This Sudanese Bridegroom Taught Me How Christ Loves the Church

 Jesus compared himself to a groom (Matthew 25:6, Mark 2:20). In other passages the church is compared to a bride (Ephesians 5:25, Revelation 19:7-9). I never understood the analogy as clearly as I did on my daughter’s wedding day, October 22, 2016.

wedding-vThe Groom, Abram

Abram loved Laura for months before she loved Him. Jesus loved us before we loved Him (1 John 4:19).

Abram grew-up in Sudan speaking Arabic. A month ago, he left everything and everyone familiar to him to come to Oklahoma. Our food, customs, and language are all out of us comfort zone.   Jesus left heaven to become one of us (Hebrews 4:14-15).

Just as Joseph became surrogate father for Jesus, my husband, Steve became Abram’s dad. Their “male bonding” included shopping for clothes, buying a car, fixing a washing machine, grilling food, and playing games. Our family embraced him, our son, Tyler did everything he could to make Abram feel welcome. But when Abram stood at the altar, he didn’t have anyone from his country with him. Jesus experienced the cross without His Father.

wedding-lThe Bride, Laura

Laura had many great friends in the Middle East. She loved her apartment and being independent. Her job required that she traveled to other countries. Though working with refugees meant seeing and hearing great tragedy, she gained satisfaction from knowing that God was using her to make a difference in an individual’s life and eternity. She was living the adventure she had chosen when she met Abram.

Choosing to be Abram’s wife, Laura surrendered some of her freedom (Matthew 10:38).  While planning the wedding she often deferred to him out of love (Ephesians 5:22). This reminded me, that Jesus is Lord; we follow His leadership.  Marrying required her to sell her possessions in the Middle East and resign her job. Committing to Jesus involves a willingness change (Matthew 19:21).

 

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The Wedding Guests

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Even though the wedding involved only fifty people, it still required many people using their talents. There were musicians, caterers, two ministers, a soloist, a photographer, a videographer and a sound technician. Family members carried plants, decorated, prepared food, and cleaned-up afterwards. Each person contributed from their gifting (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

Some guests invested a great deal in the wedding: traveling for two days to arrive, buying plane tickets, missing work and school. Other guest invested much less, but all benefited from the celebration (Matthew 20:1-5).

The Ceremony wedding-u

When Abram stepped down from the platform, took Laura by the hand, and helped her up to the altar; it reminded me of Jesus returning to Earth to take the church home. As they lit the unity candle, I saw the power of light (Matthew 5:16). I pray that their unity will never be separated, just as we can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).

The purpose of the ceremony was to publicly proclaim to the world that Laura and Abram had committed their lives to one another.  The wedding was a celebration of the previous decision they had made privately in their hearts. Just as baptism is a public display of life-changing choice.  Thank you, God, for reminding me of the sacredness of marriage.

The wedding was a celebration of their decision. Just as baptism is a public display of life-changing choice. Click To Tweet