This weekend it was my privilege to join one of my partners for his son’s wedding, during which I found myself pondering the Christian ceremony, the often shallow beliefs of today’s America, and the challenges facing those just beginning their own journey.
First, weddings are always beautiful events, that is, when two individuals truly consummate the spiritual vows that will sustain them, both physically and emotionally, during their new life journey as one.
With each wedding, one is reminded of Jesus’ stamp of approval on weddings, there performing His first miracle, or at least one of His first recorded miracles. The gospel of John capturing the multiple layers of truth that always seem to surround the many deliberate acts of Christ. For instance, the source of this wine: water (the Spirit); then the containers for this water (clay jars-humanity); much less the type water: I am told this water was kept there for the purpose of washing tired dirty feet? Possibly, a statement by Jesus against the religious in the crowd, as it was not even Holy water, though transformed into a wine that topped the best those revelers had ever tasted?
As an aside, can you imagine God showing up at your party and providing the wine? Did He have His guard down, a little off His game that day, or does He actually love to celebrate life as well?
That Jesus, maybe not the one morphed to fit our miniscule capacity for wonder, was (is) bigger than life, at least life as we know it on this Earth.
We in fact may have lost much of the awe of this “terrible” epic of scripture that is truly unfolding? One that declares the Son, perhaps long before this wedding in Cana, actively engaged in a conflict necessary to reposition God’s Bride to its rightful place in the galaxies…in fact among worlds unknown to mortal man!
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” I Cor. 15:20-28 (NIV)
Could this whole globe have little to do with us, we being simply supporting actors in a saga long under way, even before creation as we know it? This story may be well beyond humanity, as mentioned in Isaiah 14, and also in Ezekiel 28. There we find the story of a fallen angel cast down from heaven, present in Eden, perfect in his ways; until iniquity was found in him.
Ironically, though bent on overthrowing the Kingdom of God, this being was deported to the very spot on the globe where God would place two much weaker vessels, which He hand crafted “subject to vanity in hope.” Would they choose Love (God) over evil, a challenge that first began in rebellion against the heavens? As the story continues to play out, God Himself would risk His own deity, becoming confined to this same weak flesh of Adam in order to confront these fallen beings that predated creation.
As Christ’s day of victory approached, His righteous presence so pulled at the very dimensions of this other world that demons cried out and dimensions heretofore unseen manifested. Peter, James and John even witnessed another place in time, as this Victor traversed the veil that guards our human eye. There before them were Moses and Elijah, conversing with the Son of God on the Mount of Transfiguration, as recorded in Mark 9:2-5.
God through love alone would redeem all creation in the very presence of these evil ones, re-establishing Eden, His Kingdom on Earth. Does this sound like Star Wars? Welcome to scripture, its truth now lost to generations of scriptural illiterates, though with each generation, there comes a growing thirst for meaning, their future on this globe now threatened by the abuse of the generations before them.
Though the media addresses our starved need for understanding through science fiction, continuing to hint at something larger than this world, the truth of the gospel remains too dangerous to profess, at least socially and politically. So, the church remains virtually silent and essentially powerless!
This story of a second Adam, born of God, deserves audience. It was He who through the very notions of a violence influenced by these unseen evil minions, would be offered up as a sacrifice of love, drawing to Himself a weaker creature, that though fallen as well, would then thwart the power of that fallen evil one, Lucifer. The power of the tyrant behind the struggle is not as evident today, held at bay by the One who defeated death, Hell and the grave!
Yet, the impact is still there, as our globe shutters environmentally, its poor go hungry, enslaved by the inequities of generations of greed, with many well resourced living only hours away in the same city or even on the same block, themselves clutching a thin prosperity, that may now be failing as well.
We are post Calvary and the Kingdom of God is even more near than then, yet we often fail to act fully act upon it, otherwise His presence would be much more real in both our homes and our nation. We, like those clay jars in Cana contain His Spirit, yet we withhold the new wine that would otherwise bring justice, forestall apocalypse and even usher in the wedding feast previously announced by John in Revelation 19:9.
Peter warns us not to become complacent, for something truly of epic proportions has been, is, and shall continue long after our individual demise, at least until that last wedding occurs. Then and only then will true joy be revealed, as the Lamb, the Son of God victoriously brings all things back to His Father, ushering in a New Age. In fact a New Heaven and a New Earth, once the former has “waxed old like a garment” (Isa. 51:6).
Oil in the Gulf? Wall Street in the tank? Justice down the tubes? God is not mocked, either by humanity, or those unseen evil beings far more powerful than we. He is sovereign, and though the Earth is reeling from our own sinful neglect, greed and arrogance, as well the influence of evil over all time, He has not forgotten us. We are His Bride, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone! There is hope for the next generation and it is in Christ alone!
Once this vengeful challenge from darkness has been fully reconciled by the Christ, this Kingdom will be offered back to the Father, as Paul so eloquently unpacks for us in the above verses.
Then a marriage feast unlike no other attended on this earth will be readied, and “The Kingdom of the World (will) become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever! Hallelujah, Hallelujah… ” -Handel’s Messiah