Sunday, November 24, 2013

And The Bride Wore.....Scars?


The following is an article from "Bread for the Bride" by Cheryl McGrath of Australia.  I rarely post blogs by others on this  High Country Ministry Blog, but I think this one is an exception.  
Keith



Reblog:   And The Bride Wore…Scars?

 
by breadforthebrid          © Cheryl McGrath
Reblogged from Bread for the Bride, April 2012:

Recently I did a Google image search on bride of Christ. The results were interesting. With a few thought-provoking exceptions, the majority of images portrayed a Western bride dressed in long white gown and veil, with awless fair skinned complexion and a radiant smile. Some  sometimes she is shown holding a sword, or depicted from the back looking searchingly towards the skies, at
 Sometimes surrounded by angels. But almost invariably the Bride shown in these images could have stepped straight out of a Hollywood movie.
 
Im not suggesting theres anything inherently wrong with this kind of imagery but it does seem to demonstrate a rather limited, stereotypical idea about what the Bride of Christ should look like, especially among Western Chris  ans. Is this really how we imagine her to be in the eyes of Christ?


 
 
 
 
 
The Bride Ive glimpsed diers somewhat from this comforting Hollywoodversion. For one thing she carries signicant scars on her body. Before someone runs to call the heresy police, yes I know she is unblemished, without wrinkle or spot, and you wont get an argument form me on that point (Ephesians 5:27). However, these words in scripture refer to her character, not her physical beauty (Revelation 21:27).
 
This Bride I see coming up from the wilderness has not emerged from the pages of Vogue or Marie Claire. And it troubles me somewhat that so many Christians hold to this vague celebrity-like idea of her, even unconsciously.
 
The Bride I see is being forged and rened through seasons of character building in what is so often called the wilderness. The wilderness is not a geographical location. The wilderness is a spiritual description of seasons in our lives when we are led by God into emotional experiences of separation, loneliness, hardship and suering.
 
The Bride I see is now beginning to emerge from her long wilderness experience bearing within her the marks of her Bridegroom (Gal. 6:17). This Bride has endured severe  times of testing during which her faithfulness has been stretched to breaking point. She has been learning the ways of the Overcomer. In this process, she has been wounded, often deeply. As a result the scars, or signs, of her warfare and tribulations are visible upon her as witness to the principalities and powers that she is being moulded into the very image of her Lord. Well may they behold and tremble!
 
Please understand these scars I speak about are not open wounds. The Bridegroom, through His shed Blood, has provided for all such contingencies. These scars born by His Bride are signs of past wounds she has suered, but which have had insucient power to permanently disable her. She has refused to allow any root of bitterness to spring forth from such experiences and His grace has enabled her healing.
 
The Bride I see now wears such scars as badges of honour.  She does not hide them, but neither does she exalt them. They simply are part of who she is and who she is becoming. She holds it as a deeply precious thing within her heart that she has been chosen to bear her scars as evidence of her faithful
journey towards the Bridegroom, even as He also eternally wears His scars as evidence of His sacrificial love for her.
 
In the military and social spheres of our natural world we honour those who have come through great battles or performed heroic acts, with ceremonies. We publicly decorate them with medals. We hold them in respect. Why should it be any dierent for the Bride of Christ whose heroic overcoming advancement is being heralded by such a great cloud of Heavenly witnesses

(Hebrews 12:1)?

 

Have you suered such spiritual scarring in your ongoing quest for the Bridegroom? Do not be ashamed of scars that remain, for He isnt. If the experiences that caused them are forging you as an eternal overcomer rather than a perpetual victim, these scars are not blemishes upon your soul. They are your badges of honour, so wear them well, but do not dwell on them.

 

Can you see her a little bit more clearly now, this Bride emerging from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved? Is she not a lot like Him?

 
Hast thou no scar?

No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand? I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;

I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

 
Hast thou no wound?

Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent

Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent

By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

 
No wound? No scar?

Yet, as the Master shall the servant be, And pierced are the feet that follow Me.

But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

 
Poem by Amy Carmichael

 

© Cheryl McGrath,  Bread for the Bride, 2012   Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any  Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet

blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included.     To permanently display an article on any static website please contact m e for permission.