Eastern Christians look to Jesus the Bridegroom during Holy Week, watching for when the Bridegroom will come again.
For many Eastern Christians, Holy Week (the Great Week), begins with “Bridegroom Matins,” a service held on the first few days of Holy Week.
It recalls the following words of Jesus.
Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.Matthew 9:15
Holy Week is the time of the year when we recall how the bridegroom is taken away from us. It also calls to mind the other time Jesus talked about “the bridegroom.”
At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’Matthew 25:6
In this last passage, Jesus urges us to be “vigilant,” when the bridegroom will come again in judgment.
One of the reasons for this wedding imagery is because Heaven is often viewed as the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
We are all called to the banquet. Will we respond to the invitation?
Here is the Troparion of Bridegroom Matins that we can meditate on throughout this week, preparing ourselves for Jesus’ death and resurrection, while also looking forward to his Second Coming.
Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching;
and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep,
lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.
But rouse yourself crying: Holy, holy, holy, art Thou, O our God.
Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.