In 10 days, I will kneel at an altar to be married. Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought about the significance of the altar.
In ancient times, altars were used to offer sacrifices to God. Before the coming of Jesus Christ, His people were commanded to offer sacrifices of the first born of their flocks. When Jesus Christ came to the earth, the law of Moses, which required these animal sacrifices, was fulfilled. Today a higher law of sacrifice exists – one that requires we make our lives a living sacrifice by devoting ourselves fully to becoming true followers of Jesus Christ.
While pondering how I could best prepare for marriage, I realized that as I kneel at the altar to be married, I must metaphorically lay my own personal desires on the altar and give myself fully to God and to my husband. My soon-to-be husband will do the same as he kneels at the altar to be married to me. Together we will lay down our own personal pursuits and desires and become one before the Lord. This doesn’t mean that we will lose our identities or become submissive, rather we will show the Lord and one another that our greatest desire is to serve and support God and each other.
This concept of metaphorically laying everything down on the altar had a practical application last week as I stood outside in the cold waiting for my soon-to-be-husband to pick me up. It was a rainy, cold day and he was late. I realized there were a myriad of reasons he could have been late – he could have the left the house late, he could have hit bad traffic, he could have gotten lost, etc. I also realized that I had a choice to make. I knew that when he picked me up, he’d apologize for being late. I could either reply with a cheerful, “No worries. I love you. I know you did your best to get here,” or I could begrudgingly say, “It’s fine.”
As I stood there waiting for him, I thought about all of the other things I could have been doing with my time. I could have stayed longer at work. I could have brought exercise clothes with me and gone on a walk before he picked me up. As my mind was contemplating all of the other ways I could have more effectively used my time, a thought came to my mind, “You need to lay your time on the altar. Give your time to him. He’s doing his best.” In that moment, the choice became clear. I needed let him know that I loved him and was grateful he picked me up.
I know I am not perfect, and I know there will be moments when I struggle to lay everything on the altar, but I am grateful for the significance of the altar and the reminder that it is for me.
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