In recent times, an understanding of the ‘Bride of Christ’ has swept across the church. We have seen the beauty of King Solomon’s temple slowly restored.
Many people once believed the church is the people not the building. But now I believe many churches are beginning to value the arts once again like the days of Michelangelo or St Peters Basilica . I personally believe the building should represent the value of the people. Critics have said it is not the outward appearance that matters but the heart, but to me it is both. The outward appearance speaks of what is in the heart and relates it to man. His beauty is his holiness. His spotless bride.
I was once at a Christian youth conference and skipped a session to attend a job interview for a dream job I had applied for. As I left, my GPS didn’t seem to work properly so I pulled up beside a quiet cemetery to recalibrate my journey. It was then I realised the interview was in Liverpool Sydney, not Liverpool Brisbane (Thirteen hours drive from the place I was living). To put it in context, all week I was desperate to discover what my calling, my purpose, my God give reason for being on this blue and green orb. I had just finished university and after 6 months and nearly 200 hundred job applications, I had received this one solitary interview. I thought this was God answering my prayer, only to find my dream job was a mere 923Km away from my current spot next to the cemetery. Despondent I exited my vehicle and sat like a potato on a cemetery bench. I figured it was as good a spot as any to feel sorry for my self. I didn’t even have to pretend to be happy as onlookers would grace me with sympathy at the appearance that I was morning uncle Joes death from 1954.
Away from the noise of the conference I figured maybe God could speak to me. After a transcendent moment of the dappled sun light dancing through the petals of a cherry blossom tree I found a strong compulsion to answer a peculiar question. Would I surrender everything? Like a cornered man I felt I should raise my hands. Across from me a funeral procession was in full swing and the casket was passing by. I felt completely unnatural sitting on the bench contemplating this decision.
In my mind I could see the irony at my hesitation considering I had been raising my hands to the Lord all week at the conference in a dimly lit room with thousands of other fearless teenagers . I had come to my whits end and I felt the only thing stopping me was a dash of pride with a sprinkle of male ego. Like a boy jumping into a pool I abruptly raised my hands and closed my eyes. I would like to day the whole world gasped? But it didn’t, I barely think anyone battered an eyelid but right then four words dropped into my conscience.
‘Decorate the Brides Dress’
To 99% of the planet this would be where one would call people in white coats to check ones sanity, but to me this was straight from the throne of heaven.
Instantly my confusion and pity party changed into a peaceful bliss of reassurance. That was it. This made everything in my life make sense.
Since this moment over 10 years ago I have consistently aimed to decorate the brides dress through creativity and the arts, namely music and film production. Spending alot of time, money and effort bringing glory to God through the church; the “Bride of Christ”. Christ does not want a bride with a “good heart” coming down the isle in “tracky-dacks” and “ugg boots”. He wants us to pour honour on his bride because he cherishes her and it also honours him. How much should we spend? I ask how much do you value your bride? I guess this is why when I see bad “wedding dresses” in the church it really bugs me. Its not simply about the money. Its about taste, and what we value. Maybe thats why I really hate bad banners, or poorly created flyers with comic sans fonts.
More and more today I see the Church is becoming like a wedding. Moments of awe,surprise and wonder. Like the Olympic games or World Cup opening celebration the dress of the church will be made by world leading artists and craftsmen. Highly disciplined, relational and creative wedding planners inspired by God will appear. In Exodus 36 it describes a particular artists to whom the Lord gave skill and ability to decorate the brides dress.
1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”
Craftsmanship is a reflection of the beauty and goodness of God. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. In the same way it is the goodness of lovers that lead them into a covenant agreement. Most people know their lives are empty they just don’t see God as an answer. I believe when people see the true nature of God they will flock in the millions and serve him wholeheartedly as Christ first loved us.
I see that after the ceremony and the reverence of covenant agreement the reception will then continue. The reception entails a giant banquet. Electric parties will gather people from all walks of life. The book of Esther really shows how God uses our gifts to stand up for the poor, to protect the vulnerable. It is also a book with 10 banquets in it.
The club scene is shadow of a wedding reception. Instead of alcohol drugs and lust, the Holy Spirit will bring such freedom of his presence, and love. The Father Son and Holy Spirit relate in a dance. The best wine for last.
Safety and celebration from the fathers heart not lust and defilement from an abusive father. Entertainment as celebrations of humanity not on display as objects. A fashion industry dancing in front of father figures who cherish them rather then those who lovelessly critique. A visual expression of what is overflowing form our heart.
Many people get the “Whore of Babylon” and “Bride of Christ” mixed up. They label lights, music, film, dancing and every creative expression of beauty a sensual shallow force. I believe what we perceive with our senses is not inherently evil. It is the union of the sensory with the unseen that is most important. It is time for a different spirit to be represented.
The “Whore of Babylon” is self centred, and manipulative. The “Bride of Christ” represents a living breathing body that has a heart of gold but also captivates the heart of onlookers with the purest sense of love, sacrifice and commitment.
The Bride doesn’t become a bride because of a nice idea or because she wants a beautiful moment. It is a life long covenant, it represents total surrender, yet brings total security. It is a weighty matter that should not crush us but be given back to the groom as we celebrate him as he carry such a commitment. This inspires me to produce and release fresh creativity the world has never seen much like when the Queen of Sheba visited Solomons temple.
1 Kings 10:4
When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at[a] the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.