Here Comes the Bride

By Julie Banks

A beautiful thing happens in Kibuye in the fall.  Dry season ends, and rainy season begins.  But it is not just the appearance of rain that signals the beginning of a new season.  We receive a uniquely beautiful gift.  The jacaranda trees bloom.  Bright purple blossoms seem to appear overnight drawing our eyes up these tall trees.  But they are in bloom only for a brief amount of time which makes the experience rare and special.  The violet flowers are so delicate that the lightest rain, or a drifting gust of wind, will cause the petals to fall out of the trees.

This is my fourth "fall" at Kibuye.  So it's my fourth time seeing these jacarandas bloom.  In past years I remember saying "oh those are pretty" or maybe I even snapped a picture on my phone.  Perhaps I was too distracted by the start of a new school year.  Maybe I was feeling sorry for myself because I missed Midwestern falls with orange and yellow leaves that crunch when I walk.  I don't think I ever truly saw the jacarandas.  Until this year.  This year I saw them.  I really saw them.

For a brief time, everyday I stepped outside, I noticed the jacaranda blossoms.  Tiny purple flowers fell into my hair as I walked.  Purple petals covered the ground around me.  I looked down at my feet where each step was cushioned by a delicate flower.  As I walked, my heart fluttered, and I thought, "I feel like a bride!"

It was as if someone had gone before me to sprinkle flowers along my path.  And then I remembered the image of the Church - us - as the bride of Christ. My neck lengthened as I walked a little taller.  A little slower.  I felt anticipation.  I felt loved.  I felt seen.  I felt... beautiful.

Here, in the midst of poverty, struggle, sickness... was beauty.  God was literally laying down for us a beautiful carpet of purple to walk upon as we walked our everyday paths.  Our path to KHA to teach the kids.  Our path to the hospital to see patients.  Our path to the neighbor's house to say hello.  Our path to Church.  For a brief moment these worn down walkways looked like a beautiful isle prepared for a bride.

And then I thought about the color of these petals.  Purple.  Royalty.  Priesthood.  Kingship.  This purple ground belongs to the King.  The King is here.  The words take off your sandals for the place where you are standing is Holy ground echoed in my ears.  The Most-Holy is here.  He is at Kibuye.  He loves Kibuye.  He loves these people.  He is already working in this place, and somehow we have been invited to join Him on the journey.

Pray for us on our path in Kibuye.  Sometimes rocky.  Sometimes muddy.  Sometimes beautiful.  May we hear God's voice.  May we see His blessings.  May we continue to be awed by His grace.  His love.  His forgiveness.  And may we, as brides, draw others to Christ.

And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17.

Photos by Darrell Baskin and Julie Banks


Rebekah said...


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MikeandKatie said...

I always love the jacaranda season in Kenya. They even look like miniature bells ringing in the glory if you listen. I can hear it here in this story.

Amaris said...

Lovely. I have been seeing them here in Kenya but didn't know what they were called. Thanks for your meditations.