If it's true that modern Christianity has made us all bridesmaids, never brides, then it is, in part, because we have taken the Great Commission seriously. It is also in part because we want to grow our congregations; we judge ourselves, as the world judges us, by our numbers. But it is also because we don't want our Christianity to be all about us.
It's supposed to be about God. Isn't it? If it's supposed to be about God, then there is no room for our belovedness.
We want our faith to be a stark contrast to this fallen world, a world that is all about me, me, me. So we don't let our Christianity talk about us; we spend our whole lives talking about our Christianity, as though it's something we have instead of something we are.
And we come up with all of these good, wonderful, amazing things to say about God, but we never experience them. That would be too dangerous. That would be too close to making our religion self-serving, wouldn't it?
Do you know how many Christians - God-fearing, Bible-reading, faithful-praying, church-attending, community-serving, praise-and-worship Christians - have not once felt like God loves them? Truly loves them?
The numbers are astounding, and this is a faith that claims its God is love.
It's because they've been told that if their faith is about how much God loves them, then they're just egotists. They're just in it to make themselves feel better. They don't really love God; they just love that He loves them, so they're taking advantage of His good nature. The accusations go on and on and on because we're all so terribly afraid that if we admit that God loves us, really loves us, then maybe we're making God in our image after all.
It's because we've been told that God's highest aim for us is not that we should not think of ourselves too highly (as His word says), but that we should not think of ourselves at all. We should not think about whether or not we are beautiful. We should not think about whether or not we are gifted. We should not think about whether or not we are lovely. We should not think about whether or not we are beloved. We should not think about ourselves one way or the other, for we should constantly be thinking of God and of His purposes and His mission and His will.
And so we have become perpetual bridesmaids in ugly church dresses, always making all of the arrangements and writing the speeches and talking about a God that, quite honestly, many of us have never experienced because for that one brief second when we were the bride, for that one moment when the church came alongside us to celebrate our beauty, we blinked, and as soon as we were brought in, we were pushed aside to make room for the next bride, the next beauty, the next one who needed to know that God is love, all while being gently reminded that it's not about us.
It's about God.
There's just one problem with that. (Okay, more than one problem, but one very big problem.) Do you see it?