My Dear “Kindred Spirit,”
I was driving home from work, flipping through the preset stations on my radio.
Country station 1: Miranda Lambert. Nope.
Country station 2: Commercials. Eh… No.
Country station 3: “If I die young…” God no! I don’t have anything against dying young, but I can’t stand that song!
Pop station 1: Taylor Swift’s latest drama set to “music.” No.
Pop station 2: Justin Bieber. Hell no.
Pop station 3: Lord knows who you are, but I sure as heck ain’t listening to you! Have a nice life!
I go back and start flipping through them again, on the odd chance that one of the songs has changed in the last 3 seconds. Of course not.
“C’mon, give me something I can listen to! Why can’t you play my “guilty pleasure” trash instead of the “my ears are bleeding!” trash! I’m really not that picky about my trash, so give me something I can stomach!”
“Radio, I’m telling you, give me something good to listen to! Don’t make me do it!”
I flip through the presets for the third time in 10 seconds.
“Come on… Please don’t make me do this! Please?”
The radio made me do it.
I switched to the Christian station.
Ok now! Hold on, hold on. Before you burn me at the stake just let me ‘splain, ok?
I don’t have anything against Christian music. I listen to it sometimes. In fact, I even have a playlist with all of about 10 contemporary Christian songs on it that I actually enjoy.
But there’s only so much of it I can stomach! Many of the songs have great messages, but they all sound the same. I can walk into one of your newfangled churches (the ones with rock bands instead of pipe organs), and sing every note of the contemporary Christian songs y’all are using, and that I have never heard before, without missing a beat. Oh, sure. I might end up harmonizing a note or two without intending to – going to the 3rd of the chord when y’all go to the 5th, moving up instead of down or down instead of up. But overall I can sing the whole damn thing without missing a beat, without ever having heard it before.
Face it, contemporary Christian artists. Y’all just don’t have very original harmonic progressions in your music.
Anyway, back to my story.
So I switch to the contemporary Christian station, and a popular song; “Even so Come” by Chris Tomlin happens to be playing.
Inwardly I roll my eyes. Well, probably outwardly too, come to think of it.
The first time I heard that song I laughed in my radio’s face about it, simply because of one little line in the song:
“Like a bride, waiting for her groom/we’ll be a church ready for you.”
Since when was the church ready for Christ’s return??
Oh, I know, I know. Of course we desire Christ’s return, but in my mind desiring something is not the same as being ready for it. Readiness, in my mind at least, indicates some form of preparation for the event. Some change in habit, effort put forward to prepare things, something usually has to be done to be ready for an event.
I desire a road trip back to NY to see my family and friends. I look forward to such an event. But am I ready for it? No! I’d have to make arrangements with my work, clear the time in my schedule, pack and prepare for such a trip. Then I would be ready for it.
So the first thought that enters my brain when I hear the line “We’ll be a church ready for you” is “that’s preposterous! The church is not ready, and probably never will be ready for Christ’s return!”
But then I got to thinking. (I must have been bored or something, to be analyzing one line from a song like this…)
The church will never be ready for Christ’s return. We’ll never have our act together enough, we’ll never be fully prepared as the bride of Christ to welcome his return.
But he will come back anyway.
Now, we could get to arguing and talking about whether we should be ready, and how we should be preparing for his return, and how much we should be preparing for his return… But that’s not where I want to go with this.
Because the reality is that we are human beings and we will never be fully prepared to receive Christ.
And God knows that. And I don’t think he minds.
My brother is really great at seeing and explaining all the symbolism between a Godly marriage on earth, and how the relationship should be between Christ and the church, and I love hearing about and seeing all the symbolism and connections and conversing about “how it should work.”
In a Godly marriage, the husband loves the wife unconditionally, just as Christ loves the church. He pursues her, protects her, and offers himself and his strength for her benefit.
In return, the wife follows where the husband leads. She trusts him, even when she’s uncertain, and lets him be the leader.
Of course since we’re human, marriage is not a perfect reflection of how Christ actually treats the church, but it can be beautifully symbolic.
So here’s what I got to thinking: We are never ready to get married. Oh, we talk about being “ready” as single people, and of course there are people who are more ready than others to be married, but we’re never fully prepared to be tied to someone else for the rest of our lives.
But we do it anyway, and a very good thing it is too. God designed us, and marriage, in such a way that he knew it’s something we could never be fully prepared for, and yet would be a wonderful thing for us to try to prepare ourselves for, to look forward to and desire.
Just like the church will never be fully prepared for Christ’s return, and he knows that, but also knows that it is still a beautiful thing for us to try to prepare ourselves for anyway, to look forward to and desire.
Marriage is a good thing, Christ’s return will be a wonderful thing, we will never be fully prepared for either, but that’s ok. They’re still both great things to look forward to and desire.
And I’m kinda proud of myself for being good enough at rambling that I was able to turn that one little thought into a whole long blog post.