I have come with one purpose
To capture for myself a bride
By my life she is lovely
By my death she’s justified
I have always been her husband
Though many lovers she has known
So with water I will wash her
And by my word alone
So when you hear the sound of the water
You will know you’re not alone
’cause I haven’t come for only you
But for my people to pursue
You cannot care for me with no regard for her
If you love me you will love the church
I have long pursued her
As a harlot and a whore
But she will feast upon me
She will drink and thirst no more
So when you taste my flesh and my blood
You will know you’re not alone
There is none that can replace her
Though there are many who will try
And though some may be her bridesmaids
They can never be my bride
There is no shortage of material stacked against the church in today’s mud-slinging battle. My generation is leaving the bride of Christ in swarms for a myriad of reasons, many of them sadly understandable.
He purchased His bride with His own blood.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood.” Acts 20:28.
She is a mess, this bride of Christ, but she is beautiful, not in her own rite, but because Christ has set His eyes of affection on her. Revelation 19 speaks to the marriage supper of the Lamb, the ultimate celebration of His saving and promised love.
My husband and I fall into an interesting place with our work and relationship with the church. We work for a parachurch Christian organization to share the good news of Jesus and to disciple international students. God used this same organization to root and form our walks with Him when we were in college, and we are forever transformed and grateful. We have also belonged to our home church for ten years, where we grow and serve and live in community.
This parachurch organization, the bridesmaid of Christ, so to speak, has a unique role in God’s redemptive plan. I have a closet full of bridesmaid dresses (each telling a tale of trends come and gone), and it is a blast to stand with my friends to serve, encourage, and celebrate their marriages! I love bridesmaids so much that I had ten of my own! It is the joy of these “bridesmaids” of Christ, in my opinion, to serve, build up, strengthen, and participate in the mission of the bride, and ultimately share in the highest purpose of glorifying God.
Our world has been influenced in countless ways by institutions raised up to share in the purpose of the church. To link arms in the mission of the kingdom of God. The local soup kitchen that fills bellies in Jesus’ name, Christian education institutions, the publishing house that provides rich Bible study resources, worship music publishers, missions agencies that equip and send His workers to the ends of the earth, child sponsorship programs that lift the burden of poverty, even Bible translation teams that labor to preserve the word of God and make it accessible to the world? All are entities that are not the church, yet working in partnership to accomplish the goal of God’s glory to the world. They are used by God in innumerable ways, yet not replacing the bride of Christ herself.
Friends, if you’ve been impacted by these bodies like I have, praise God for this grace! These organizations can play a role in building up and serving alongside the church, and ultimately point to the beauty of Christ Himself.