It is wedding season so to speak, and I have been a busy photographer. I always enjoy shooting a wedding, although it can get crazy at times. I love photographing the moments in between poses that really capture the true sense of the day. I love to see the father-of-the-bride grab his weeping wife’s hand as the vows are recited between their daughter and future son-in-law. I love the prayer on behalf of the couple asking for blessings and guidance, and I enjoy the mischief the flower girl and ring-barer get into while patiently waiting for the wedding ceremony to end. Among all of these things though, my very favorite part is when the father gives his daughter away. I believe this is the most important part. It symbolizes a new path, a new life, and a fresh start. It whispers a sense of leaving the old self behind, and dedicating it to another, dedicating it so strongly that the previous relationship should be left behind, and be but a memory of where you once were.
This moment in time reminds me of when we, as Christians, dedicate ourselves to the Lord through baptism, and become joined with him as his bride adorned in white.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV)
When a father gives his daughter’s hand into the one who will be her husband, this change takes place. She, the bride leaves her former life, and dedicates it to her husband. Just as we, leave our former life, and dedicate it to the Lord. The husband is to love his wife, and through his care and protection, keep her pure and unblemished from the world that surrounds their marriage. In the same way, Christ accepts our hand, and loves us as well. He places us under his wing, under his sacrifice, and presents us holy unto the Lord God.
The moment the bride is given away also reminds me of the passage stated later on in Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 31,
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
For some, this is a difficult thing. The bride and/or the groom may be so attached to their parents, that this imperative separation never takes place. Unfortunately, if the bonds between child and parent are still running deeper than the bonds in the child’s marriage, the marriage is in dire risk of failure. God commands that we, as a married couple, are to cut the delicate ties between our parents and us and create an even stronger bond with our mates. In the same way, when we become a bride of Christ, we are to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:22) Our souls before Christ were blemished and impure, and that former lifestyle has no room in our new bond with our Savior. Just as the bride and groom decide to leave their parents as they join together, we too, must do the same when it comes to our new walk with Christ.
Weddings are such and awesome parallel to our union with Christ. Paul calls this union between us and Christ the “great mystery”, and beautifully paints this picture of a bride and a groom joining together in Ephesians 5. Witnessing this union several times a year constantly reminds me of the vow I made to Christ, as well as the vow I made to my husband. We should all take the time to reflect on when we became a bride of Christ, and meditate on the promise of a new life that we made with him. Are we still presenting ourselves holy and without blemish? Are we cleaving to our Lord and keeping our former lusts out of the union? Are we still submitting to his will and his protection? I encourage each of us today to dwell on these things as we continue on in our very special relationship with our Lord and Savior.