"I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion." — Hosea 2:19
A couple of years ago on a cold, wintry day, the radio station in our town invited couples of all ages to gather in a local park to renew their wedding vows. They asked if I would be willing to lead the renewal ceremony, and then together everyone could celebrate a reception indoors, where it was warm.
Everyone was excited and decked out in their finest. Couples who had been married a year were there, and so were couples who had been married for decades. They wore white dresses and suits, and because the temperature was way below freezing, many of them wore thermal underwear too. The couples repeated vows and smiled and reminded each other of the love at the center of their relationship. And they kissed.
This event celebrated the lasting love of all those couples, and it reminded me of the Lord’s deep, abiding love for his people. We find pictures of that portrayed in many passages of the Bible, like the one in Hosea that we have read today.
There is still a groom deeply in love, and a bride who is preparing for him. The groom has graciously shared his vows with her, and his words are repeated often as the bride reminds herself of the groom’s amazing promises and love. That Groom is Jesus Christ, and his Bride is his church here in the world. As the people of his beloved church, will we be ready when Jesus comes to live with us and give us full life forever?