Why did he compare God’s love for us to the groom?

I’m gonna get real for a minute. In our modern age of birth control, weddings have lost something that used to be a huge part of the anticipation and build up for the special event. Face it, most couples today have slept together already. Before birth control, you were playing Russian roulette with your future to do that, and 60+ years ago, most women weren’t willing to take that chance. I’m not being Polly Anna, and yes I know that people still did it, but not nearly as easily or as often as they do today.

Weddings before birth control still held the romance and pure physical anticipation of intimacy, which was scary, mysterious, spiritual, sexual, and highly anticipated, particularly by the groom. He’d been mooning over his fiancé, longing for her, doing all of the highly charged heavy petting she would let him get away with, and begging for union.

I’ll pause for a moment and say that even today, when I officiate weddings, it is always a special moment when the bridal procession starts, and I can see from up close the look in the groom’s eyes as he watches his beautiful Bride, prepared and reserved for him, coming down the aisle to be presented to him. There is always longing, pride, affection and commitment in that look; I mean, it’s a wedding! But where physical intimacy has not yet occurred, the sense of anticipation is that much higher, and the desire for intimacy brings an even greater sense of urgency to the bride’s approach. It puts the RRRR in “romance”! The groom is a raging combination of love, romance, and hormones, anxious to consummate this union that he has anticipated so long…

So picture this: Isaiah says THAT is how God rejoices over us. That is why Paul quoted Moses in Ephesians 5:31-32: ““For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” A man leaves his home and family to start a new one, and to become one with the woman he loves. He will find completion and comfort in her arms, and they will discover the delights and pleasures of that union together.

As a groom stands and rejoices that his bride is coming down the aisle to be his—that is how God feels about us. That is how God feels about us!
As we walk down the aisle to be His bride, can you feel His gaze upon us? It is filled with pride, affection, commitment and joy—as well as the pure longing for intimacy that has been planned since eternity past, and will bring joy for eternity to come. Be glad! You are being rejoiced over. You are at the center of the cosmic romance.

The blushing bride is in the aisle, approaching sweet and pure;
She cannot hide her glowing smile, and yet remains demure.
Her face is like a work of art; she looks her very best–
Anticipation makes her heart beat faster in her chest!
Her steps are slow and measured as she walks into the room;
She could not be more treasured by her loving, waiting groom.
He sees her dress, her hair, her skin, the beauty waiting there within,
And drinks this lovely vision in, and knows that she’s reserved for Him!
He looks at her with perfect pride, a love that cannot be denied,
A heart that wells up deep inside with love for His eternal Bride!
Where joy is full and tears are dried, this Cosmic Romance will abide…

 

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

Party like a Bridegroom, and be the Happiest guy at the Wedding

The Bridegroom should always be the happiest guy at the wedding; but some of John’s followers were concerned that Jesus and his disciples partied a little too much:

“Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17 NIV)

When John’s disciples questioned Jesus why his disciples did not fast, Jesus used a couple of very different references to describe growth and change. The wineskin verse has always puzzled me a bit, but it occurred to me that it really fits with New Year’s resolutions. It refers to growth and expanding to new horizons, and Jesus describes those things in ways that everyone listening would understand.

First of all, Jesus talks about celebrating the groom at a wedding feast. He points out that 1) he is the bridegroom at this feast—which makes us the bride—and 2) we should live in the present, unburdened by fear of what might happen in the future. We should party with the bridegroom at the feast while we have the chance. The eternal Son of God always encourages to be present to be in the moment.

In a subtler context he is also reminding his audience about commitment and change. When we get married, it is a new commitment, and it involves a new way of behaving. It represents leaving an old life behind as a single person and starting a new one as a couple. When you get married, it doesn’t improve your lot as a single person; you exchange a single life for MARRIED life!

bridegroom

When you get married, you can’t keep living the way you did when you were alone. Jesus compares himself to a bridegroom and calls us to participate in a new reality, to celebrate our relationship with him while there is still time. He then enlarges upon his teaching about growth by reminding his listeners that new wine (which expands as it ages) must be put into new wineskins, which have the elasticity to expand with it.

His immediate context points out that the old, legalistic way of relating to God has changed to a new dynamic, and he calls his followers to relationship rather than religion. He points out that it is not by doing new things with our old selves that we change; but it is by embracing new selves that we can act and feel differently. That’s why he tells his disciples in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

We can’t improve the flesh but we can REPLACE it. In his book, “If I Perish, I Perish”. Major Ian Thomas says that we can’t attain spirituality by dressing up our old nature and hoping that he reforms. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. Our flesh will ALWAYS be sinful and will ALWAYS long to return to its selfish ways. He cites Israel as an example for us, and points out that God didn’t leave the Israelites in Egypt, hoping that they would evolve into more devout followers. He says “God never intended to improve their lot under Pharaoh but to exchange their land.” Like He did with Israel, God calls us to a new way of life. They couldn’t patch the old wineskins, but had to get brand new ones. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV) Resolutions to change the outer man won’t help us if we don’t exchange the inner one. If you want to change, make one resolution this year: In 2019, I am going to celebrate with the bridegroom every day!

The bridegroom’s face is beaming with pride,
As all heads turn to see the lovely bride;
They will be exchanging vows and rings,
And changing the future, whatever it brings…
Gone is the independent single life;
From this day forth they are man and wife.
This life will put them through stormy weather,
But come what may, they will deal with it together.
This is what they will strive to do,
As together, they make something new–
And one stronger life is forged from two.

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David

To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread