The Brawling Bride

Rev. J.D. Tompkins

In a parable she entitles “A Brawling Bride,” Karen Mains paints a
vivid scene, describing a suspenseful moment in a wedding ceremony. Down front stands the groom in a spotless tuxedo – handsome, smiling, full of anticipation, shoes shined, every hair in place, anxiously awaiting the presence of his bride. All attendants are in place, looking joyful and attractive. The magical moment finally arrives as the pipe organ reaches full crescendo and the stately wedding march begins.

Everyone rises and looks toward the door for their first glimpse of
bride. Suddenly there is a horrified gasp. The wedding party is
shocked. The groom stares in embarrassed disbelief. Instead of a
lovely woman dressed in elegant white, smiling behind a lace veil, the bride is limping down the aisle. Her dress is soiled and torn. Her leg seems twisted. Ugly cuts and bruises cover her bare arms. Her nose is bleeding, one eye is purple and swollen, and her hair is

“Does not this handsome groom deserve better than this?” asks the
author. And then the clincher “Alas, His bride, THE CHURCH, has been fighting again!”Calling them (and us) “the church”, the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians “Christ..loved the church and gave Himself up for her … to make her holy and clean … so that He could give Himself a glorious church without a single spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, being holy and without a single fault (Ephesians 5:25-27) NASB/TLB

Can you imagine what the wedding pictures would look like if Christ claimed His bride, the Church, today. Try to imagine Him standing next to His brawling Bride. It is one thing for us to survive the blows of a world that is hostile to the things of Christ, but to be in disharmony with one another, fighting and arguing amongst ourselves unthinkable.

Puritan Thomas Brookes once penned these words: “For wolves to worry lambs is no wonder, but for lambs to worry one another, this is unnatural and monstrous. Unthinkable and unnatural though it may seem, the Bride has been brawling for centuries. We get along for a while and then we’re back at one anothers throats. After a bit we make up, walk in wonderful harmony for a few days, then we turn on one another. We can switch from friend to fiend In a matter of moments.

In a ‘Peanuts’ cartoon, Lucy says to Snoopy: “There are times when you really bug me, but I must admit there are also times when I feel like giving you a big hug.”

Snoopy replies: “That’s the way I am…huggable and buggable! “How about you?

The above article is excerpted from Laugh Again, Charles Swindoll,
1991, Word.

Reprinted from Pentecostal Messenger, April 1993

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