“To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.” Psalm 119:96 (NIV)
The minister stood at the lectern, looking lovingly at Sophie, the young woman who was both his parishioner and his daughter.
“Sophie, you are the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.” He choked back a sob. “Jake, God has been incredibly generous to you. But consider this. Even my daughter’s beauty will fade.” The congregation laughed as much in embarrassment as with amusement.
“It’s true. Perfection has its limits. Only God’s Law is perfect without limit. From the beginning of time on into eternity, only God’s commands are sure. Love God’s Law as much as you love one another today, and you won’t go wrong in your marriage.”
Outside, the newly married couple mingled with family and friends over tables laden with dainty snacks and sparkling apple cider. The minister stood at a distance, embarrassed by his tears. Through reddened eyes, he proudly surveyed the churchyard scene. That Sophie’s beauty could fade seemed impossible
Sophie was indeed breathtakingly stunning. The sun reflected off her burnished bronze hair, thick, wavy and bouncy. Her clear brown eyes laughed with joy as her husband put his arm around her. Her smooth pearl-white skin needed no chemical concealers. Sophie’s smile was natural, radiant, lighting up her whole face. The figure-hugging bodice of the sequined dress accentuated her flat stomach and nicely rounded chest. The diamond on her hand caught the sunlight, scattering flashes of brilliance.
A beautiful bride must carry a beautiful bouquet, and Sophie’s was gorgeous. Made up entirely of baby’s breath and deep red roses, it reflected both her innocence and the depth of her love for the man who stood proudly by her side. Each flower was without blemish, standing upright and firm, the colours bold and vibrant, the fragrance overwhelming.
The photographer smiled. This wedding was easy for him – a beautiful bride, a beautiful bouquet, lots of strong natural light – an altogether perfect day.
“She’s beautiful, Gran!” The little cherub’s brown eyes lit up as she gazed at the photo. “Is she a princess?”
“No, sweetie,” laughed the middle-aged woman, with the stylish wavy bronze hair. “That’s your great-grandma.” The child stared at Sophie, sitting in the recliner. She cocked her head at an angle, her little furrowed forehead, wrinkled nose and pursed lips expressing disbelief.
Sophie laughed. Her whole face lit up. She ran a gnarled hand through her thin white hair as she struggled to work out who these visitors were. She liked the faded yellowed photo in the perspex frame, and this seemed to please the woman. She loved the diamond on the lady’s right hand. The way it reflected flashes of light from the fluorescent bulbs seemed comfortingly familiar
“I’ve still got your flowers, Mum.” The lady spoke gently to Sophie. “They’re very fragile now. We’ve just had them mounted in a special airtight case to keep them from decaying further.”
“Those dead flowers in the glass box, Gran?” The woman shushed the child.
“These flowers, the ones in the photo, babe. See?” The child’s puzzled expression transformed her face again and this time it was the lady who laughed. “Its true, darling. Those flowers in the glass box are these same flowers in the photo.”
Sophie didn’t laugh. Her wrinkled forehead, the skin paper-thin, creased yet further and her thin lips opened. She valiantly attempted to state the obvious, but the sounds came out as barely a mumble.
Don’t keep dead flowers. Just pick more.
The older woman gave Sophie a wonderful warm hug. “Mum, you’re beautiful. Just as beautiful now as you were in that picture. Maybe not as glamorous. But every bit as beautiful.”
Releasing Sophie from the hug, the older woman took the child’s hand. “Come on, darling Sophia-Anne. Great-Grandma needs a rest, and so do you. Give her a hug and tell her you love her.”
“Bye bye, Great-Grandma.” Pecking Sophie on the cheek, the child wrinkled her nose. “I think you should go to the bathroom.”
The woman hurried the child out the door with a gentle reprimand, blowing Sophie a kiss as she disappeared around the corner.
Good-looking, that lady with the child. She must have been a looker in her day.
Feeble synapses in Sophie’s brain struggled to piece together the thought that the wedding photo, still sitting by her side, had initiated. I hope she loves God’s commands. She’s pretty enough, but that will fade. Only God’s Law lasts.
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