Jared Wilson has a fantastic post over at Gospel Driven Church. (This seems a fitting thing to post on my parents 28th wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary, mom and dad!)
And there is an echo here and also a foretaste. I see these photos, think of my wedding day, the wedding days of others, the desire and imperative to be intoxicated for all time (for better or worse, in richness and in poorness, in sickness and in health, til death do us part) and I see an echo of Adam laying eyes on Eve for the first time:
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
The first song ever sung (by man, anyway) is a love song. Smitten by the vision of his bride for the first time, music erupts from his mouth. And there is the foretaste in this moment and every groom spotting his bride in her virginal white, as the bridal march whips up, all the stops out, of Christ the Bridegroom presenting we his Bride to himself at the end of days. Dazzling in the reflection of his own glory, cloaked in the virgin white of his own righteousness given freely to us, the culmination of the lavishing of the riches of his own grace draws near. At last. And forever. For Christ and his Bride will have this moment of rapturous wedding joy for all eternity. The Lamb will receive the reward of his suffering, and of his love — the infinite worshipful devotion of his spotless bride.
[A]s the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
– Isaiah 62:5b
A few years ago after my friends Matt and Ashley – affectionately known as “Mashley” to friends – were married, I wrote this:
But this time I know that I haven’t exhausted the riches of marriage – someday I will go still further up and further in when I’m the groom watching my bride walk down the aisle. And still the riches won’t be exhausted because, Lord willing, someday I’ll be the father walking my daughter down the aisle. Then maybe someday I’ll be the grandfather watching one of my grandkids get married. With each new role I am confident I’ll discover new riches, new joys that I’d never previously imagined. And with each new role, I learn again why the Scriptures lean so heavily on the image of marriage as an explanation of the Gospel and how God relates to his people.
When you understand joy and pleasure in this way, you can throw yourself with abandon into the moment of pleasure as it hits you. Drink it all in, observe as much as you can – but know that there’s always more to see. There’s more beauty hiding and the wonderful, glorious truth is you’ll never find it all. Keep exploring, further up and further in.
In his song Hymn #101 Joe Pug says he’s “come to be untroubled in [his] seeking.” Therefore, be untroubled in your seeking, take in as much of the world’s beauty as you can bear. Say with Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Oh world, I cannot get thee close enough.” But know that there’s always more. And the only way you’ll find it is through humble gratitude for God’s grace, which will enable you to keep climbing… further up and further in.
Reading that now – 18 months into my own marriage to Joie and now nearly one month into fatherhood with Davy Joy – I can say those words still hold true. Marriage is a great good, family life is a great good. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.