Did the Pandemic Foreshadow our Future?

 

Photo by Cody Chan on Unsplash

Sequel weddings. This phrase joins the long list of new words and concepts arising from the worldwide pandemic. The majority of us have walked alongside friends and family who – because of COVID 19 – were forced to plan two-part wedding celebrations. I personally observed heartbroken brides forced to slash their guest lists, rework their venues and convince loved ones that watching their nuptials over Zoom was practically like being there. The newlyweds enjoyed their scaled-back marriage ceremonies, but they paled in comparison to the grand celebrations they had planned. They enjoyed a shadow of their event in the midst of the pandemic while awaiting the full-scale fêtes on a day to be determined. The whole situation seemed so sad at first blush, but were these intimate festivities actually a tender foreshadowing of the future God has planned for us?

I will never forget recently attending one of those postponed affairs – a sequel wedding. The venue was bathed in brilliant light as guests of all ages and stages – adorned in their finest attire – assembled joyfully, anticipating the entrance of the couple. The groom stood with his groomsmen, beaming from ear to ear, as his beautiful bride, donned in a gown of pure white, made her way toward him, tears flowing with a combination of utter relief and overwhelming elation. They finally could enjoy both the initial event that united them and the ultimate ceremony they had held in their hearts. I can’t help but wonder if – for Christians – our emotions will be similar on the day of The Sublime Soirée – the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

The apostle John describes this event in the Book of Revelation where he writes,

“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.” (Rev. 19:7-8 ESV)

The Lamb is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and his Bride is every person – past, present and future – who has received the gift of everlasting life with Him by faith. At the moment someone receives that gift, they are united with our Bridegroom forever – just a small, intimate ceremony between Him and them. Yet, Revelation 19 reveals that a sequel wedding of magnificent proportions awaits us. We can hardly fathom its brilliance! So, let’s visit a church in Washington state to help us.

We recently discovered an event held annually in Walla Walla, Washington. Retired faculty member Beverly Beem describes it like this:

“Each fall, the University Church dramatizes hospitality in the Longest Table, where everyone can come and eat together. A few weeks ago, 180 tables filled fourth Street for a quarter mile, turning the street by the church into a magnificent dining room. About 1800 people, students, church members, community members, whoever wanted to come, all gathered around these tables. ‘And the Spirit and the Bride say come.’ (Rev. 22:17) Here, in the Longest Table, the Spirit and the church conspire in an earthly representation of the infinitely long table to which God invites the human race.”[i]

What a beautiful foretelling of that ultimate Marriage Supper! And, friends, if you are unsure whether you are invited, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lamb is inviting you! Jesus is the ultimate host, welcoming us to a party and hoping and praying we will attend. Like the host in His parable of The Great Banquet, (He) invites as many as are willing to come to eat at His table to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ (Psalm 34:3)”[ii] Like my friends who experienced a two-part marriage ceremony, accepting Christ’s invitation now lets us enjoy daily glimpses of our marriage to Him while awaiting our ultimate union with Him in the future. And, our joy can be so rich that we can’t help but invite others to join us! So, how about you – have you opened His invitation yet? To learn how, click here. And if, after reading, you make a decision to be united to Christ, please let us know by leaving a comment! We want to be praying for you!

— The Sublime Soiree © March 2022

[i] Beverly Beem, https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/10/16/jesus-host-hospitality-ministry-jesus, Oct. 15, 2016

[ii] Betty Dunn, https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/how-the-parable-of-the-banquet-teaches-us.html, August 30, 2021

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