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Wedding Ceremony Article

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WEDDING CEREMONY

SUGGESTED SERMON

Leaving, Cleaving, and Weaving

Dear friends, we are together in this sweet and sacred hour to witness the uniting of ———————— and ———————— in the enduring bonds of Christian marriage. This happiest and holiest of human relationships was first celebrated in the quiet gardens of Eden, in the springtime of world history. God saw that it was not good for man to live alone, and so He created woman and gave her to him to be his companion, his wife. The Lord said: “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife. And they two shall be one flesh.”

This first description of marriage gives us three words for the establishing of a home. The first is leaving. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother. . . . When a man and a woman establish a new home, there is a sense in which they leave their old ones. They don’t leave in terms of love or communication. But they leave in terms of authority and priority. The most important human relationship for you now is the one you’re establishing today, in this place and before these witnesses. The primary relationship in your life shifts from the parental to the spousal, from mother and father to husband and wife.

The second idea in Genesis 2:24 is cleaving. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united, shall cleave, to his wife. . . . The word “cleave” here means to stick like glue, to be devoted, committed to each other. Every marriage goes through difficult periods and challenging times. It’s easy for love to grow lukewarm, then cold. Disillusionment can descend on a home like a Smokey Mountain fog. That’s why you have to remember that divorce is never an option, that the vows you are taking before God are holy, binding, and permanent. You are today deciding to stick to one another like glue, through thick and thin, through good and bad.

We know not what the encircling years will bring, nor how life and labor will unfold before you. But whatever the passing seasons hold, you must always remember to keep your poise, guard your purity, find your place, and fulfill your purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

But that leads to a third concept in Genesis 2:24: Weaving. The verse goes on to say that the man and the woman who leave their parents, cleave to one another, should then become as one. They should weave their lives together. Marriage requires developing common interests, common hobbies, good communication, time together, frequent dating, and growing love. A wedding takes twenty minutes to perform. A friendship takes a lifetime to perfect.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

And in your marriage, put off falsehood and speak truthfully to one another. In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building each other up according to your needs.

In your marriage, rid yourselves of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. But be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

In three words, a godly marriage requires leaving, cleaving, and weaving.

If you then, _______________ and _______________, having freely and deliberately and prayerfully chosen each other as partners for life, will you please unite your right hands and repeat after me:

In taking the woman I hold by the right hand to be my wedded wife, before God and these witnesses I promise to love her, to honor her in this relationship; and leaving all others to be in all things a true and faithful husband as long as we both shall live.

In taking the man I hold by the right hand to be my wedded husband, before God and these witnesses I promise to love him, to honor him in this relationship; and leaving all others to be in all things a true and faithful wife as long as we both shall live.

Then you are each given to the other for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

WEDDING CEREMONY

SUGGESTED SERMON

The 23rd Psalm

Dear friends, we are assembled here this afternoon to unite ———————— and ———————— in marriage. The establishment of marriage and the ordination of the home is found within the pages of Scripture; and between the covers of that same Bible we also find every other good word fitting us for holy matrimony.

The 23rd Psalm is the portion to which I turn today, for it provides a good theme-song for this couple, its every phrase and figure of speech having implications of hope for the family being established today.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (kjv).

When two people like ———————— and ————————, both committed to Jesus Christ, say, “The Good Shepherd is My Shepherd,” and when both these people then become united in Christian marriage, then the pronoun of the entire Psalm changes from my to our:

The Lord is our shepherd: We shall not want. . . .

In other words, they are thereby saying: We know that our Shepherd will provide for the needs of our home. And our Shepherd will feed us in the green pastures of His word. He will lead us by the still waters of His Spirit. And He will restore us day by day, giving us fresh supplies of love, patience, optimism, and understanding each new morning of each passing day.

And that’s not all; such a couple says: Our Shepherd will give us wisdom in the decisions and dilemmas we face from time to time. He will lead us in the right paths for His name’s sake.

Not only so, but we know that even during dark days of sickness and stress, disappointment, poverty, and death, the Great Shepherd of the sheep will never leave us or forsake us. He will be with us, and we will fear no evil.

Furthermore, day by day he will provide food for our children and clothes for our bodies and a roof for our head. He will prepare a table before us, making our cups overflow.

Atop all these, there’s a final word, for the psalmist ends his poem in a great and glorious affirmation which we can paraphrase like this: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your lives, through all the seasons of your marriage; and you shall dwell in the presence of the Lord forever.

If you have freely and deliberately chosen each other as partners in this pastoral relationship, in token thereof, will you please join your right hands and repeat after me:

In taking this woman to be my wedded wife before God and these witnesses, I promise to love her, to honor her and cherish her in this relationship, and leaving all others, cleave only unto her, in all things a true and faithful husband, as long as we both shall live.

In taking this man to be my wedded husband before God and these witnesses, I promise to love him, to honor him and cherish him in this relationship, and leaving all others, cleave only unto him, in all things a true and faithful wife, as long as we both shall live.

Then you are each given to the other for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death shall you part.

WEDDING CEREMONY

SUGGESTED SERMON

The Fruit of the Spirit

We have today assembled to witness the highest normalization of the deepest kind of friendship, the uniting of ———————— and ———————— in the bond of marriage. Just as Jehovah joined Adam and Eve in the effulgence of Eden during the days of Genesis, so He is present here tonight, ordaining and presiding over this wedding.

He has designed your marriage, ———————— and ———————, to be permanent, lasting as long as you both shall live. The Lord doesn’t permit divorce, save in the most extreme cases of betrayal and sin. He still means, “till death shall you part . . .” and “for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.” Marriage is an enduring institution, though not to be endured, but enjoyed for a lifetime.

Adam and Eve almost destroyed their marriage because of fruit which was forbidden, but yours can be enriched by fruit which is forever—the fruit of the Spirit.

The apostle Paul, in the fifth chapter of the New Testament Book of Galatians, wrote: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” These nine attitudes, cultivated by the Holy Spirit, will garrison the gates of your house through all the days of your lives.

First, there is love. Love isn’t a fleeting feeling into which you have fallen, nor an emotion out of which you can tumble. It is a decision—a choice to care more for your partner than for yourself. It is the attitude of putting the other first.

Joy, the next attitude, is the unexpected pleasure we feel when we choose to put the other first. It is the laughter of love.

Next comes peace, the quiet glow of a laughing fire in the hearth of your home. It’s the awareness that no one on God’s earth enjoys a greater blessing than you—namely, the privilege of living in the same house with your two best friends—your Savior and your spouse. Peace is the contentment of love.

Patience is the ability to remain calm when the other grows angry. It’s the willingness to nurture when you’d rather nag, and to smile when you’d rather scold, scald, and scheme. It’s the acceptance of your partner’s weaknesses and limitations, knowing well that your spouse is also married to an imperfect mate. Patience is love in slow-motion.

Kindness is nothing more nor less than good manners—treating the other with dignity. It is the elegance of love.

Goodness implies moral purity. It’s the absence of rot and ruin in your relationship. It is temptation resisted, or failing that, of sin confessed. It’s the holiness of love.

Faithfulness is the greatest ability of all—dependability. Can ——————— trust you with her heart, ————————? Can he trust you with his hopes,
———————— ? Faithfulness is the absence of the fear of betrayal. It is the loyalty of love.

Gentleness, the next virtue, is softness of voice, twinkle of eye, and lightness of step. It’s a hug and sometimes a shrug. It’s a rose in the vase, a candle by the plate, a card on the pillow. It’s the lift of love.

Self-control, the final virtue in Paul’s list, is love maturing. It’s the discipline of daily discipleship which ties all the other virtues together. These character qualities, after all, can only be acquired by living a life totally yielded to Jesus Christ, and totally filled with His Spirit. This list of happy ingredients is called, for this reason, the fruit of the Spirit.

This simply means that the Spirit-filled husband and wife will be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. In essence, Christ Himself will be living through you, and you will be growing in His image.

That alone makes marriage meaningful, and a home happy.

If you then have thus been led by the Holy Spirit to take one another as life-partners, and if this marriage is, from the beginning, to be committed to Jesus Christ, will you please join your right hands for the exchanging of your vows and repeat after me:

In taking the woman I hold by the right hand to be my wedded wife, before God and these witnesses I promise to love her, to honor her and cherish her in this relationship, and leaving all others, cleave only unto her, in all things a true and faithful husband, as long as we both shall live.

In taking the man I hold by the right hand to be my wedded husband, before God and these witnesses I promise to love him, to honor him and cherish him in this relationship, and leaving all others, cleave only unto him, in all things a true and faithful wife, as long as we both shall live.

Then you are each given to the other for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death shall you part.

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