“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:6c-8).
As a young woman preparing for her wedding day, I had butterflies in my stomach, giddy with anticipation about becoming one with the man God had placed in my path. My betrothed husband, Jody, had lovingly cared for me, staying by my side through Dad’s first heart attack and nurturing me in a godly way.
For months I planned and organized. I found a backup minister in case my father got too tired to finish the ceremony. I cleaned Mom’s dress, arranged for a family member to fix my hair and make-up, and found just the right accessories to complement the dress. I was ready for my special day.
Remembering those preparations makes me wonder: Are we as a church adorned and ready for our Lord’s second coming?
In Matthew 22, Jesus relates the parable of the wedding banquet. A king invites guests to his son’s wedding. When the king finds a guest who isn’t adorned in wedding garments, he orders the man to be thrown out.
These stories are not unlike what happens in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus spends years courting and wooing us, lovingly caring for us, making us giddy with anticipation for His second coming. God nurtures us, supplying our every need — and even some of our wants. Jesus welcomes us, brothers and sisters, laughing with delight when we come to Him. So what are we doing to prepare ourselves for His return?
Revelation 19:8 tells us what to do: be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright.” The last part of this verse defines fine linen as the “righteous acts of the saints.” Righteous means acting in accord with divine or moral law.
Though it can be challenging to act according to divine or moral law, it’s time to take our church’s temperature concerning righteous acts. Are we reaching out to our communities with clothes, food, and other needed supplies and encouraging our youth to do the same? Are we working side by side, cleaning up schools, providing free babysitting for parents who need a break? Are we resolving conflicts in the church biblically, instead of venting to our best friend about it and spreading gossip?
These and similar tough questions may not be answered overnight, but they should be openly and reverently addressed as we anticipate becoming one with our Groom. Revelation 21:2, 3 describes that union:
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
There’s a picture of my daddy walking me down the aisle at my wedding. In it he is somber, pensive, and a bit sad. I, however, have the purest, most joyously serene smile — solely focused on my bridegroom.
Are we as a church adorned as a bride today? Do we have our bright, clean linens on, focused on our Bridegroom? Let’s make sure we’re ready for that special day.