He brought me to his banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Song of Solomon 2:4

The Bridegroom
This past weekend I watched a friend’s son get married. Being a witness has a pleasure different than when I lead the service. As an officiant, when the bride enters, I, as well as the congregation, rightly focus on her.

But this past weekend as a witness I had the pleasure of focusing most of my attention on the groom. He was the one I had watched grow from an infant. He was the one that had sat under my preaching.

As I watched his face I saw the emotions I felt thirty years ago: joy, yearning, innocence, new beginnings, gratefulness, and amazement that this beautiful bride should be his for the rest of his life.

Song of Songs
This picture was still in my mind on Sunday morning as our church started a short sermon series on the Song of Songs. There God takes the emotions of the lovers and the propositions of Ephesians 5 and play them out before us.

Rather than focusing on Israel’s adultery as in other parts of the OT, Solomon directs us poetically and emotionally to the Shepherd-King’s love for the shepherdess. He is wealthy and successful. She is insecure, poor, and from the country. But that doesn’t matter. We drink in the emotional desire each has for the other. Their delight in each other makes other relationships pale in comparison. I had seen that the day before. My young friend was delighting in his new bride as he willfully, emotionally forsook all others and received her.

The picture on Saturday and the sermon on Sunday combine to ignite the picture we see in Revelation 19:7 of Jesus wedding his bride.

Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready.

Middle Age Reflections
As my own marriage passes the 30 year mark, being “in love” has given way to long-term, lasting love. Similarly, my own relationship with Christ has settled into the middle-aged years of perseverance.

But this marriage celebration and sermon shock my heart.

Jesus loves me like my friend loves his new bride? He loves me like Solomon loves his shepherd girl? He loves me with the baggage I bring? He loves me even after all these years?

The answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The most noble, masculine groom is but a poor shadow of the one who loves, yea desires us. The most noble love story and chase is but a hint at the greatest love story.

Jesus outloves and outdesires any man who ever loved his bride. How can I respond to that love but to rest in it, to respond to it, to reciprocate it, to honor it, to willingly do whatever he calls me to do?

No matter what happens I will know, meditate, trust in, and reflect on that love that Jesus has for me. He has seated me at his table with a banner that tells the world of his love.

Parents, use these weddings to preach the gospel to yourself and your children. Tell them how much Jesus loves them.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. 1 John 4:16