I read a Wendell Berry story called A Consent this past week. It is an account of the beginning of the courtship of Tol Proudfoot and Miss Minnie Quinch, two members of the Port William community. At one point, Tol attends a celebration that Miss Minnie has orchestrated. The following lines describe the scene:
And at the head of the room on a large table were the cakes and pies that were to be auctioned off at the end of the evening. In the very center of the table, on a tall stand, was a cake that Tol knew, even before he heard, was the work of Miss Minnie. It was an angelfood cake with an icing as white and light and swirly as a summer cloud. It was as white as a bride. The sight of it fairly took his breath--it was the most delicate and wonderous thing he had ever seen. It looked so beautiful and vulnerable there all alone among the others that he wanted to defend it with his life. It was lucky, he thought, that nobody said anything bad about it--and he just wished somebody would. He took a position in a corner in the front of the room as near the cake as he dared to be, and watched it defensively, angry at the thought of the possibility that somebody might something bad about it.
I can't help it, but often I am reminded that the Church is Christ's bride somehow, that he loves her for some reason. I, as a part of that Church, get embarrassed about our behavior. I get fairly critical about us in general. I forget that Jesus is looking forward to us like a man might to his future bride. Tol's admiration of Miss Minnie's handiwork, and his desire to defend her, makes me think twice of criticizing Christ's bride.
But that's just one strand. The story is touching and beautiful simply as a reminder of a courtship, and all the mystery and disequilibration that goes with confessing one's feelings to another human.