Christian27

Christian Ceremony #27

Joyous Union

Introduction
Good morning/afternoon/evening! We are gathered here today, to formalize a new beginning and to celebrate with _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ this wondrous and joyful event.

Who accompanies this Bride to Groom? /  I do.

To Guests
Marriage is a supreme sharing experience – an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous union of two people whose comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered in romance and in love. Today _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ proclaim their love and commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for them, in the new life they now undertake together.

The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires “love”, a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is meant to be our natural, most healthful and positive state of being.

Recognition of the Source of Love
Before we go on to say more about love, it is important to recognize from where love comes in our lives. Of course, someone first loved _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_. Someone cared for them before they cared for anyone. That person is God. He loved them before they were even formed. He loved them so very much that He sent His only Son to take their sin upon Himself and pay it’s penalty of death on their behalf so that they would be released from the stain and guilt of sin to stand before you this day, cleansed of their sin and free to live and serve God together for the rest of their lives. “No greater love has any man than to die for him.” “We love Him because He first loved us.”

Recognition of Parents
As well, the good Lord so ordered our existence that as life begins we are ushered into families that love and care for us. As children we are cared for and shown love by our parents. This ministry of our parents is critical in preparing us to be the loving adults we are, so today, _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ want to give special recognition of their parents, for making today possible. I speak for everyone here when we say, “Thank you moms and dads for beginning in _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ something so special.”

(Now Bride and Groom present flowers to their parents)

On Love (continued)
So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities that make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty. And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other.  One who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a piece of ourselves, but a piece that only they can give us.
To make this relationship work, therefore, takes a love that transcends sentiment. It takes a love with characteristics that are consistent. It takes a love that trusts – to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes a love characterized by dedication – to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes loving faith – to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. It takes courtship – never relinquishing the delight and privilege of sharing time and mutually enjoyable experiences with each other.  It takes selflessness – the willingness to set aside personal aspirations for the benefit of the one loved. To put our mate before ourselves. These qualities of love are not easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey. A journey of growth, together. They are the growing edge of success in marriage.

On Marriage, By Edmund O’Neill
Marriage is a commitment to life – to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal, a joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Love
Mingling in marriage is a mutual dedication, a cooperative venture in every sense. It is a relationship based on love, respect, and a determination by both partners to adjust to each other and support one another, in health and in sickness, in joy and in sadness, in ease and in hardship. Through this co-operation, we give ourselves, our lives and love. into the hands of the one we love. We do so trustingly and generously. And so, each of us receives a gift: the life and love of the other. We receive this gift, not only from the one we love, but also from the parents who brought us into the world, and from our friends and families as well. And so as bride and groom’s friends and family, we are here to share with them this joy and hope, and to see them off on the path they will walk together. May it be a path of blessedness, bright with flowers of prosperity and spiritual awakening; a path of ever deepening, ever broadening love that they will travel, arm in arm. through out their life together.

The Commitment
_(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ this celebration is the outward token of your sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church may bless, and the state make legal, but which neither state nor church can create nor annul. It is a union created by your loving purpose and kept by your abiding will. It is in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to be joined together.

Blessing of the Rings
Who holds the rings? / I do

May I have the rings please?

Let us pause to seek the Lord’s blessing on this union, as represented by the rings I now hold in my hand. Shall we pray?

We recognize, dear Lord, that even as Your Word states that the tree-fold chord is not easily broken, so this union is one where both members of this couple are seeking the binding force that only You and Your love can provide. They are asking You, dear Lord, to bind their hearts together as one. These rings are circles, symbols of perfect continuity that have no beginning and no end. And so, in this moment, we ask that You bless these rings as symbols of the aspirations of _(Groom)_ and ….. , as they seek to become one in spirit – a constructive and creative unity that blends their differences into something much more than they could ever be apart. We join you, Oh Lord, we join with You in sharing also our best wishes that the love which _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_ have for each other now may be as continuous as these unbroken circles of gold.
In the name of Jesus, our Lord.
Amen.

Exchange Of Vows and Rings
_(Groom)_ , would you please pass your bouquet to your maid of honour.
Please turn toward each other, join hands, and look deeply into each other’s eyes.

_(Bride)_ , would you please repeat after me your vows to your bride?

_(Groom)_ , God brought us together
and we experienced love and happiness.
Today I am confirming my promise
for all of my life
to love and respect you,
to be faithful and honest with you,
to give you encouragement, strength and trust,
to stand together with you
in our times of joy and of sorrow.
It is my prayer and abiding aspiration
that our home will be
one of love, understanding and patience,
a place where God is honoured
and you are honoured …
not to remain the same,
but to grow better and stronger
with the passing of time,
and through the love
we have for one another.
I am promising from this day forward
that I will be your husband,
to walk with you
throughout all our tomorrows
that we might be partners together
in serving our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

With this ring, I thee wed.

_(Groom)_, would you please repeat after me your vows to your groom?

_(Bride)_, God brought us together
and we experienced love and happiness.
Today I am confirming my promise
for all of my life
to love and respect you,
to be faithful and honest with you,
to give you encouragement, strength and trust,
to stand together with you
in our times of joy and of sorrow.
It is my prayer and abiding aspiration
that our home will be
one of love, understanding and patience,
a place where God is honoured
and you are honoured …
not to remain the same,
but to grow better and stronger
with the passing of time,
and through the love
we have for one another.
I am promising from this day forward
that I will be your husband,
to walk with you
throughout all our tomorrows
that we might be partners together
in serving our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

With this ring, I thee wed.

Apache Blessing

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Although there are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Conclusion
_(Groom)_ and _(Bride)_, remember to treat both yourself and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.

Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty or fear assail your relationship – as they threatened all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part that seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the times when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your lives together, your life together will be marked by abundance and delight.

Pronouncement
In as much as you have consented together in this ceremony to live in wedlock and have sealed your vows in the presence of this company and by the giving of these rings, it gives me great pleasure to pronounce that you are now husband and wife.

Kiss

Signing of Documents

Announcement
I present to you Mrs. _(Groom)_ and Mr. _(Bride)_  ________.