"While too many of us are saying a lot of things quickly and running onto the next, John stops and stands and stays and stares at God's Word. Sometimes he stares at something that seems so obvious, but he keeps staring until it begins to expand and fill the horizon of his sight. It becomes rich and detailed and luscious and intricate and full and demanding and hope-giving and life-affirming and sin-denying and sacrifice-requiring ... John prays and thinks until a part of God's Word which seemed simple and obvious becomes fresh and powerful".
I've witnessed that become true again in the videoclip that I have successfully (I hope!) posted from the mind-boggling You-Tube below. Like Luke and others, I was touched by Terry Virgo's recent blog post, "Amazing Grace". It is incredibly powerful to read of insights and personal stories of a man that is my biggest living hero and fathers the family I am so proud to be part of. However I must be honest. Part of me sighed deeply when I got to the bit where Terry wrote, "let me recommend marriage to you".
It sounds so simple doesn't it? I can imagine Terry saying it and I know the love and affection in his heart as he wrote it. However I've heard quite a lot of encouragements to just "go out and do it". Maybe it is that simple. But I've always had the suspicion and fear that marriage is being exalted beyond a station it was never meant to be exalted - hence my persistence in the whole Song of Solomon debate. Therefore I was thrilled to hear John Piper say this in the video clip;
"Do not elevate natural processes like procreation and childbearing and marriage to anything bigger than what they are - temporal, physical means of keeping the world going and illustrations of Christ and the Church - which when He comes will fade away".
Don't get me wrong. I love weddings and I love reading about them. I rejoice whenever a Christian wedding happens because it is another step towards stemming the tide in the godless age when marriage is seen as irrelevant. But let's heed John Piper's "cosmic vision" (which so reminds me of Ern Baxter by the way). Marriage is a sign - a symbol of a greater, more wonderful thing. Christ and His Bride! Let's allow every wedding to indeed make us ponder on the amazing grace that He would chose a Bride for Himself who will one day be glorious and spotless - ready to be presented to Him.
So over to John Piper: