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Redemption -The Forgotten Love Story

A good friend of mine invited me to lunch yesterday.  After the customary chit-chat on the latest family and job happenings, my friend said he had a question for me.  He whipped out his phone and opened his bible app and began to search for a verse.  I watched him intently as he voraciously searched for the chapter and verse he had read from his morning devotion.  After a few moments of feverish thumb searching without success,  he muttered under his breath "Psalm 22" as his eyes frantically tried to keep pace with the scrolling pages of his smart phone.   Before he had a chance to utter another word, I abruptly cut in to his stream of consciousness like a "late for work" South Floridian driver during rush hour and exclaimed..."that's about Jesus"....and my friend froze.  He lifted his gaze from the phone, looked straight at me, and said..."I thought so!"  My friend smiled with delight as I explained to him that Psalm 22 is one of the many messianic Psalms found in the Old Testament (OT).  

As we waited for our post meal coffee, I explained to my friend that the reason he was probably unaware of David's Holy Spirit inspired description of the Messiah's agony  was because many Evangelical pastors simply refuse to teach or preach from the OT.  The reasons, I continued, were vast and numerous ranging from the (improper) belief that the OT is no longer relevant to the New Testament (NT) church to outright ignorance of the OT's meta narrative of the redemption story.  I told my friend that he is being robbed of the beauty and instruction found in the OT.

A similar incident happened to me a few weeks ago when I was asked to officiate a wedding for a friend's daughter.  As I was asking the bride-to-be and her fiancé about what they expected from the wedding ceremony, her parents and others chimed in with their thoughts on how the ceremony should be conducted.  Noticing the bride's frustration, I began to discuss the particular segments of the ceremony and the relevance of the associated symbolism. 

"The wedding ceremony is a picture of the greatest love story that has ever been known..."

As I spoke, I noticed that the group had become eerily silent as everyone perched up listening.  I continued.

"The wedding ceremony is a picture of the greatest love story that has ever been known and the wedding party and the guests all point to this great love story."  I paused to see if I still had every one's attention.  "Go on" my friend exhorted.  "Many people know the Christmas story - the story of Christ's incarnation and many people know the story of Christ's passion - His death, burial, and resurrection.  But few know the full story of redemption...which began in eternity." 

At this point, some of the group members had inched up in their seats and were leaning in to hear.  I continued. 

"The story of redemption began when the Father desired to give a gift to His beloved Son.  That gift would be a people He would protect, love, and nurture over time and, at the right time, "in the fullness of time", He would give them to His Son.  This people would be known as a bride and they would be covenantally and mystically united to His Son for all eternity.  The actors of the wedding ceremony all symbolize elements of the eternal reality. For instance, the father giving away the bride symbolizes our heavenly Father giving away His gift of people - the Bride - to His Son.  And, just like an earthly father loves, cares for and protects his little girl, so our heavenly Father loves, cares, and protects His people.  Incidentally, the reason the bride wears a white dress is because it represents the purity and holiness of the people which were made "clean" through the atoning sacrifice of the Son.  The groom represents Jesus - the Son - receiving His bride to be.  The guests or "witnesses" represent the holy angels watching this love story unfold.  Finally, the unity of the bride and groom in holy matrimony represents the indivisible unity which exists between Christ and the Church (John 17, Eph 5).  This is also a picture of the Trinity as God, husband, and bride come together in matrimony and are united to form a Christian home."  

"We've never heard anything like this", exclaimed the bride's father..."that's the ceremony right there...that's what we should speak about during the wedding".  "I agree", the bride said..."yeah, I agree" chimed in the fiancé.  And so, that's how I conducted the wedding ceremony.

As I wrapped up lunch with my friend, I relayed the aforementioned wedding incident to him and he too sat in silence and listened.  Then he said, "you need to write a blog and write all of this on it. Christians need to learn about this - write it!". 

And so, at the behest of my friend, I leave you with this story.


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