“… let the bride leave her huppah.” Joel 2:16
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Rev. 19:7-8
Jewish wedding ceremonies are typically conducted under a marriage canopy, (“chuppah/huppah”: covering/protection), often consisting of a prayer shawl, supported by four poles – a reminder of God’s tender overarching protection.
Open on all sides, the huppah is said to symbolise the hospitality of Abraham, who, according to Jewish tradition, had four entrances around his tent to make visitors feel welcome from whatever direction they might come. The huppah also signifies the legal conclusion of the marriage process, which began with the betrothal.
“His bride is making herself ready!” What a glorious pursuit for every community of believers! “I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Is. 61:10.
In the midst of upheaval all around, His invitation stands unchanging: Come together under My covering. Keep your eyes on Me. Take direction from My word. “Great peace have those who love My law, and nothing can make them stumble!” Don’t be afraid, it’s Me at work in you both to will and to do what is pleasing to Me: your marriage preparation. In every circumstance that befalls you individually, I am preparing you to fit together as My bride! “Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near!” Phil. 4:4-5
How welcoming am I to those within my huppah? How gentle towards those from other huppahs in the household of the faith? How compassionate, unjudgmental and “Way, Truth and Life”-offering to those coming from despised directions? In our fractured-bride condition in this little island, can I pray specifically and consistently for those outside my little circle of trust – that our One Father “according to the riches of His glory may grant [them] to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith, so that [they], rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend, together with all the saints, the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that [they] may be filled to all the fulness of God”?
O Father, our Father, O Lord our God in the midst of us, mighty to save, please answer the prayer of Your Son our Bridegroom that we may be perfectly, world-visibly one, You in Him and He in us, that He may see the fruit of the travail of His soul, as You sing over us for joy at His joy fulfilled in us! Help us, as we love You as our Father, to discern by Your Spirit and fervently love all who are born of You, whatever the colour of their huppah, or whether they have nowhere to lay their heads. Awaken in us, in all of our cauterised body segments, the pain of incompleteness, the deep awareness of our need for each other, the longing for the oneness Jesus prayed for us, that we may come as a bride together to the place He has been preparing for us. In the Name of Christ Your Son and by the Power of Your Holy Spirit, Amen!