The Bridegroom

My brother was married over the weekend.  It was an exhausting journey south to the Kentucky of my youth, but well worth the trip.

This is my brother’s second marriage.  At his first wedding, I was a self-absorbed middle schooler.  I think I have about three total memories of that wedding, all of which center around me.  Watching this time, through grown-up eyes, had a very different flavor…a mix of nostalgia and surrealism.

Hilary was flower girl extraordinaire.  When I first discussed with her what it meant to be a flower girl, I told her to basically do the exact opposite of everything she’d ever seen on those “funniest wedding clips ever” type shows.  I attempted to help her practice and be prepared.  She refused and reassured me that she had the whole thing under control.

She was right.  Both of the other flower girls bailed out during the ceremony, but she held her ground, nearly immovable on the stage, watching the events around her.  Everyone praised her stoic poise, completely shocked that a five year old could stand still for so long.  As you can tell, this was not an Orthodox wedding!   Standing for a mere twenty-five minute ceremony was no big deal to Hilary at all.

My seat in the crowd gave me a clear and direct view of the bride’s face.  I was captivated.  About halfway through the ceremony, I leaned back and whispered to my sister that it was just so amazing to watch someone look at my brother with such devotion.  I mean, this is the guy who teased and tickled and tortured me senseless for my entire childhood.  Hardly my version of an object of desire.  But the look in my sister-in-law’s eyes was electric.  The love within her lit up her face, the room, and the entire city block.  This was the day she had been waiting for.  This was the moment.  Her bridegroom had come, and she was in awe.

As I contemplated her face, I heard the haunting melody from Holy Week…

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight.

And blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching.

What devotion.  What love.  What anticipation.  The bride waiting for her bridegroom.

Christ is the Bridegroom.  The Church is His Bride.  I am the Church.  Does it show on my face?  Does my love light up my life like this bride’s?  Is my gaze unshakable, affixed only on the face of the Bridegroom?  Is my heart joyous, overflowing with peace and hope?  Is this day…is every day…the day I’ve been waiting for?  The moment where nothing else matters but a bride and a groom?

Watching young people get married has its own meaning.  There’s so much possibility in the air.  Watching those closer to middle age wed is a different event.  Sometimes there’s so much baggage, but still…the possibilities, they’re everywhere.

Your Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Savior.

But I have no wedding garment that I may enter.

I dug out my one semi-fancy dress for the occasion, but my contemplations made me feel woefully under dressed.  I have no wedding garment.  I have nothing by myself.  Wake up lazy soul!  Rouse yourself and do not be shut out of the Kingdom!  Look with new eyes.  Shine with new light.  Behold…the Bridegroom comes!

O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul

and save me!

Congratulations to my dear brother and his lovely new wife.  May God grant you many, many years!

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