The first time I read this Psalm I wondered, “Why is this here?” Why would a wedding hymn about an unnamed king be included in the Book of Psalms? How can I relate to a psalm about a royal wedding?
The Word Biblical Commentary helped me by pointing to C. S. Lewis’ view of “second meanings in the psalms.” While the Psalm celebrates a royal wedding, there may be another reading that I miss by only looking at the surface or dismissing the psalm after reading it once.
Drilling Down to Meaning
Multiple readings of a scripture can lead to deeper understandings. As we continue ‘drilling down’ in our reading, we discover treasures we miss on single readings. What could a second reading be?
Eusebius living in the third century and the first church historian believed verses 6-7 referred to Christ. The Preacher’s Commentary Series suggest viewing the bride as the church. The New Testament refers to the church as the “bride of Christ.” Maybe we can see this royal wedding as a union of Christ and his church.
Perhaps find a “second reading” of this psalm as Jesus and his bride, the royal wedding. How can I relate this psalm to my life? I’m not Jesus, but I am part of the church, the bride of Christ.
Brides and Grooms
When I got married, I admit, my bride was more prepared than I was. In my times officiating weddings, I’ve learned I’m not unique. Brides and grooms approach weddings differently. While my observations may be gross generalities, in my experience some things are the same whether the couple spends alot of money for the wedding, or not much at all. The bride spends hours getting ready. The groom, not so much.
I have yet to perform a wedding where the groom and his crew arrive hours before so they can get ready together. It seems the groom gets up, takes a shower, gets dressed, and them comes to the church. Then the guys all hang out while the women continue to get ready.
I’m Getting Married. So Are You!
In similar fashion the church as the bride of Christ is getting ready to be united with her groom; Christ. I forget that. As part of the church, I am to get getting ready to be united with Jesus. We are called to get ready and be ready.
John writes in 1 John 3:2 that when Jesus is revealed we will be like him. What a promise! John continues in verse 3 saying, “And all those who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
Purity of Heart
The desert fathers believed the goal of our faith and life was purity of heart. How does the church get ready for their wedding? By purifying herself.
In many ways, we have lost that sense. We have forgotten we are the bride of Christ and our time here on earth is time when we get ready for him.
The Good News: God, through Jesus, purifies his bride. We are purified as we grow deeper in Jesus’ purifying love. As we embrace the one who loves us most, we are transformed; we become like him. We find our love deepening, not just for him, but for others as well. Our love is purified.
What does my “second reading” leave me with? Some questions:
What does it mean for me as the bride of Christ to be ready for Jesus? Is my goal purity of heart? Am I allowing Jesus to purify me?