The Bride

In 2010, I attended something called Immerse, a competition and conference for aspiring Christian musicians. While in Nashville for this event, I had the honor to attend a seminar led by Jennie Lee Riddle, the composer of the worship anthem, “Revelation Song.” I had been greatly impacted by this song, and I wanted to hear the writer’s heart behind what I considered to be a masterpiece.
Unfortunately, we arrived late to her session, but I wasn’t disappointed by what I heard from her in the remaining time. Jennie continued to reference the idea of the church being the “bride of Christ.” She prefaced almost everything she said relating to worship with the reminder that worship leaders need to consider everything they do with the Bride in mind.
Who is the Bride? Well, the Bride is the Church— the body of believers who call Christ their Savior. The bible is full of references to God’s people being the Bride— Christ’s beloved. Such a concept spoke to the heart of Mike Donehey, lead singer of the band, Tenth Avenue North. On their very first record, they included a song called “Beloved,” a metaphorical retelling of the Last Supper that Jesus shared with His disciples. In a YouTube video, Mike explains the meaning behind the song. He recounts that the relationship between Christ and His followers is deeply rooted in unconditional love. Just as a man proposes to his future wife, Christ offers us His love with the Last Supper existing as a perfect example. When He picks up the Cup, He is essentially asking His disciples (and all of us) to welcome Him in and devote our lives to His call.
We don’t have to come before Him all perfect and beautiful. A woman may put on make-up and curl her hair before going on a date with the one she loves, but God doesn’t require that of us in our relationship with Him. He has already seen us in all of our unattractiveness. Now, I’m not talking about our hair being a mess and our clothes rumpled and dirty. I’m talking about the mess of our lives: sin, grief, anger, hatred, etc. He is aware of our human and broken state, but still He loves us anyway.
In recently attending a marriage conference, I was able to look at my single life a little more seriously. I found that many of my insecurities as I consider a future marital relationship stem from the idea of someone seeing the unattractive parts of my life. I am certainly not a super model, and since I have a visual impairment, my difficulty to pay attention to trends and styles leaves me wondering if my physical appearance could ever draw a man to appreciate me on a physical level. Sometimes, I am led to give up on the idea that I would ever be beautiful in a man’s eyes.
It’s a good thing that no matter how much I mess up or how unattractive I feel, I will never be less beautiful in my Savior’s eyes. I love the imagery of a veil being lifted from the eyes as a person moves from this life into eternity. For me, I will not only have a veil lifted, but my eyes themselves will be cleared to see Him fully. No longer will I be blinded physically and limited spiritually in my finite view of His greatness. Just as a husband lifts the veil of his bride-to-be in a wedding ceremony, Christ will lift my veil and draw me into my eternal home.
During communion a few weeks ago, I think I finally began to grasp what Jennie Lee Riddle has been talking about all along. As I played piano during the sacrament, I turned my head ever so slightly to gaze out over the congregation. Although I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone and the view was mostly a blur of faces and colored clothing, I knew what I was seeing. This wasn’t just a church congregation in small town Wisconsin. This was the Bride of Christ, and even though I would never have Christ’s perception, I knew without a doubt that she was beautiful to Him. I couldn’t help but get choked up in that moment as I moved into the song “Mystery,” originally performed by Gateway Worship. “Mystery” is a song that continually reminds me of the incredible mystery of God’s grace in the midst of our brokenness. There is no way I could ever deserve it, but He loves me… better yet, He is IN LOVE with me. He is my beloved and I am His.

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