“There were bells on the hill,
But I never heard them ringing;
No, I never heard them at all
‘Til there was you.
There were birds in the sky,
But I never saw them winging;
No, I never saw them at all
‘Til there was you.”
I love this song. It’s just the sort of song I feel like listening to straight after a wedding. It’s a love song, but the sort of love song that’s best when you make it about God; otherwise, it can be a bit idolatrous (and even slightly creepy, I think) when you make it apply to anyone else.
What a difference, to think how much more beautiful things like birds and roses and meadows are now that you can see and delight in seeing anything of God’s character in them, compared to what you saw when the scales still covered your unconverted eyes. It makes you wonder if you ever saw them at all.
Today, during the wedding breakfast (once the emotion of the marriage ceremony was no longer overwhelming, and the Biblical symbolism of everything had ceased to be made explicit in the wake of the party), I appreciated the difference it makes to see Christ and the church in the post-service celebrations.When people in their revelling leave all head space for Biblical parallels and symbolism back at church with the ceremony, they miss out on seeing something wonderful. Although regarded as ‘packaging’ to the main event like a sort of side-show, the wedding breakfast is beautifully meaningful when you behold Christ in it. To see what seat you have been assigned, and in what company, and to find your name on the name card, all planned and prepared for you before you’d arrived… (what place will the Father have assigned me in the New Jerusalem? Will it matter, as long as I can have the honour of dining at the marriage feast of the Bride and Groom?) To stand and applaud bride and groom as they enter and take their places at the head table… (what will the applause be like when Christ and his church take their places?) To be treated to platefuls of delicious, fine food… (what will we eat when God treats us at the marriage feast of the Lamb?) To be served wine by uniformed waiters… (will it be the angels who wait on us, or will we wait on each other?).
As I sat waiting, and munching, and digesting, by the grace of God I was able to marvel at these things. I saw foreshadows of the marriage feast of Christ in that meal, and Christ made the meal all the more wonderful to me. What a privilege to be there, and to have eyes unblinded as to able to see the things of God at that event, and to have that beauty to delight in. What a joy. I cannot say whether the event made the promises of Christ more real to me, or whether the promises of Christ made the event more real to me.
“And there was music, and there were wonderful roses
– they tell me –
In sweet, fragrant meadows of dawn and dew:
There was love all around,
But I never heard it singing.
No, I never heard it at all
‘Til there was you.”