I was just asked to perform a wedding for some friends of mine. Believe it or not, it is one of the many convenient services offered by Average Joe. I've officiated many weddings. (sounds like a sporting event, huh?) This is part of what someone in my profession is often asked to do.
And just for the record, I've never seen an ugly bride. Now I've seen some rather "plain" people show up for rehearsals, (Okay, I know...which is Average Joe? Pot or kettle?) but never an ugly bride. There is just something about the white dress, the sappy music, and the gravity of the event that creates a unique mixture that can transform the most ordinary young woman into a walking work of art.
However, in view of this, there is another fact of which I am absolutely certain. When the bride begins her journey down the aisle, there is nobody in the room who sees this woman the way her groom does. Oh, we can appreciate her beauty or notice her transformation from the ordinary to the extraordinary, but only a groom knows the overwhelming joy of seeing his bride from the heart.
Now, if you are waiting for one of my sloppy stories that is both graphic and sentimental, you're out of luck. I am simply making a point about perspective and the ability to truly "see" and drink in what is rare and exquisite. I've always found it interesting that the Kingdom of God is called the "bride of Christ." But in view of this, I kind of get it...
... Jesus said to Nicodemus, "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (italics mine)
In other words, "Nicodemus, you can't see my Bride as I see Her. You do not possess the heart to do so. So, let me renew your life by giving you a heart that's fit to see the beauty of my Bride, so that you'll love her too."
The Bride of Jesus, the church, is too beautiful to be seen by the ordinary and uninspired. You see, these people see His Bride as just another woman who is out to rob them of their strength, time, and money. They see her as a nagging taskmaster who seeks to trap them in a relationship that is one-sided and unrealistic.
And the reason they can't see her beauty is because they can't see her with their hearts. His Bride has to be seen from the perspective of a heart that has been reprieved by the Father, reclaimed by the Son, and renewed by the Spirit.
Rebirth must take place before we can SEE the kingdom as does our Lord. We can only see the Bride in all her glory when we can see her through a heart like that of Jesus, her bridegroom.
And the only way we can have a heart like this is through the renewal that comes by being born again.