Today my sister said “I do” to the love of her life. (There’s a good chance my next few post might have somthing to do with the wedding, sorry in advance for those who are like “get off it already!”)
I had the priviledge of ushering in those attending as well as my Maw-Maw (Grandmother on my Mom’s side) and my own Mom. It was a great joy to see lots of my old friends, some I grew up with, some I watch grow up, and some who watched me grow up. I felt like I was getting more hugs than the bride and groom – it’s a blessing to be loved. But back to what I was saying… I would sit people and one of the questions I asked (aside from “would you like a fan?” it was stink’n hot!!) was “Bride or groom?” so I could sit them accordingly. Every wonder why? Ever wonder why we separate the witnesses like that? And then have the bride and groom walking between the two? Then when that part’s over we have a reception. These things make my mind hearken back to the whole covenantal theme. Mind if I explain? Good, ’cause I’m gonn’a! =)
Let’s go back “briefly” to Genesis, chapter 15. God makes a covenant with Abraham, and does a VERY significan thing in that He walks the covenant aisle without Abraham (but I won’t talk about that… for now.) Remember what The LORD was walking between? Halves of animals. That’s vital, for those halves had meaning. One of the things represented by them was the covenant curse. What was said at such a ceremony was something to the effect of “If I don’t uphold my covenant promise, my what happened to these animals be my lot!” Now the meaning of The LORD walking through alone takes on more form. Had God permitted Abraham to walk through, Abraham surley would have invoked the curse on himself. But God promised to make of Abraham a great nation, God promised to redeem all nations through Abraham’s Seed. God needed no help from Abraham. Had Abraham gotten involved, had it been contingent upon Abraham keeping some part of the deal, then it would not have come to fruition. He proves that later when he tries to help God out and just creates a problem with Hagar. Then he lies about who his wife is, claiming she is his sister, and “jeopardized” God’s promise by giving a king free reign to sleep with his own wife! God kept the king from doing so, but look at how the man that every Jew aspires to be like, and every Christian stands in awe of, was lacking faith right when it seemed to matter most!
In the covenant ceremony, those halfed animal parts were reminders, helpers if you will, to spur the two parties that walk between them (humanly speaking, as God needs no incentive to keep covenant) of the seriousness of their vow and the curse for breaking it. So all those witnesses present have a responsiblity to help the newly married couple, and encourage them in their covenant keeping toward each other.
I’ve got nothing surprising to share really, other than that one of things the wedding did was take me back to Genesis and see God walking through the halves as He was making a covenant. That a covenant contains precious promises, witnesses, responsibilities, and curses for breaking it.
I will say this in closing, maybe you will see why I am so fascinated with covenants. God gave Adam what theologians call “The Covenant of Works” in the garden. Through Adam’s disobedience, he invoked the curse on all of humanity. But there is another covenant, one that was made among the persons of the Trinity. One where the Father covenanted with The Son to give Him a people, those for whom He would die for. The Son became flesh and was made a curse for men. The very covenantal curse that was on me, He took on Himself. He, Who knew no sin, became sin for me. He ransomed sinners by His death, and The Father is brining those sinners to His Son, Jesus Christ. There will be a day when all creation will witness the Son meeting His bride face to face. We will then enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb – a reception like no other!
Just something that went through my mind today as wedding stuff was taking place – Covenants.