My husband John and I have just packed up our lives in Australia to work as volunteers with the XP Missions Team in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. As we started to pack and prepare ourselves for this great adventure, I asked the Lord to give me a picture of His extreme love.
One of the things I love to do is sit and watch people at airports, shopping centers, markets, or work places. The dynamics of humans interacting with each other is fascinating to me!
A particularly moving place to ‘people watch’ is at a wedding. As the bride prepares to enter the church the music reaches a crescendo. The gathered congregation then stands and all eyes are fixed on the entrance doors where she makes her often nervous entrance to walk down the aisle and meet her groom to take her vows.
At this point, I like to turn and watch the groom. He waits patiently….nervously…to catch a glimpse of the most beautiful woman in the world walking towards him so they can pledge their love to each other before God, family, and friends.
One of the most beautiful public examples of this was when Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark married Mary Donaldson of Australia in 2004. A wonderful day for ‘People Watchers!
Prince Frederik stood resplendent in his military uniform at the front of Copenhagen Cathedral waiting for his Mary to arrive. The music started to swell as Mary and her father started the procession down the long aisle, watched by the crowned heads of Europe. Mary was a vision of loveliness in her traditional wedding gown. Prince Frederik’s eyes started to well with tears as he locked eyes on his most beautiful bride. Their very special day had arrived. Such a beautiful display of love.
As the Bride of Christ, our Savior sees us in the same way. We are clothed in the gown of His righteousness and He stands with eyes filled with love as we make our way closer to him. Such incredible transformational love. Jesus sees the dirty ragged children of the slums, the trafficked and abused women, the addicts, the sick and malnourished of Cambodia all clothed in resplendent finery, that perfect vision of loveliness, washed clean, transformed by His grace, clothed in the righteousness of Christ – His most beautiful Bride.
This is what God’s extreme love looks like.
Sometimes we humans view others much differently. How easy it is to ‘love’ those who are already clean and sanctified, who are similar to us, those who have already been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. My challenge is to see the ‘unlovely’ as Christ sees them, to minister with His love, grace, and mercy regardless of their human condition.
My prayer for week one in Cambodia is to try and see past the poverty, filth, and addictions and to see them as Christ does. Through eyes of extreme love!
Written by: Ruth Bryan
Published on 7/21/2017