One of the saddest consequences of the Coronavirus restrictions has been the disruption to so many weddings. Cancellations, postponements or agonising decisions about who to dis-invite have all marred what should be a day of serious joy. We’re not yet back to how it was but I’m delighted that, God willing, the first weddings in a long time will soon be celebrated in our churches.
The church wedding diary has lots of space – it may even be easier than trying to book a haircut.
Although most of us have heard the same vows made many times it would be hard to deny that something very significant is happening as bride and groom face each other and speak those gripping words of commitment. We are witnessing the beginning of true love, not the first feelings of attraction and desire but the public commitment to love, to do good to another person. We hear them promise that they will maintain this true love not until the sparkle appears to have gone out of the relationship but all the way to their dying breath.
But the church marriage service says something about the bride and groom that may seem puzzling: “It is God’s purpose that they shall be united in that love as Christ is united with his Church.” What does that mean? It means that God himself designed human marriage to be a miniature reflection of the big event that lies at the centre of our world’s story, a marriage to eclipse all marriages, the forming of a deep eternal bond between the perfect groom, God’s Royal Son Jesus, and all those called together by God to collectively form his Son’s bride.
Imagine the delight that a young child feels at the GP surgery when she sees that something like the toy medical kit that she plays with at home actually exists in the real world too – there really are stethoscopes and thermometers and syringes! In the same way our weddings are small-scale copies – the real thing exists too, there is a dream wedding and for all who trust in Christ it’s our big day!