There are a number of places in the Bible that suggest that the Church is the Bride of Christ. Consider Revelations 19:7-8 “‘Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people)” (ESV). This suggests that God’s people, the Church, represent “her” in the passage, and their righteous acts, “the fine linen”, is their bridal gown.
As I was pondering during my run before church the nature of the relationship between a believer and Christ, I was challenged by how when people are moving towards marriage, they pursue each other. They treat their relationship as important and they devote their heart, their affection, their time, and their focus to the other person. No woman wants to marry a disinterested suitor! No man wants to marry a woman who treats him as insignificant.
Yet I wonder how Jesus feels about it when we fail to pursue him — when he only gets the leftovers from our time and affections. Does he still feel valued and loved by us? Would he still want to marry us? Is he still our First Love — our love above all other loves? I pose these questions not to cause us to worry about our salvation, but to cause us to take stock of our lives, and perhaps lead us to make changes that will allow us to pursue him as a person who is preparing for one’s own wedding and life together forever.
God’s affection for us is constant, so we don’t have to worry that his love for us fluctuates as much as our love for him sometimes seems to. He is Faithful and True! He loves us with an everlasting love. He calls us dearly loved!
As we think about coming to the communion table, we realize how much he has pursued us. Communion is like an expensive and magnificent diamond engagement ring. He didn’t want to offer us something of little cost. It cost Jesus all he had. He paid for it with his very life. And yet he gave his life freely, because that is the kind of love he loves each of us with. As we partake of his body and blood, we receive his beautiful gift to us — a pledge of his love for eternity as our Bridegroom. And as we receive this pledge — this magnificent diamond engagement ring — we once again say “yes” to his love, and refresh our own passion for him.
Dear Lord, help us cast aside all of the insignificant things from our lives — the baubles and distractions, that we might respond to your pursuit with the attention and passion you deserve. Help us love you with our whole beings, as you love us! Amen.
I didn’t have notes for the communion meditation from Harvest Church in Hampstead today, so this was the best I could do, since a number of people mentioned how it touched them.