I can’t get this image out of my head today. Our church community group (small group) is doing a study called Faith Lessons on the Death and Resurrection of the Messiah by Ray Vander Laan (Zondervan 1999). It is fantastic! I am learning so much that I never knew – no matter how many Bible studies, classes, camps I’ve been involved with over the years.
We watch a DVD and then discuss the questions in the participant’s guide. Well, last night in the DVD we learned that in Jesus’ time, it was a Jewish custom that the would-be groom offered a cup of wine (poured out by his father) to the would-be bride; it symbolized that he was giving his life to her. It was up to her, in that moment, to either tell him no (refuse his proposal) or to take the cup, say, “Yes, I will accept your life, and in return I’ll give you mine” and then she drank from it.
It was his way of saying to her, “I love you.”
The parallel with Jesus offering the cup to His disciples at the last supper knocked the breath out of me. I sat there trying to take that in, while a woman sang, “How beautiful… is the body of Christ.” That was already a favorite anthem of mine. To hear it in that moment… I’d never heard the words she closed with: “How beautiful the radiant bride, who waits for her groom with his light in her eyes.” Wow. Wow. Wow.
Holy Communion was already such a sacred moment that I have trouble standing on my feet, each and every time. Next time, they’ll have to scrape me up off the floor.
I love You, Jesus. And yes, I will marry You – again, and again, and again. And yes, I will accept Your life, and in return give You mine. Thank You for loving me.
PS – Here’s the song: How Beautiful by Twila Paris.