The Sweet Christian Bride

Jesus is …

by admin on January 22, 2013 in Ceremony Traditions, Relationship, Scripture with No Comments

I’m afraid I suffer from what Francis Chan, former pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley and author of Crazy Love, calls spiritual amnesia.  We all do at times.

God, who is this astounding, splendid, majestic Lord, loses his freshness and becomes part of my rote experience.  That’s not a God issue; that’s a me issue.

God is still astounding, splendid, and majestic, even when I turn on autopilot or begin to live as if I’m invincible. And God will graciously remind me of how indescribable He is when some sunset catches my breath or some haphazard prayer is intricately answered.

At weddings, many of us are sick with spiritual amnesia.  The Scripture, the songs, the event… once we have lived through the wedding stage of our lives when every weekend in the summer for four consecutive years is booked with a wedding, it’s easy to forget the thrill of every detail in the wedding.  And, it’s certainly easy to forget that the wedding is an opportunity to worship God.

The best example of this I can give is from the movie Wedding Crashers when Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson take bets during the ceremony on whether the Scripture reading will be 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 or Colossians 3:12-17, both of which are utterly profound passages that are so frequently used that they seem to have lost their impact.

“Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Is that not staggering?  I love my husband more than I’ve ever loved anyone, and yet I can definitely be impatient, unkind, arrogant, selfish, irritable, bitter, and discouraged.  Clearly this verse is talking about a love that can only be empowered by Jesus.  People need to know this!

Married people and parents especially need to know how to love.  They need readings like this at weddings to charge them once again to love as Jesus loved.  Fortunately, you are not responsible for “fixing” your guests’ spiritual amnesia.  You are simply responsible for loving God and loving others, so you can confidently choose your favorite Scripture readings and leave the “fixing” up to the Holy Spirit.

Friends of mine studied 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 during their engagement.  As an exercise for their own faith and a model for their own marriage, they substituted Jesus’ name for the word love. They were challenged to love each other to the highest standard: Jesus’ love.

As they rekindled their understanding of this passage, they more fervently desired to use it in their ceremony.  They wanted profound readings like this one—no matter how cliché it might have seemed—in their wedding, not just so people could love their spouses better, but so people would be intoxicated with the absurdity of God’s love for them!  People need to know that God loves them beyond a capacity that they could fathom.  They need to know Jesus.

So in their ceremony, they substituted Jesus for love, since God is love.

Jesus is patient; Jesus is kind; Jesus is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  He does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful.  Jesus does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

And just like that, this passage was fresh again.  The love, heart, and character of Jesus was unapologetically preached in their Scripture reading, and their wedding very clearly became first about Jesus and then about the bride and groom.

Photo © Garry Tan, featuring Jehaan and Julie’s wedding

Article originally published on February 9, 2011.

By Lindsay

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