I keep being brought back to Ephesians 3:14-19:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Here is where it showed up yesterday; I attended the wedding of my friends Rachel and Taylor. I didn’t just attend, I was also the photographer. This pertains to the story at hand in that I had a very unique view of the ceremony. A normal guest at a wedding sits in a seat and sees the whole thing from one vantage point. As the photographer I got all up in that ceremony. I was behind the bridesmaids, standing in the aisle, crouching, getting on my tippy toe (not easy since I have a healing sprain on one ankle and was wearing a walking cast). I pretended I was invisible (and tried my best to move quietly and smoothly) and even managed to creep behind the officiant and the bridal couple in the middle of the vows (I needed to see the bride’s face!!). This alone makes me want to photograph more weddings. Can you imagine if all the guests got up and just wandered around to see every angle at a wedding?!
But that’s only on the way to what I mean to say….
So because I was creeping around for every angle I saw something beautiful that I would not have noticed as a regular guest. The couple had a time of communion. The table with the bread and wine (juice?) sat behind where the bridesmaids stood, so the bridesmaids all stepped a few inches forward to let the couple between them and the table and they had their communion time shielded from sight by the bridesmaids. I saw them, of course because I was quietly documenting their special time together with Jesus.
Then the immediate families of both came up to pray over the couple.
The love in that huddle of people was palpable. I was immediately moved by that, but then, as I scanned for ways to frame the moment I noticed their proximity to the communion table. It was now totally obscured from
no images were foundview for the audience by the huge group hug, but for me it was in the foreground. The surpassing love of Jesus represented by the bread and wine and its impact represented by the people. Can you see it? Without Him we are awkward and isolated, separated from intimate relationships because of our own brokenness. With him we are brought together, undone and rebuilt to be his very home.
His very home.
I hear people talk about Jesus’ blood tempering a divine wrath against humanity, but what I see with my eyes (in the Bible and in the world) is a tender, relentlessly loving God doing exactly what it takes to be with his beloved. We are his beloved. This is what it looks like to know the love that surpasses knowledge (!). This is how we are filled with the fulness of God.
I tremble to record a theology. Not because I shouldn’t try but because I feel like I barely grasp these realities of our God and His purposes. What I know of him is that he wants to dwell with man. What I know of us is that we echo his longing and often fail to seek him out to fulfill this.
Beloved may we know his love more and more. May we freely give this love to each other in committed community. May I, oh God, lose this cloak of selfish comfort and step forward to embrace your people – every weird, beautiful one.