This weekend Andrew and I wandered down to a town called La Linea, a town across the way from Gibraltar. A friend of ours, one of "our" students that was here 3 years ago, got married.
The youth from our church had retreat this weekend, so many were unable to go. We went as representatives to a beautiful wedding, but I get ahead of myself.
Tamary, the bride, had been in Granada for just one year. Her dad would come and visit every chance he got, and he was so dynamic, so fun, we just adopted him as one of our own. He would come to every event he could, and joyfully stood and worshipped. They came with us on church retreat, and rejoiced with us as we baptized new believers.
10 months after that great retreat, Tamary's dad was brutally stabbed while walking away from the doctor's office. A case of mistaken identity. A senseless death.
We had always wanted to go and visit the family, but we were unable to do so. Our own family drama was unfolding.
Finally, we were able to go to the wedding. It cost money, gas, hotel, gift to the bride and groom. Sigh. But, it was honestly worth every penny.
We tried to find the little church in this maze of a little ugly town by the port. We couldn't. We were lost. We prayed and suddenly we pulled up next to a young guy dressed smartly. We told him we were trying to find our way to a wedding, could he help us? He said, "Tamary's wedding? Follow me. I'm going there." We laughed as he turned about 20 times as we followed him. We could have never found the place.
We got there early with all these people miling about, waiting. Andrew sent me inside to find a place to sit, and he waited for the brideg and groom. I was inside when I heard a joyful yell, and we turned and there they were, walking down the aisle to get married.
I've not been at such an enthusiastic or happy wedding in a very long time. They laughed, sang, and prayed and said their vows in nervous happiness. There were giggles as it was a "live" event and it was so good. I've cried like that in a while at a wedding. The bride sang to her new husband, and we all cried and laughed and rejoiced.
Then we drove to the reception and we seriously partied. Food, drinks, dancing, we drug ourselves away at 2 in the am, sad that it was over. We left shortly before the bride and groom did, exhausted with happiness and joy.
This wedding, was a perfect picture, of what we long for the next life. That nervous waiting, the beautiful gowns and suits and hair and shoes and shawls and hats and makeup. The roar of happiness when the bridegroom comes. The tears and happy moments and the dancing until your feet hurt. The food and the joy, the sighing and the conversations. Can you wait? After yesterday, I can barely wait.
There's an old charismatic song that rang through my head, it says, "be ready when the bridegroom comes..." I hope I am just as ready as all those men and women were yesterday at the wedding. They were so excited, I want to be that and more. And no matter how beautiful the bride was yesterday, her beauty pales in comparison to this strange thing called the Church. "be ready when the bridegroom comes..." Am I?