A Killy Bride

When our daughter Ana was four and still living in a delightful princess world, she loved to play dress up. One day she ransacked her dress up box and came out of her room wearing raccoon slippers, a white bride’s veil and holding a plastic police riot baton.

I said, “Oh, Ana, what a beautiful bride you are!”

“No,” she answered with a mean gleam in her eyes, “I’m a killy bride.”

A frightening thing for your four-year-old to say, granted, but it is an excellent word picture of who we are as the Body of Christ.

On the bride side, we are pictured in the Scriptures as fiercely loved by our champion groom. The poetic book Song of Solomon paints an intimate portrait of Christ’s intense, initiating love for us. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “My soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 ). God delights in His beautiful bride like a lovesick groom.

As we meditate on that, gazing into His loving eyes, greater love for Him stirs in us toward Him. “We love because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).

But that’s not the only picture of our identity…there’s also the “killy” side.

We’re an army. We take new ground from the enemy on a heavily contested battlefield where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The kingdom of God is movement. “From the days of John the Baptist until now,” Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Force. Advance. Clash. Movement.

Jesus also said that He would build His church and that “the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). In this picture, the church is the one on the offensive, not defensive. We’re not trying to keep all those creepy people out of our nice, neat kingdom. Rather, we’re the reckless ones storming the castle, scaling the foreboding walls and ransacking the kingdom of darkness. The gates of hell eventually give way to the Kingdom’s forceful advance.

We’re both. A killy bride.

If you will, there is a feminine side to our relationship with God (tender intimacy) and a masculine side (forceful advance). A character in C.S. Lewis’ science fiction novel That Hideous Strength ponders aloud that in the presence of God, we all our feminine.

Ladies, let’s hear that warrior spirit. Guys, get used to being a beautifully adorned bride. That very lovely bride needs to be very skilled at wielding that police baton, too. Our souls, anchored in a tender intimacy with Christ, were meant to rise up and violently advance the kingdom of God against this present darkness.

The next time you feel squelched in a theology that solely focuses on your own individual relationship with God to the exclusion of impacting the world around you, show them that same mean gleam in your eyes.

“No!” you tell ‘em. “I’m a killy bride!”

— Mike O’Quin, author of Java Wake and Growing Desperate

Take A Walk

On the south coast of Java this past weekend, I played on a beach that is accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles or motorcycles that dare.  I guess the other way would be if you happened to be born in one of the nearby fishing villages and could walk there.


The beach is of course secluded.  Very beautiful and very secluded.  No stores, no beach hawkers selling trinkets, hardly any people there except a few lone fishermen and another jeep full of Indonesians who made their way through the dirt roads to the pristine location.  My son and his friends and I had the beach almost all to ourselves and we had a blast celebrating his 16th birthday together.


Impossible rock formations jutted out of the sea’s horizon.  Gigantic waves crashed against the coral and formed tide pools on the beaches, hiding millions of treasures of tiny seashells.  An overcast day protected us from the brutal tropical sun.  Waves to play in, sand to sculpt, a cave to explore, a fresh water lagoon to refresh ourselves…a perfect day.  I kept thinking, this is so much beauty for just two eyes to take in within the space of just one day.


The next day I found myself, almost automatically, in a better mood.  There was just an extra bounce of joy in my step.  I think some of the stresses of my life got washed away in that rumbling surf and crystal clear lagoon.


There’s something about God’s creation that makes our souls come alive.


I’ve heard it said that the writer C.S. Lewis didn’t feel his day was complete without a walk in the English countryside.  Maybe this was the inspirational source of his creative genius?  I tried in vain to find his exact quote, but I did discover that he would often walk on a picturesque path in Oxford along the River Cherwell called “Addison’s Walk,” named after a famous scholar.


Lewis would frequently stroll on that footpath with fellow writers like Hugo Dyson and J.R. Tolkien who created the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  In September of 1931, he recorded one such walk in a letter to a friend:


“He [Hugo Dyson] stayed the night with me in College… Tolkien came too, and did not leave till 3 in the morning… We began (in Addison's Walk just after dinner) on metaphor and mythinterrupted by a rush of wind which came so suddenly on the still warm evening and sent so many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining….We continued on Christianity: a good long satisfying talk in which I learned a lot….”[i]


Can you place yourself there on that green footpath, in the company of two creative geniuses, one who imagined Middle Earth and other Narnia, walking along a gentle English river together and talking about art, religion and philosophy until late in the night?  I think the setting must have been important for their creative friendship.  I can’t imagine their creative juices flowing that sweetly at a freeway McDonald’s over a rushed breakfast.


The connection between Creativity and Creation and Creator can easily be missed in our high-tech, fast-paced, as deep as a Facebook status update society.


A curtain opens in Revelation chapter four and gives us a glimpse into heaven.  Before the Lamb who was slain is revealed, the majestic living creatures and honored 24 elders are worshiping the Creator day and night.  What are they worshiping Him for?  His Creation.  From eternity past the elders cast down their crowns and cry out: “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”[ii]


There is a rhythm in heaven that can be heard faintly when we are up close to God’s creation.  We can almost feel the pulse of the elders’ praises when we find ourselves exploring this big green and blue world.  We all long for our breath to be taken away by something beautiful.


How long has it been since your breath was taken away?  Go outside and take a walk today.  Your television screen, computer monitor or wireless gadget won’t do the trick.  You’ve got to crunch some some green grass under your feet, feel a soft breeze in your face, or maybe glimpse a sunset to get to that place of breath-taking awakening.


Lord, we want to gaze on the beauty of Your creation.  Help us make space for this.  Awaken our souls today with all that You have created.  Worthy are You, our Lord and our God.


[i] From “They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves,” Walter Hooper, editor, Collins, 1979


[ii] Revelation 4:11, NASB