I don’t love weddings the way some women do, but I enjoyed myself immensely at a wedding last Friday night. It was a simple, yet elegant affair, an intimate gathering of people who truly enjoy one another’s company. We hugged. We talked. We laughed. We ate wedding cake and caught up with old friends. At the end of the night, we were in no hurry to leave. Even after the bride and groom dashed for their car through a shower of tiny bubbles, we lingered, reluctant to say goodbye.
On the way home, the kids asleep in the back seat, I thought about the ceremony and remembered happily the bride and groom at the altar. Holding hands tightly and making can-you-believe-this-is-real faces at one another, they had taken their vows and become man and wife before God and everybody. I was encouraged by the genuine affection and enthusiasm I had seen in the bride’s smile. Because we care so much about the groom, I pray that her smile never fades.
I know that it happens. Sometimes women forget to stay in love with their husbands, letting familiarity and routine cloud the wonder of intimacy with another human being. To fill the resulting void, they turn to things that are not bad in and of themselves, hobbies, fellowship with friends, career, food, and entertainment. The dose makes the poison, though, and too much of what could be a good thing can actually rob a person of God’s best for them, in this case, fostering selfish autonomy and damaging the marriage relationship until it’s difficult to tell by watching and listening whether a woman is married or not.
Sometimes I fear that this very thing is happening to the Church. More and more, it’s difficult to tell who does and who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. Word by phrase, individuals within the body are adopting the language of the world and laughing at what God calls detestable. Bite by drink, they are consuming things they could do without and abusing the freedom that is theirs in Christ. Having lost the wonder of their salvation, they’ve developed itching ears and flattering tongues, exchanging accountability and growth for empty religion and shallow fellowship.
Though there are many who still seek His face in earnest, setting themselves apart for Him and showing others the way, on the whole, the chosen and beautiful bride of Christ seems to be loosening her grip and pulling away from Him. I know that it happens. I’ve read the Old Testament. But, even so, it breaks my heart because I love the groom.