Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Bride Shines

“…Let your lives shine brightly before them.” Philippians 2: 15b

It was a perfect day for a garden wedding. The bridal party took their places at the front and then all eyes turned to catch the first glimpse of the bride and groom. Eyes were riveted on the bride as she appeared. Her beautiful angelic face beamed exuding a picture of purity, joy, and sweetness. Finally the guests could relax. The beautifully dressed bride had at last been seen. My mind flashed back to the day I was going through the slide show of my Saudi friend’s wedding. I saw photo after photo of men and food. I waited to see a picture of her. I wondered what she would look like as a bride. Since no picture was coming up on the slide show I asked her, “Where are you, the bride?” She replied that it was not cultural to show the bride’s picture. I was shocked. How can you attend a wedding and the bride not be visible? Or have a wedding photo album with no picture of the bride? I couldn’t imagine going to that garden wedding and the bride never appeared. It would have been so disappointing!

The Church is symbolically referred to as the “Bride of Christ” in the Bible. A bride, in her bridal dress and jewelry, stands for all that is pure and good. The Church, God’s chosen and bought ones by the sacrificial blood of Jesus, is meant to be on display before the watching world to communicate and manifest His holiness and glory. It is powerful when we invite our Muslim friends to important life events where the “Bride of Christ” is on display. How disappointing if our Muslim friends don’t ever get a glimpse of the “Bride of Christ.” I don’t mean just what happens inside the four walls on Sunday mornings, although that is one powerful glimpse for sure, but rather what happens outside the walls.

We have invited our Muslim friends to our children’s weddings, a parent’s funeral, birthday parties, a daughter’s baptism in a backyard pool, a book launch, extended family picnics on the farm during harvest season, family gatherings, meals in our home, to church camp, and to Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day celebrations. We have welcomed them to sit with us during grieving times. They have witnessed Christians distributing tents and food supplies to refugees and other kinds of help in times of disaster. It is these life events that give a face to “the Bride of Christ.” Many of our Muslim friends are reluctant to come inside church. But they can still get a glimpse of the “Bride of Christ” outside the walls. If you are frustrated because your Muslim friend is reluctant to visit your church you can invite her to see the “Bride of Christ” in a myriad of ways where the family of Christ is gathered outside the four walls of the church building. Let’s show the “Bride of Christ” to our Muslim friends. We don’t want the picture of the “Bride of Christ” to be missing for them from the slide show.

Dear heavenly Father, show us creative ways how we can display Your glory to our Muslim friends. In Jesus’ name, Amen.