Doing something for first time often takes lots courage and forethought. You may need something or someone to ease your fears or boost your confidence. In my case I just needed inspiration.
This past Friday evening my only child, a son, married his beautiful fiancee. Being a pastor of at least 25 years I have performed lots of weddings. And I had used the same wedding ceremony for all of them. Hey, this ceremony was used at my wedding and I have been married for 30 years, so it was good enough for everyone else, right?!
My son and I have a very close relationship. Our love of Jesus, music and guitars amongst other things have helped to formed a tight bond. So, I thought, maybe I could do something different. Like maybe I could write out my own wedding ceremony. Ever tried to write a poem, song or even a book? I have some great titles, a few good ideas (at least I think so) and nothing that has yet to make me famous or rich.
What inspired me to give it a try were two facts: One, I have a brother who also is a preacher and he wrote out the wedding ceremony for his three sons. Secondly, Friday night two very special people got married and I wanted something special for them, about them that reflected them. So, the following is the wedding ceremony I wrote for them, two of the greatest blessings I have ever known!!!
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, AMEN!
THE BIBLE TELLS US IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS THAT GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. THAT INCLUDES THE CREATION OF MANKIND. AFTER SPEAKING THIS WORLD INTO EXISTENCE, GOD SEPARATED LIGHT FROM DARKNESS, HE SEPARATED THE WATERS INTO DRY LAND AND CREATED THE FISH, FOWL AND ALL THE ANIMALS ON THE EARTH, BOTH SMALL AND GREAT.
THEN GOD, MIGHTY GOD, SAID, LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE AFTER OUR LIKENESS. AND THIS HE DID! GOD FORMED MAN OUT OF THE DUST OF THE EARTH AND BREATHED THE BREATHE OF LIFE INTO HIM! AND MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL. ADAM – THE FIRST HUMAN BEING, AN IMAGE OF GOD BECAME A LIVING, BREATHING SOUL. GOD GAVE MAN RULE OVER ALL THE EARTH – THAT IS RULE OVER ALL HIS EARTHLY CREATION.
GOD TOOK ADAM, THE FIRST MAN AND PUT HIM IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. ADAM WAS TO KEEP OR WORK THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE AS WELL TO TEND TO OTHER RESPONIBILITIES THAT WERE GIVIEN TO HIM. WHILE OBSERVING ADAM IN HIS WORK, PLAY AND REST, GOD SAW THAT ADAM WAS NOT QUITE FUFILLED. AFTER GOD GAVE ADAM SOME TIME TO PONDER AND PAROUS ALL THAT HAD BEEN CREATED, THE FULFILLMENT WAS NOT FOUND. AFTER CAUSING A DEEP SLEEP TO FALL UPON ADAM, GOD TOOK A RIB FROM ADAM’S SIDE AND MADE A WOMAN, EVE.
UPON SEEING EVE FOR THE FIRST TIME, ADAM IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZED HER AS GOD’S BLESSING. EVE, SHE FULFILLED OR COMPLETED ADAM. THEY BECAME SO CLOSE IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP THAT THE TWO BECAME ONE – THAT WOULD THE BIBLICAL FULFILLMENT OF YOUR MARRIAGE, THAT THE TWO OF YOU BECOME ONE BEFORE GOD.
ADAM AND EVE WHERE MADE FOR EACH OTHER. LOOKING FORWARD WE DON’T ALWAYS SEE GOD’S HAND OR HIS PLAN. BUT LOOKING BACK WE SEE WHERE AND HOW GOD IS AT WORK IN OUR LIVES SO LET’S SEE GOD AT WORK!
SARAH, IN YOUR HOME YOU LAUGHED, SANG, AND PLAYED THE PIANO. YOU LEARNED A GREAT APPRECIATION FOR MUSIC – SOMETHING YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND WOULD ALSO HAVE. YOU HAVE TWO OLDER BROTHERS WHO WOULD TEACH YOU MUCH AND HELP MAKE YOU THE STRONG, DETERMINED YOUNG WOMAN YOU HAVE BECOME. IN YOUR HOME YOU LEARNED OF GOD AND EVEN BEGAN A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM THROUGH HIS SON, JESUS.
KEIFER, AS A FOUR YEAR OLD YOU USED SET MOM AND I DOWN ON THE COUCH AND PREACH TO US. A TV TRAY FOR A PULPIT AND AN UPSIDE DOWN MAGAZINE FOR A BIBLE, YOU GAVE US A GLIMPS OF YOUR FUTURE IN JESUS. THERE WERE ALSO SOME MOSTLY FRUITLESS YEARS OF PIANO LESSONS. AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED … GUITAR!!!
KEIFER, SARAH, GATHERED HERE TODAY AND WATCHING FROM HEAVEN ABOVE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THE MAJOR INFLUENCES OF YOUR LIVES. THEY PRAY FOR YOU AND CELEBRATE WITH YOU GUYS ON YOUR NEW LIFE TOGETHER.
ADAM TELLS US EVEN MORE ABOUT A GODLY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A HUSBAND AND WIFE. HE SAID, “THEREFORE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND HOLD FAST TO HIS WIFE”.
KEIFER, ON THIS DAY YOUR MOM AND I RECOGNIZE THAT YOU HAVE BECOME YOUR OWN MAN, WITH HOPES, DREAMS AND PLANS FROM OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. THESE INCLUDE A BEAUTIFUL LIFE WITH YOUR BEAUTIFUL BRIDE. SARAH, YOUR PARENTS ALSO RECOGNIZE THESE CHARACTERICS ABOUT YOU. EVEN NOW YOUR DAD STANDS BESIDE YOU, PROUD OF WHO YOU HAVE BECOME AND READY TO GIVE YOU TO YOUR HUSBAND. IN RECOGNITION OF THIS UNION, JOE, DO YOU AND LINDA GIVE THIS GLORIOUS BRIDE TO BE MARRIED TO THIS MAN? (YES, WE DO)
IN COMING TOGETHER AS MAN AND WIFE YOUR PRIORITIES CHANGE. WHILE YOUR MAIN PRIORITY IS TO LOVE AND SERVE GOD, YOU NOW HAVE ELEVATED YOUR PARTNER TO THE POSITION OF SECOND MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU HAVE. THESE TWO RELATIONSHIPS SHOULD NEVER LEAVE OR LOSE THEIR POSITIONS FOR THEY ARE A REFLECTION OF EACH OTHER. GOD FIRST, SPOUSE SECOND, AND EVERYTHING ELSE THIRD.
LETS TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT YOUR MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP. FROM THE BIBLE THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS 5:25 “HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER.” THERE IS MORE TO THAT VERSE BUT LETS CONCENTRATE ON THIS PART FOR NOW. “CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH.” CHRIST DIDN’T LIKE THE CHURCH, WAS NOT INFATUATED WITH THE CHURCH, DIDN’T HANG OUT WITH HER TIL THINGS GOT TOUGH NOR DID HE DESERT HER IN THE HOUR OF HER GREATEST NEED! “TIL DEATH DO US PART” IS A HUGH STATEMENT IN MOST WEDDING CEREMONIES. TODAY, YOU ARE COMMITING YOURSELVES BEFORE GOD, TO A LIFE LONG COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER, NO MATTER WHAT. JESUS DIED FOR HIS BRIDE, THE CHURCH. YET WHILE HE LIVED ON EARTH, HE LIVED TO SERVE HER, BUILD HER UP, COMFORT HER, PROTECT HER AND DRAW HER TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. KEIFER, THIS IS THE KIND OF LOVE YOU SHOULD HAVE FOR SARAH. THEN IN VERSE 22, “WIVES, SUBMIT TO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS, AS TO THE LORD.” FIRST LET ME SAY THAT GOD HAS ORDAINED THE HUSBAND WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE THE HEAD OF THE HOME. THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE IS THE BOSS OR ULTIMATE ATHORITY. IT MEANS HE LEADS LIKE JESUS. “SUBMIT” MEANS THE WIFE IS NOW UNDER THE RESPONSIBILITY AND CARE OF HER HUSBAND. YOU NO LONGER BELONG TO NOR ARE UNDER YOUR PARENTS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR YOUR PRIMARY LEADERSHIP, LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY. EVE WAS A HELPER OR PARTNER WITH ADAM. YOU GUYS WOULD DO WELL TO FOLLOW THAT MODEL.
EVEN THOUGH CHILDREN ARE NOT IN YOUR IMMEDIATE FUTURE, YOU WILL ONE DAY BE BLESSED WITH MY GRANDCHILDREN. (HOW DID THAT STATEMENT GET IN THERE?) SPOUSES AND CHILDREN, FAMILY, ARE A CREATION OF GOD’S, UNIQUE BLEND OF PEOPLE LOVING AND CARING FOR ONE ANOTHER. CHILDREN REQUIRE A DELICATE BALANCE IN YOUR MARRIAGE. THEY BRING ADDED RESPONSIBILITY IN SO MANY WAYS. THEY REQUIRE MUCH OF YOUR TIME AND RESOURCES. PRAY, PLAN, PRAY, TEACH, PRAY, HEAL, PRAY NURTURE, PRAY AND RELEASE.
IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY YOU GUYS WERE BEING CARRIED HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL. I CAN’T EXPLAIN THE JOY AND LOVE WE FELT AND STILL FEEL FOR YOU. AND TODAY YOU ARE HERE BEFORE US READY TO STAND TOGETHER AND START YOUR OWN FAMILY.
JOIN RIGHT HANDS:
KEIFER, DO YOU CHOOSE THIS DAY TO TAKE SARAH TO BE YOUR WIFE? WILL YOU LIVE TOGETHER ACCORDING TO GOD’S TEACHINGS? WILL YOU LOVE HER, COMFORT HER, PROVIDE FOR HER BOTH IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH, AND BE TRUE TO HER THROUGH THE REST OF YOUR LIVES?
JOIN RIGHT HANDS:
SARAH, DO YOU CHOOSE THIS DAY TO TAKE KEIFER TO BE YOUR HUSBAND? WILL YOU LIVE TOGETHER ACCORDING TO GOD’S TEACHINGS? WILL YOU LOVE HIM, COMFORT HIM, PROVIDE FOR HIM BOTH IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH, AND BE TRUE TO HIM THROUGH THE REST OF YOUR LIVES?
READING OF YOUR VOWS:
EXCHANGING OF THE RINGS:
THE RING IS A COMPLETED, UNBROKEN CIRCLE. IT IS A PICTURE OF WHAT YOU DO TO AND FOR EACH OTHER. IN JESUS YOU ARE COMPLETED AND UNITED TIL YOU PART.
SARAH PROMIES: I GIVE YOU THIS RING KEIFER AS A SYMBOL OF MY LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS.
KEIFER PROMIES: I GIVE YOU THIS RING SARAH AS A SYMBOL OF MY LOVE AND FAITHGULNESS.
YOU HAVE PLEDGED YOUR MUTUAL LOVE FOR GOD AND ONE ANOTHER IN MARRIAGE. I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU HUSBAND AND WIFE.
KEIFER, YOU MAY NOW KISS MISS SARAH – YOUR BEAUTIFUL BRIDE.
INTRODUCTION OF BRIDE AND GROOM: