My daughter is married! This past Friday she dedicated herself to Rich Spalin. I have been to lots of weddings, maybe even yours, but I do believe this was the best I have ever attended including my own! Here’s why.
The wedding ceremony holds in itself the image of our relationship with God through Jesus. The bible is filled with words and images of weddings. One example is Revelation 19:70-f “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride [the Elect] has made herself ready.  Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
When a Jewish boy decided he wanted to get married he would go over to the girl’s house with a contract of marriage and the “bride price.” That would be the first “date.” Jesus followed the tradition. He came from His Father’s house to where we live, the earth. He brought a contract in a sense…His own life.
This past Friday afternoon Rachelle and I stood and watched as the wedding party walked slowly to their places. Rich, his groomsmen, Rachelle’s Maid of Honor and bridesmaids, my grandson Bailey was the ring bearer and a whole host of friends and family watched on. Rachelle and I were waiting for the wedding planner to give us the cue to walk out of the beach house to head out to our places.
With what looked like slow motion, with her palm up and four fingers motioning for us to come, Rachelle looked and me and gasped! It wasn’t a gasp of fear, but a gasp of awe! I responded the same. This was a holy moment, the groom inviting his bride to his side forever! We composed just before heading down the steps to the sand, only to look up and see the neighbors on their deck with 4 cameras. They happened to be vacationing wedding photographers. We cracked up laughing and I gave a wave and asked how much their services would cost me?
When Rachelle and I arrived at our places all these short, random thoughts flooded my mind. “Jesus the groom, the church the bride, He prepares a place for us, never leave or forsake, better or worse.” And my own upcoming welcome toast rattled through my mind where I would tell the crowd that they were a part of a celebration of an answered prayer. It was a prayer began when Rachelle was 2 or 3 years old that God would bless her future husband…who ever he would be….and there he was…Rich Spalin!
Mike Cowart, our official wedding photographer caught the moment in a picture. I wasn’t sad, I was just in awe of seeing God’s work unfold. I was gripped by the depth of God’s love for me by seeing the passion Rich has shown for Rachelle!
Rich and Rachelle are celebrating their first week of marriage in Aruba. Rachelle loves the beach, so I’m sure she is having a blast! Rachelle is moving to Rich’s house and I’m sure he’s been working getting it ready for his new bride.
I just read that when the Jewish young man would go on this “first date” he would pour her a cup of wine; that was the act of proposal. She would accept the proposal by picking up the cup and drinking it, or she could push the wine away and thus reject the proposal.
If she picked up the cup and drank it, the new fiance would respond “I go to prepare a place for you.” The man would return to his father’s home and begin building a wedding chamber for himself and his bride-to-be.
And like Rich has prepared for Rachelle, Jesus tells us that He prepares a place for us!
After the wedding I was a part of the best ever reception with food, a steel drum band, and I danced with my daughter to the Bob Marley tune of “Three Little Birds,” played and sung by a real Jamaica regea band!
God bless you Rich and Rachelle, he certainly used you on a beach in South Carolina to teach me yet again one more lesson of His love for us….me.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride (that’s you) has made herself ready.” Rev 19:7