Sunday, May 31, 2009
The Marriage Between One Evangelical and Another Evangelical
My cousin got married this weekend. He's 22, a plymouth brethren evangelical Christian and an all around good guy. His new wife shares his faith. He presented the gospel to her when they were in junior high. Ever since her conversion, they've been together. Even through four years of college, these kids didn't stop loving each other. They were married in an assembly church, and couldn't have done it better. So now it's official. As of Friday, May 29, 2009, we welcome another married Christian couple into the family.
There were three, distinct moments in which the gospel was presented to the wedding guests. Two of my uncles, and the groom's grandfather gave the good word. They reminded us that we can have eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. They told us that we could be saved if we trust in him.
Now, it was a great wedding ceremony and reception. I felt nothing but joy for the new couple. It was a happy day, and I do not mean to bring that down in any way. But I just have to say something about giving an altar call while a bride and groom are actually being wed on at that very altar.
I think it's interesting. It's just that I am not so sure about eternal life. I mean, I don't think I really want it. It's a little excessive. By the time I'm 50, I'll probably be pretty tired. To go another 25 years will be more than enough. If somebody wants to keep living for trillions of years, well, I guess I just don't understand that. And I'm not sure if this really works in a wedding setting.
"Till death do we part" is such a beautiful promise. It's totally secular, but even the evangelicals love it. But when they "part" at death, the married people need to realize that this is a permanent departure. It's not temporary. The vow doesn't say "Until death do we part, which will be a brief break until we resume our marriage in heaven once we're both dead." No. Death is the end. And it's beautiful to tell someone that you will love them until you die, because that is true devotion.
And yet, evangelicals spread the gospel at their own weddings. In the midst of celebrating their soulmate, they set their eyes upon eternity. It's an interesting clash. Marriage isn't about eternity. Marriage is about life on earth.
Yet, upon reminiscing with my grandfather about his wife, my grandma, he reminded me that "we'll see her again." And all of a sudden, the concept of eternity has left both of us. We are concerned with true love. My grandfather loved his wife for 50 years, until death separated them. He is now without her, but his idea of heaven now includes one major ingredient, his spouse.
And I cannot say anything about this. I think that this particular longing for heaven is actually an example of real love. What good is heaven if our true love isn't there? Surely, it wouldn't be heaven at all if we couldn't recognize our spouse.
Heaven is real. We will see our loved ones there when we die. If you don't believe that, go ahead and tell it to the father who lost his little daughter to gang crossfire. Reason with the mother who is longing to eventually see her son who was killed in Afghanistan. The grandfather whose only remnant of hope lies in his belief that when he dies, he will be reunited with his beloved. Go ahead. Tell them to be rational. Tell them to give up their crutches. Tell them because you know better.
As for me, I will see my grandma when I die. And my wife. I will embrace them. I don't care about eternity, I don't care about evangelism. I just want to love. Love is more important than life anyway. Life ends after a while, love doesn't. My grandpa taught me that.