Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Wedding -- My Favorite of all Literature's Themes

"The world over, stories with happy endings end with weddings. 'They lived happily ever after' is almost invariably preceded by 'They were married.'" Peter Leithart made this statement in his introduction to Heroes of the City of Man and then proceded to question "Why?".

He ended the paragraph with this: "Try to imagine a better happy ending than a wedding. I believe we find imaginative satisfaction in stories that end with weddings because we live in a world that will end with a wedding. The Bible tells the story of history, a story that is mysteriously 'built into' the structure of our minds and practices, so that even writers who resist this story cannot help but leave traces of it - faint and distorted as they may be--on every page."

This was my favorite of our mission conference books. Ellie's headed to South Africa and when this book fell open, we fell in! Niki Daly carried us into Jamela's delightful world through this beautifully illustrated story. I have no idea whether the author knows the greatest story ever told, but she sure imitated some of its wonder with this book!

Jamela's given the responsibility of caring for fabric that her mother purchased for a dress to wear to a special wedding. Jamela can't resist showing it off and while she loved the attention that she recieved, the ruined fabric broke not only her mother's heart but hers as well.

In Jamela's fun parade through town wrapped in the beautiful fabric, a photographer snaps her photo and ends up winning enough money from a photo contest to surprise her and and her mother with new fabric -- and mama shows her love by making a new dress not only for herself, but for Jamela, too.
We've blown it haven't we? We have sinned and ruined our clothes. But God, in His great love, sent one who would buy us new clothes. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law on our behalf. He earned God's favor. And then the Savior turned and took our filthy rags and dresses us (day after day after day) in His perfect ones. One day we will be presented to His Father as a radiant Bride. Clothed in spotless white.

The parallels in this book aren't exact. But they are rich and provided wonderful discussion with the little ones. For decoration, I had picked up some fun, brightly colored strips of fabric. The adult session was running pretty late that night and the gal that was helping me started a game with the restless children by getting them dancing while waving the fabric through the air. Of course! The perfect way to end a celebration.

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV

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