Read Ephesians 6:21-24.
“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (vs.24)
It’s not at all the place I would have thought any bride would have picked to visit on her wedding day. But here she was, right here, still in her wedding gown. And what place was this? Moscow’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beside the Kremlin Wall just outside of Red Square.
While enroute to Ukraine on a campaign in 1991, our mission team spent a day in Moscow. We were given the word that we had one hour of “free time” to go wherever we wanted. We looked at each other and all said the same thing, almost in unison – “Red Square!”
It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable hours of my life – seeing the Kremlin, St. Basil’s, etc. – just soaking up the history of the place. However, as we prepared to leave, we came across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The inscription on it read, roughly translated: “Your name is unknown, but your deeds will never be forgotten.” A flame burns at the center of the tomb, a fire that burns day and night, every day of every year; it is never extinguished.
Momentarily a bride in her wedding dress, escorted by her groom, came up to us beside the tomb. Turning to our group’s interpreter I asked, “Why is someone who was just married, here of all places?” He explained that it was a common custom among the [then] Soviet people – it’s what brides do.
Then it hit me. The bride and the tomb has this in common – the sacred pledge of an eternal flame of love and remembrance. Men had laid down their lives to preserve their way of life for those who followed them. Those who followed them remembered them and honored them best by living out their lives honorably, touching the memory of the sacrifice of those before them as they pass the milestones in their lives, such as a wedding.
This is the way it with us as Christians, too. Because of the amazing, costly grace God has poured out on us in Jesus Christ, we have pledged our undying love to him. We, his church, Christ’s bride, ever stand before his empty tomb and, in effect, vow our faithful remembrance and fidelity to him.
Weddings and tombs. Remembrances and promises. Love eternal mingled with faith and hope. This is the stuff of real life. Real life in Christ.
Father in heaven, burn into my heart the price you have paid to love me so through Christ, and so, may I love you with my life without end. Amen.