Preparing to Worship in Attending a Wedding
It’s the beginning of the wedding season, which for many of us will mean multiple opportunities to witness afresh the symbolic representation of Christ’s covenant with his church.
Of course, this is especially the case at a Christian wedding, but even if the bride and groom are not believers, their wedding points to a far greater reality than they know, designed by our creator to anticipate the union of his Son and his people.
So as we attend weddings, we can prepare our hearts for what we will witness, and how we will witness. Here are four way to make the most of this wedding season.
1. Pray for Those Involved
Part of being a witness of a wedding is committing to love, encourage, and support the couple in their marriage. At a Christian wedding, we are witnesses of a covenant agreement being made consciously with and before God. So we should pray for the bride and groom as they prepare for this solemn event and new life which follows. We can also pray for their families, the pastor, the musicians, the wedding party, and anyone else involved in the events of the day. We can pray for peace, unity, joy, and for the glorious truth of the gospel to be central.
2. Pray for Our Hearts
As we prepare to witness a wedding ceremony, we can pray for our own hearts to overflow in worship to our Father, who redeemed for himself a bride for his Son. We can pray for joy as we look to our future union with our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
3. See the Symbolism
We can meditate on the truths of Scripture reflected in the wedding, including, but certainly not limited to:
The White Dress.We know that, on our own, our righteous deeds are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), but it is granted to us to wash our garments white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14) and one day to worship Christ in clothes of “fine linen, bright and pure” (Revelation 19:8).
The Groom’s Joy. As the bride walks down the aisle, we see on her groom’s face a tiny glimmer of the love Jesus has for us, his bride. It is because of this love that we can one day be presented to him “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that [we] might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25–27).
Songs of Worship. One of my favorite aspects of many Christian weddings is the chance to participate in congregational worship. What a joy to join with others in worship in the midst of such a beautiful representation of the gospel. As we come together to sing, we experience but a tiny glimmer of our future worship, as the bride of Christ comes together and in “a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder” cries out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory” (Revelation 19:6–7).
The Giving of Rings. The ring has, since ancient times, been used to seal important covenants. A ring symbolizes identification. A wedding ring says to the world that the one wearing it belongs to another. We see this and are reminded of our own identity in Christ — that we are “not [our] own, for [we] were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). We also remember that we have died and our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” and that now Christ is our life (Colossians 3:3–4).
4. Pray for Opportunities
Even as we can rejoice in the beauty of the gospel while witnessing a wedding ceremony, there may be others present who cannot. There may be some in attendance who have never heard the gospel, or who have not trusted in Christ alone, through faith, for salvation. As we prepare to attend a wedding, we can pray for opportunities to talk with those who do not yet believe.
One way to do this is to ask the couple ahead of time if there are unbelieving family members or friends we can pray for. Or one pastor said he looks around during the ceremony to see who is not singing. He guesses those who are unfamiliar with the songs are most likely not frequently in a corporate worship setting, and he makes it a point to speak with them during the reception, asking them what they thought of the ceremony and going from there.
As we enter the wedding season, these are just a few ways we can prepare to worship as we witness the unions of friends and family members. May we anticipate these ceremonies with joy, even as we anticipate our far greater future marriage feast with our true Bridegroom, Jesus.
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