The spice box- The Bride
By Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel
According to Alfred Lord Tennyson, “In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Traditionally, spring is the season when romance and marriage are in the air. Spring is here, and even though I am no longer young, I find my thoughts turning (not lightly, but with deep delight) to another type of marriage, the union that will follow the impending advent of One who will return to claim the Church as his bride.
As the simple Galilean shepherdess of Solomon’s Song of Songs envisioned her forthcoming marriage to the one who was king of her heart as well as king of her homeland, so do I envision our Lord appearing in the air to call us to himself. The tender words of the king to his beloved are but a faint reflection of joys to come:
My lover spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, and come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me”
(Song. 2:10-13 NIV).
That Jesus chose marriage as the metaphor to describe his union with his Church is indicative both of his own attitude regarding the sanctity of marriage and of the depth of his passion for his Church (that’s “Church,” with a capital “C”—and spelled with a “you” and an “I,” as in “us”). Jesus spoke of marriage in terms that leave no doubt as to how he felt. Marriage was God-ordained:
“Haven’t you read,” he said, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matt 19:4-6).
What we sometimes appear to forget is that Jesus is as anxious as we are for that day when he will return to claim his bride. He has chosen us, and passionately longs for that moment when we, as his bride, become one with him. He sees and understands our concerns, and shares in our sufferings; he feels the pain of our wounds. He experiences gratification when we come to him to share our worries and our delights—not because he needs to feel needed, but because of his great love. It is his nature! He looks forward to the time when he will welcome his bride into his home, where she will know the joys of life and freedom and love as she has never known them before.
Do you ever feel a twinge of—how can I describe it? Second thoughts? Apprehension? Concern? Fear? And perhaps even a tinge of guilt because of your apprehensions—when you think of the coming of Christ to reclaim his own? I must admit, I do.
It’s not that I fear for myself: I know that however unworthy I may be in myself, Christ values me and has made me worthy through his own unselfish sacrifice to share in the joys of eternal life with him (wow—incredible, but true!). What worries me, what makes me cringe deep down is the knowledge that I have relatives, friends and acquaintances who are not a part of the rejoicing throng that will rush into the welcoming arms of Christ at his return. Have I done—am I doing—all I know to do to win them to the Lord? Will God, in his great love, find a way to reach them, to draw them to himself? What about the many lost who have had so little opportunity to learn of him? If Jesus should come today…?
The Scriptures teach us that the timing of Christ’s second advent is in God’s hands, of his choosing. Out of his love, he has chosen (thus far) to give us more time to reach the lost, to share his message, and through the power of his Holy Spirit to win souls to him.
God help us to use that time wisely—with a sense of urgency born of the knowledge that there may not be much time left!