The True Image

During these forty days, I had the privilege of battling for Proposition 8 in several churches in CA, including my home church, St. Gregory’s Episcopal of Long Beach. Seated before the altar, I observed with new eyes the 40-foot representation of Jesus emerging in stained glass above the cross. His image, composed of thousands of pieces of exquisitely colored glass, blazed like fire as the sun shone through it.

Alone in that church, I encountered the living Christ. His tenderness matched His power. “His robe reached down to his feet, with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white as wool, his eyes like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace…His face was like the sun shining in all of its brilliance.”

“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.”

(Rev. 1:13-16; 19:13)

It filled me with gratitude and awe. There I prayed, a cracked yet receptive bearer of that very image, now subject to Him in His stern splendor. Though I was once subject to gods that drove and derided me, greedy idols who wanted my blood, He won me through His blood so I could participate in the marvel of His design.

I prayed for that design. I asked that its glorious expression in marriage—one man for woman, committed to fidelity and permanence—would shine in this land as powerfully as the stained glass before me. I prayed that we would represent Him well in the land.

I prayed for my bride Annette, that Christ would strengthen me afresh that day to love her well. I considered her beauty and humility, her virtue, and my affections blazed in harmony with the glowing image before me.

I thanked God for the couples who have represented that image beautifully to me: my parents, Mike and Diane Nobrega, Kenn and Joannie Gulliksen, Christopher and Dorothy Greco, Morgan and Karen Davis, Bruce and Jan Babad, Dean and Chrystal Greer, Lloyd and Brenda Rindels, and others whose marital commitments have endured and surpassed any brokenness they have encountered along the way.

I need them; I need that witness of man for woman and woman for man. Our land needs that witness. Fatherless children need that witness. Those under the sway of sensual, greedy idols need that witness. The state does well to uphold that truth by insisting marriage retain its original meaning: man for woman, woman for man, pledged to permanence and fidelity. For the sake of their children. For the good of all.

I prayed that God would wake up the saints in CA to honor marriage by refusing its redefinition. Honor Marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

And I prayed: ‘Rouse us in this hour. Raise up a people who stand for righteousness in the land, who take seriously how You have chosen to manifest Yourself on earth, a people who honor marriage for the good of all.

Awaken the saints to stand for marriage and so restrain wickedness and judgment in the land. Through the passage of Proposition 8, show mercy and not judgment, O God.’

As I beheld the Risen Christ towering over me and yet lovingly beckoning to me in the church, I was reminded of the greater love story being played out in our midst: that of the Bridegroom King preparing for Himself a Bride. In a day when 7-year-olds in public schools are subject to tales of the marriage of two gay kings, we need to be reminded of this true love story–the divine drama of which human marriage is but a foretaste

“The Bible begins in Genesis with the marriage of the first man and woman, and ends in Revelation with another marriage, the marriage of Christ and His Church. The whole story of salvation is contained between the love initiated by the bridegroom and the response of the bride.” (Christopher West)

I prayed again: ‘Prepare a people for Yourself, O God. May we live what we advocate for the land. May Your mighty love empower us to love. Manifest who You are in how we love and honor one another. May we mirror with increasing clarity the greater love story You have designed for the whole of creation. As we love more nearly in harmony with You, the true image, make us ready for Your return. Prepare us for Yourself.’

“Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come,

and the bride has made herself ready.

Find linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)

Rev. 19:6-8

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