Today I went to a bridal shower and the girl getting married is one of the most genuine people I know. First my staff worker and now her--it's exciting and scary and surprising to think that this is already here. Watching people grow through this is so new. We watched her open her gifts wearing a princess crown and I'm happy to get to see the joy and the anticipation that comes along with this. Learning more about the role of the church as the bride and Christ as the bridegroom puts a film in front of it all I hadn't ever thought about before.
After the shower we ran down to the sound to take pictures and nearly froze, wind flying off the water, hard sharp wind like sheet metal, and I couldn't help but think about most of us there are all preparing ourselves in one way or another for this. We are seeking our God, we are learning and growing and really none of this ends in marriage but I see the way life reflects the spiritual one.
"Jesus goes relentlessly to my heart"--I won't forget this one. From Urbana. And it's true that he is pursuing us the way a suitor pursues his to-be bride, leaving notes in the way the air feels or the stretch of glow to the west, running after us when we run. And teaching us, calling us to something bigger. I haven't got this figured out, but I think about praying and talking together with people and we are preparing ourselves for the coming together of Christ and his bride.
These metaphors get away from me--I don't understand enough of it yet, but I like to think about things by means of other things. It's not just the things we're doing, but it's pictures of how they're meant to be done, parts of what they'll look like in whole one day. I don't just mean marriage. I mean living and loving people and all that.
Jeremiah 3:15 says "Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding." I think it means several different things, but particularly within the context of the bride, the Lord will send us shepherds whose hearts are for him and his purposes--and in that context, our husbands. It feels mostly hypothetical for me right now, but it struck me like a promise, a personal one, one that I wasn't looking for or expecting. This is all far-off talk, but a verse like that makes me okay with thinking of it less hypothetically and more as a potentiality. And I see already how it's true--this time outside of the context of marriage--in our staff, in our pastor, in the spiritual mentoring and friendship of a woman seven timezones away. It goes back and forth between my roommates and I, each of us switching roles and calling each other to more of God. And it's in the relationship I have with my disciple who is also my friend--and I've got to be continually after God's heart for it to be right. This set-up, God's plans--it's all so good.
Right now all of this looks like my friend who is getting married. Right now the whole idea of that, spiritually and otherwise, is so new to me. What's most exciting to me is getting to see the new ways he will work in what their relationship is growing toward. Every time I think I'm starting to see the whole picture, God comes in showing me how there's still space for more of him. How cool that this isn't even close to all of it.