Friends of the Groom
April 29, 2023
In the more traditional weddings, with all the frills and proper etiquette, ushers are trained to inquire of those entering the chapel, "Friend of the bride or friend of the groom?"
Friends of the bride are escorted to the left and friends of the groom, to the right.
These days, it is more likely to be both.
At the cosmic wedding, set at some future and/or eternal date, it is also both.
We are entering the season of weddings.
Love is in the air and young lovers’ eyes are glazed over with anticipation of their marriages. They have chosen their brides and grooms and, with eager anticipation, await their nuptials.
Jesus was born for an arranged marriage.
He is the bridegroom of a precious bride, betrothed by his Father from the foundation of the earth and adorned in beauty and regalia. He is the husband of the church. His eyes glow with love for his bride.
His presence is of such value that the members of the wedding party mourn while he is away and rejoice when he arrives. The hosts of Heaven understand this and even nature responds with glee at his arrival.
The earth was darkened when he died, and his friends grieved with despair. His resurrection brought unspeakable joy and his ascension was no source of pain for with it, he sent his Spirit to abide with and in us forever. he is always present as he promised in his Great Commission.
We are cast in this drama as both the collective bride and friends of the bridegroom. In both roles, we have within ourselves the desire to adore him. It may disguise itself as something else.
The flesh will distort that desire and pervert it, but the essence of desire is that we would desire him. Mourning comes in his absence. Joy is in his presence.
The essence of our worship, meditation, prayer, contemplation, celebration, and experience of God as we, Christians, know God in the face of Jesus, is presence. Intimacy with God is found in our celebration of the presence of God. Anything that brings a sense of absence, depletes us and diminishes us. Anything that causes us ton be drawn near, is bliss and satisfaction.
Note: Noel Paul Stookey wrote this piece as a wedding gift for his friend, Peter Yarrow