The Wedding Dress
I was engaged, twitterpated, and excited beyond words! The very next day I was at the bridal salon trying on dresses.
With a wedding budget of only $1000.00 it was soon decided that my mother would make my dress. Being Canadian, the fashion trends were highly influenced by the British Royal family. I picked a sewing pattern fashioned off of Duchess Sarah Ferguson’s dress.
My mother was, and still is, an excellent seamstress but my father was the designer. My parents love for me demanded that my dress be perfect. The neckline was changed to a sweetheart one and hand beaded lace cutouts were added to the sleeves. Instead of a zipper closure, a long row of fabric covered buttons graced the back. The original pattern had a detachable train with a drape, however; at my request the design was changed so the train became an extension to the dress. I have pictures of Dad kneeling on the living room floor laying out pieces of fabric and lace. Dad patiently stood by my mother as she sewed, deciphering the pattern and reassuring her that she could do it. My dress was way more valuable than the most expensive gown in all the stores—you can’t put a price on love!
At last it was the day of my wedding! My mother arrived at the church hours ahead of me so she could iron my dress. Finally it was time for me to put it on. I saw the long row of fabric buttons and considered how long it would take to fasten them all into place—then I looked at the clock. There was NO time to put on my dress, I would have to wear the clothes I had on. I knew everyone would understand, after all the wedding was about love, not a dress wasn’t it?
STOP! Now the last sentence just got your attention didn’t it? Of course that isn’t what happened! My mother lovingly helped me into my dress and slipped each button into its proper loop.
The Bible often mentions a metaphor of clothing with righteousness or in simpler terms purity of heart. Isaiah 61:10 KJV says “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness [purity] as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.“
And Revelation 3:5 “All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.”
When talking about the clothing provided by Christ it is always referred to as crisp white and wrinkle free. In contrast Isaiah 64:6 says “…When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”
As unthinkable as the alternate climax of my story is, Jesus told a parable with just such an ending. It goes like this: “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited ….”The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited… “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 22:2,3 & 11-13
I can be the “best” christian out there. I can go to church, give to the poor, never lie, cheat or swear, but all this is still considered to be “filthy rags.” Why? Job explains it best “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4
You would never serve a pot of stew in a dirty chamber pot. What if the morning of my wedding I was filthy and stunk because I hadn’t bathed? Would it have been enough just to cover up? No I still would have stank. Jesus wants not to just cover us but to also wash us and make us ready. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26
At last I was ready. Dad proudly walked me down the isle and tearfully gave me away. I took my groom’s arm and continued to the platform. As I had hoped, the train of my dress gracefully flowed down the risers. Dad stepped forward and lovingly arranged my train to be picture perfect. He then sat down beside my mother and squeezed her hand.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 KJV
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 KJV