It’s my favorite question to ask the bride when we meet for the first time.
“Have you found the dress yet?”
And then, her eyes light up and a smile creeps across her face as she describes in explicit detail the gown she will wear. Somewhere in the fog of detail, her and I forget we’re meeting in the studio to supposedly discuss photography packages. Instead, we’re both caught up in a steady stream of lace, ruffles, pearls and satin.
Months later, I’ll find myself stowed away in her dressing room with a camera in hand, capturing giggles from bridesmaids and picture-perfect curls being formed. And then my favorite long-awaited moment comes. She slips one leg into the mess of fabric. The gown is pulled up and laced tightly, she’s adorned in simple jewels and she turns to take in her reflection for the very first time.
And for one brief moment, the room goes still. I forget about my camera, and we all sigh in unison. The vision before us can only be described as breathtaking. It doesn’t matter how many weddings we shoot, or how many brides I meet – the moment she first appears in all her anticipated glory is nothing short of epic.
And the moment always reminds me of that upcoming wedding hosted by God himself in which all of humanity has been invited. A wedding which will make the Royal Wedding look like child’s play. Christ is the groom and we, the body of believers, are His bride.
The cotton candy colored sky and the white-topped mountains are only a foreshadowing of God’s glory and creativity, which will reach its peak with the wedding feast ushering in a new heaven and new earth.
The wedding attendees will be clothed in special garments. Like any typical girl, I’ve already begun thinking about what I will arrive wearing. My dress won’t be self-made or even purchased from a famed boutique, because it could never, ever be good enough. The way I live my life on earth will determine the beauty of my future dress, and as Isaiah writes, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Isaiah’s defines filthy rags as menstrual garments– how ridiculous to think about showing off a used tampon! In the same way, it’s ludicrous to assume that any of my “good deeds” could impress a holy God. For my sins far outweigh any good I have done.
However, God Himself will provide a garment for me, which will be unequalled! “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.” (Isa. 61:10)
I won’t be able to enter heaven without my special wedding garment, this robe of righteousness. Only God can give me the glorious robe; it’s a free gift. And I’ve already accepted it. Have you?
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Matt. 22:11-13
*Picture courtesy of Jeff Mullikin Photography