Here's something that you may not know about me: I love weddings.
I love the decorations and the spectacle and the food and the dancing. I love looking to see whether or not the dad cries, and I love watching the groom's face when the bride appears. I love nervous brides and giggling grooms and confused grandparents and squirmy children. I love sound equipment malfunctions and cheesy music and string quartets and doing the Electric Slide at the reception. I love the antics of the bridal party and the contented exhaustion of the parents when the whole thing's over.
As much as I've always loved weddings though, I have a feeling that I'm going to love them even more now that I've read Timothy Keller's book Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions. One of his points produced such a brain wave that I had to stop reading for a few minutes in order to process and let it sink in.
In discussing Jesus' miracle at the wedding in Cana of Gallilee, Keller poses this question: "What do single people think about at weddings?"
I couldn't help chuckling when I read that question.
What do single people think about at weddings?
The possibilities are endless:
- I guess mom was right: there really is somebody for everybody.
- Why does that creepy man keep staring at me? (Oh, wait, is he actually staring at me, or do his eyes just point that way??)
- Thank you, bride, for choosing bridesmaid dresses that we can "totally wear again."
- The groom is dreamy. I wish I'd met him first.
- Has nobody seriously noticed that the flower girl has wet her pants?
- Someone should have told the mother of the bride that her dress makes her look like a marshmallow Peep!
- My feet hurt. These shoes were a terrible idea.
- WHERE'S THE CAKE?
- Oh, that groomsman's really cute--ahhh, a wedding band. Dang it.
- I'm jealous. Why can she find someone and I can't?
- I'm not jealous. I'd rather stay single forever than settle for someone like that.
- I hope that someday I will be as beautiful as the bride is today.
- I wonder what my wedding will be like.
- I wonder if I will ever even have a wedding.
It's on these last two points that Keller focuses. It's only natural, he says, that at weddings, single people ponder the possibilities of their own future weddings. This is not an idle hypothesis on Keller's part. The reason he raises the question is to lead us to this: what did Jesus think about when he was at weddings?
Perhaps while at the wedding in Cana, Jesus looked beyond the struggles of his earthly ministry and contemplated his future union with his own beloved--the bride of Christ, cleansed and redeemed and adorned and anointed, glorified and prepared to be united with him.
In short, perhaps he thought about me.
When I logged on to the wedding site The Knot recently to send in my first R.S.V.P. for the summer wedding season, I took a minute to wonder what the service would be like and how the bride would look and whether or not the groom would accidentally lock his knees and faint. Because of Keller's book, however, those weren't my only thoughts. I also thought about Jesus at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.
Who knows if I will ever get married. I certainly have no idea. But this I do know: one day I will stand before Christ, cleansed and redeemed and glorified. I will be his forever and ever. Although in a sense I already am his, I know that my ultimate union with Christ is still to come. There is coming a day when no more sin or frailty or misunderstanding on my part will create distance between us.
No more dimmed glass. We will finally be face to face.
The next time I'm at a wedding, I'm going to think about that.