Monday, August 8, 2011

Maria's Cross Country Journey Part 1: Change

The first leg of my journey is in Atlanta. I've been here since Wednesday. My friend Ali got married today-actually yesterday I guess, and I was a bridesmaid. It was a flurry of preparations, and activity. However, the weekend was a HUGE success. Amazing food, exciting venues, people and events made this an extremely memorable time for me. I will admit, it was not easy watching yet another one of my friends get married, nor was it easy to see yet another one of my best friends move far away. I've never been good with change. Yet there were other feelings I experienced as I performed my bridesmaidenly duties this weekend.

I've been to many weddings in my life. Some were exciting, somewhere dull. There were some that have left me still scratching my head. As a whole, I would say that I enjoy weddings. The romance, the righteousness, to me its a constant reminder of God's love for me. Its a beautiful picture of what Christ has done for us. People get so worked up about marriage. They wonder what the point is. Marriage is no longer necessary for intimacy and procreation; it's no longer necessary for companionship or for the good of society. Why get married? It is an unnecessary step on the path to a happy and care-free relationship.

Marriage means that you have to answer to someone else, that they own part of you. Marriage means that you can never go out with anyone again, and that your social life is basically over. This is what society at large thinks. They don't see it. Yes, it is hard. Yes, you do have to give things up, yes its painful at times and yes it is sacrifice. That my friends is the beauty of the thing. It is Christ. It is him give His life for us. It is Him being beaten and abused for our benefit. He didn't do it because of what He could get out of it. He didn't do it because of some fuzzy feelings He had about humanity. He did it because God commanded it. He did it out of obedience. Marriage is obedience. You might tilt your head to the side and say, "Well God never commands us to be married." You're right, He doesn't. But He tells us to love over and over and over again. THEN He paints all these amazing pictures of the bride waiting for her bridegroom, preparing herself for his arrival. Suddenly it becomes clear. Marriage is this incredible gift that we have been given to show people active, concrete Gospel. To show people sacrifice, selfless love, redemption, and obedience. We marry because we want others to see Him, and because we want to bring glory to God.

So as I put on my bridesmaids dress today, and curled my hair, and walked down the aisle, I thought about being the last of my college friends to marry. I thought about how my best friend Ali was getting married and moving away. But as I lay trying to sleep tonight, I thought about Jesus, and what He did for me. I thought about how many people would come into contact with Ben and Ali and see Christ through their marriage. I thought about how many children they might have that will also, God willing, bear the name of Christ and bring Him to others. So I hope that some people who grumble about marriage or are marriage cynics will have seen this wedding today and will understand that pain and sacrifice is what makes love, forgiveness, and mercy shine so much brighter. I hope they will see a picture that looks like a human, giving His life and suffering, so that someone else might live.

And thus the first leg of my journey comes to a close. I left "Cabbage Town" yesterday morning and I leave Atlanta in about eight hours. I will never forget this weekend, and I hope that I'll never forget what an unbelievable gift I have been given from God.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39