Going Viral: Gone with the Wind or Coming Soon?

Wildfire Wedding. Chris PattersonHave you seen this picture taken by Josh Newton of the wedding last Saturday between April Hartley and Michael Wober in Bend, Oregon? Although probably none of you (like me) had ever heard of this couple or the photographer, the picture’s gone viral on the internet. I heard about it from my sister, Ann, who also lives in Bend, Oregon, because I’ve been praying for containment of this raging “Two Bulls” fire (apparently started by humans) that is devouring thousands of acres of pristine woodland in the Deschutes National Forest…where our family has been planning a reunion for next month. Thankfully, no one has been injured or killed so far, although hundreds of people have had to evacuate their homes and are seeking refuge as displaced persons. gonewiththewind2When I saw the picture, it made me think of Gone with the Wind, where you see Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara’s silhouetted embrace—black against the crimson fires of Atlanta burning during the Civil War. Michael and April Wolber's wedding in BendWho would start two (or three?) fires in a beautiful national forest? Who would promote war? How does such evil happen? On the internet, people were saying the pictures looked like a wedding before the Apocalypse. Thankfully, in the case of Michael and April, although fire engines came roaring along the road to their wedding venue with loudspeakers broadcasting that everyone should evacuate the area immediately, the couple was allowed to finish their vows and presumably  are now safely and happily ensconced in some honeymoon bungalow (…a much happier ending that in Gone with the Wind). (Josh Newton)But, what about you and me and the multitudes of people who’ve been displaced by the ravages of sin and evil? Do we have prospects for a happy ending to our stories? I can see why the above pictures went viral: beautiful couple, great photography by Josh Newton, and a never-before-or-since sort of backdrop for their wedding pictures! But, there’s another picture that I also wish would go viral…even though I can’t capture it on film. It’s the picture of Jesus as our glorious bridegroom embracing us—his Church, whom he will rescue from the fires of hell and destruction. Although the world looks dark and threatening, Jesus has promised to protect us through the firestorms around us and will one day whisk us off to something even better than a honeymoon cottage; he’s preparing an abiding place in heaven for us. This is the “gospel,” the good news of Jesus dying for our sins and living today as our Lord and Savior. Isn’t this something even more astonishing than a wedding taking place in front of a forest fire? Are we thrilled enough to make the gospel go viral too?!1402413662000-wedding2 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation “(Mark 16:15).


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