I had the absolute pleasure to attend my brother-in-law’s wedding this weekend in Nashville. He married a lovely woman and one-half of my immediate family was in the wedding party. My man was best man (I agree!) and my older daughter was a flower girl.
One of the unexpected treats of the weekend (and there were many) was the wedding location, the glorious Covenant Presbyterian Church. I believe it was built last year, but it is in a majestic Neo-Gothic style that eerily resembled our dear Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, GA where we were members for six years before we moved to Colorado. Walking into Covenant gave me Redeemer flashbacks, so I was emotional. Then, I was emotional for all the reasons one is at a wedding. Then, the pastor’s homily was, hands down, the best wedding homily ever. Add to that my sheer joy at G. and E. finding each other and joining their lives together before God…well, I was a wee bit of an emotional fluff ball.
Did I mention the amazing scent of gorgeous flowers bathing the church? It was heaven.
Sitting there, wearing my wedding fancery, I turned to reading the wedding program while listening to the prelude. On the back cover, the couple had chosen this verse: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)
I was struck by the thought of being presented to my Savior without fault and with great joy. I read those words like I had never seen them before as I waited eagerly for my new almost sister-in-law to make her way down the aisle. The entire church, robed in flowers, candles and gleaming wood waited. The congregation, finely dressed and perfumed, waited. The wedding party stood at the ready, waiting. We all waited.
Soon enough, the organ trilled and we all stood. Expectantly. Faces turned toward that most special of creatures: the beautiful bride. I noticed the people around me glanced back to see my brother-in-law’s face as he saw his bride for the first time. E. was presented with great joy.
Sometimes, the splendor of heaven reaches out and touches us for just a perfect moment. At times like this weekend in a church far from home, I felt as if the veil dropped between me and Jesus. It was a slight dip in the curtain between Now and Then, but it was enough. It is enough.
We just won’t walk into Heaven. We just won’t hop off a bus and wander around until we bump into Jesus. We will be presented blameless–and get this–with His great joy.