I was at a beautiful wedding this past weekend and just soaked in the glory of it all. A holy moment it was as the bride in white walked down the aisle toward the bridegroom. All the preparation, the hopes, the dreams, the expectation, the excitement, the planning had come to this one day where they made a covenant before God and man, as husband and wife, to cleave to one another from that day forward until death. It was an exquisite picture, a snapshot in time, of the great Someday our souls long for, even when we are seemingly unaware of our longings. These yearning are for a world not here, where all shall be made completely whole and holy, perfect and known by the King of Ages.
As I met some of the guests, and found some really neat connections with our stories, our pasts, and our passions…just a hint of sadness swept over me. I thought, “Wow, these are great people. Some beautiful older couples who have incredible life experiences and wisdom. Some young people with whom I could see myself being good friends…but in this life, we meet so many people at so many places and there’s just no way to stay in touch with everyone, and most definitely there’s no way to stay close, in deep, authentic community and relationship with everyone. Yet…these are the kinds of people I want to be close with. There is a deep bond in Christ and they have spiritual treasures to share…I love getting to know people, but I hate goodbyes. I want all things to last, especially relationships.” And as soon as these whispering thoughts came, another thought hit me: “This is why I long for home. I long for heaven. I long for that great wedding feast of the Lamb, where all of the guests will be there forever and the party will never end. The feasting will go on, the dancing will continue, the conversations of joy and glory will be forever, and the bride of Christ, the great vast body of believers who span the globe and all of history, will be there together, knowing Christ fully and being fully known by Him. And we will know one another completely and so splendidly as we have been made spotless and perfect by our King.”
So my momentary sad thought was transformed into this beautiful ache, taking my heart on a journey of imagining my real home…and the real wedding for which we all await. Another ache sweeps over me still, as I long for all to have this hope- to know this Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, Who alone can satisfy the last longing of the soul and wipe away every tear at the cross. I ache for strangers I pass by in the day and the loved ones I pray for at night to have this assurance of Home, of Heaven, of forever in Him. I don’t want to be at the great feast and eternal reunion of friends and sisters and brothers with any missing. I long for each one to receive the love the King has to offer and the eternal gift of life He’s purchased at the cross. I think of Matthew 22:1-14… “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” Please, dear friends, do not refuse this invitation. Welcome Christ into your heart and life, so that when this short life is over, He will welcome you into His Kingdom, into the forever feasting of the saints in all glory, at the most spectacular wedding celebration in eternity’s history.
Consider what C.S. Lewis reflects in Mere Christianity, on our true country, on the deepest longing of our lives: