Sunday, February 7, 2010

Marriage Supper of the Lamb: I Want to Be There

Since childhood I've been longing to be present at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, that joyous occasion when (at last!) God's children are gathered together to celebrate their eternal redemption from sin and death.

I've pictured myself there; perhaps my imagination is too vivid, but I can see myself there seated amongst prophets and kings, and "the least of these," those the world deemed unworthy of notice, let alone salvation. My bare feet sink into the luxurious grass beneath them (I always imagine that the table at which we are seated is situated in nature's most stunning setting), softer than clouds or an infant's skin. All about me are faces radiant, and not a little baffled by their inclusion in such a celebratory feast. I'm as baffled as they are and yet, isn't it true that every last one of us is also keenly aware of why we are seated at this banqueting table? While we may wonder with awe that we're among the remnant, none of us is ignorant of what it cost our loving Father to extend to us this invitation. Oh, we are not here on our own merits!

To the left of me and to the right is the clink of heavy tableware and the rising murmur of happy voices, surely music to the ears of our Saviour! I glance (a bit shyly) at Mary Magdalene, longing to hear from her lips the story of her personal redemption. And those who were burned at the stake, or beheaded for their faith: how God must love them! To be in their presence would be shamefully humbling if I had brought with me into eternity any of that old self with all her flaws and sinful self-focusing. I close my eyes, right there at the table, as the murmuring all around me swells into something like an anthem of praise. I have never, in my entire existence, felt such a sense of rightness as I am experiencing just now seated at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with those who love Him above all else. My entire life has been a journey in this direction, this destination. I was not created for petty, worldly concerns or the spurious pleasure of trinkets and distractions. This here--all this, as far as my eyes can see, stretched out for miles in either direction--is both the purpose and the journey's end of my existence. But not an end, exactly, except that, Behold, all things are made new!

Off in the distance I spy a slightly familiar face and, suddenly, my heart nearly pounds right out of my chest for joy. Here is the individual who spoke kind words to me when I wanted to end my life. Our time together was short-lived, in fact I can't say we were friends exactly. She was a fellow wayfarer, a pilgrim passing through this world who stopped to administer lovingly to a sister in distress. How often I've thought of her over the years, wishing I could thank her for helping me bear my burdens and stand on my feet again. Our eyes meet as I remember that special something in her expression (a trait which all of God's children seem to have in common), and the smile we share goes deeper than the ugly stain of sin and light years beyond that old worn out planet once known as earth.

Suddenly a song bursts forth somewhere down the table, and we are all caught up in this melodic thanksgiving of praise and worship. All eyes rest on the Saviour's beautiful features as He raises His hands as if to cup in them our treasured praise. Just as suddenly as the song bursts forth, it abruptly ends, for we've one and all seen the nail-scars which are the price of our admittance here today, at this table, surrounded by nothing but Love. Instantly discerning our discomfiture, the Saviour assures us that He's seen of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied.

I want this. I want every last bit of this, and of course the little scenario I've touched on so briefly here is nothing compared to what God has in store for those who love Him! What I can't comprehend are the many pilgrims out there who have no particular longing for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. I can't think they're horrible individuals, or more sinful than I. Perhaps the cares of this world have so weighed them down that they have lost the ability to contemplate a higher world. Perhaps they've forgotten they're only pilgrims passing through, and have attempted to settled into this world as if it were the only one they'll ever know.

Oh, let's not lose sight of the joys to come. Though it is good and right to learn the art of contentment with whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, may we never become complacent and cease desiring that which is to come: world without end.

There's a land that is fairer than day
and by faith we can see it afar.
For the Father waits over the way
to prepare us a dwelling place there!

2 comments :

  1. I think that one of the most beautiful songs that the Christian group Acapella has recorded is Brent Lamb's Wedding Song. If you're not familiar with it, the first link below is their recording of it on YouTube. The second link is to a YouTube video "explaining" the marriage supper of the lamb (not a great video) with the song playing by a female vocalist. I like the second version much better, but I've hunted all over the Internet and haven't been able to find out who the vocalist is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSiZqjrydI8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CQPZtgCGwk

    These are the lyrics:

    Lately I've been thinking as I look all around me
    I see by the signs that we're soon going to be leaving
    The bridegroom is coming to take us all away
    May be tomorrow, but I pray that it's today

    And we will fly away in the twinkling of an eye
    Leaving all our heartaches and telling them all goodbye
    Yes we will fly away when he hears His Father say,
    "Jesus, go and get your bride, today's your wedding day"

    Now when we see the bridegroom in the clouds in the sky
    Will he be telling you hello or telling you goodbye?
    Oh, be sure and be ready to meet Him face to face
    We've got to fight the good fight, we've got to keep our faith

    And we will fly away in the twinkling of an eye
    Leaving all our heartaches and telling them all goodbye
    Yes we will fly away when he hears His Father say,
    "Jesus, go and get your bride, today's your wedding day"
    And we will fly away in the twinkling of an eye
    Leaving all our heartaches and telling them all goodbye
    Yes we will fly away when he hears His Father say,
    "Jesus, go and get your bride, today's your wedding day"

    Sandi Patti's version of We Shall Behold Him describes those moments with such honor and amazement that my tears immediately start flowing even though I've heard her sing it many, many times. The Biblical descriptions of those incredible moments always leave me feeling overwhelmed and asking, "Really God? You mean I get to be there? You're sure you've got the right social security number and zipcode? I really get to be there when all of this good stuff happens?" It's the whole package: the ancient prophecy being fulfilled, witnessing God's power, the incredible privilege of meeting Jesus "face to face"...even hearing that trumpet! I didn't fully understand or embrace the Jesus' gift of salvation until I was 19 years old. It boggles my mind that I will be there ~ the pathetic girl from the abusive dysfuntional family. The tears are starting so I need to go find the tissues...

    ~mary

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  2. Mary,
    Oh I feel the same way: humbled by the enormity of God's grace, nearly stricken dumb by the mere thought of being included in His eternity. I think that none of those who are among His elect will feel as if they deserve to be there!

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Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.