In just eighteen days from now, July 12th, my bride Nancy and I will be celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary. Wow! Almost fifty years have passed since we both said, “I do.” I was only 18, she was 22. We were wed at the First United Methodist Church, 201 Mulberry Street, Bristol, PA at 4:00 PM by Reverend Ellsworth A. Lindenmuth. I don’t remember much from the pre-marital counseling he gave us, but I do remember this: he said, “If your marriage ever gets into trouble, promise that you’ll call me.” That advice stuck with me, and they are words of wisdom that I have shared with countless couples I have married over the past forty years of pastoral ministry.
Nancy’s dad, William H. Keller walked her down the aisle that day to give her away. About 100+ people were there to make the day even more special for us. They all stood as my gorgeous bride slowly made it to the altar where I waited expectantly for her. We exchanged vows and rings and Reverend Lindenmuth pronounced us as husband and wife.
From the church we proceeded to Silver Lake park for pictures, and then to the Terchon VFW Post #5542 for the reception. Nancy’s dad was a past commander, so, we got a great deal. Friends of her mom and dad operated a catering business, so, another great deal. My rock band, The Midnite Hourz played for nothing. Another great deal. We spent our wedding night at the nearby Holiday Inn in a room that a friend of mine booked for us for free (he owned the local music store where I spent nearly every paycheck. It was only fitting). Another great deal. The next day we left for Seaside Heights, NJ for our week-long honeymoon. The house we rented was owned by the Asta family in our home town. Another great deal. Nancy has spent the past fifty years loving me, caring for me, and doing life with me. The deal of the century.
So, why am I reminiscing with you about all of this? Well, partly because I am in a celebratory mood for our Golden Anniversary. But also because there is a Biblical metaphor painted for us about our relationship with the Savior. You see, in every wedding, the groom waits expectantly for his bride to come. Then as everyone stands and turns, she walks gracefully toward the altar where the two will be joined as one. The bride is prepared for this moment, dressed exquisitely in white and focused on the love of her life. Here’s the Biblical metaphor…
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 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.) REVELATION 19:6–8
This is the culmination of human history — the wedding of the Lamb and his bride, all faithful believers from all time. The bride’s clothing is the righteousness of the saints, the work of Christ to save us.
When typically imagining yourself in a wedding, you see yourself as either the “groom” if you’re a man, or the “bride” if you’re a woman. In this wedding scene, however, the groom is Christ, “the Lamb.” So if you are in the scene — and you are — that makes you the “bride.” This is the biblical picture of Christ and his bride, the church. But if you’re a guy, don’t get put out by the feminine noun. Instead focus on two powerful, life-changing truths: The Groom is waiting for us, and we must be ready.
Until that glorious wedding day, we must prepare to meet our Groom, the Son of God. We prepare by staying faithful to him, living for him, telling others about him, and looking for his return.
Are you ready for your wedding day? Put on your wedding clothes.