Wedding Ceremony (Mark 10:6-9)
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1. Seating of the Grandparents (Song: ___________)
· Seating of the Groom’s Grandmother (Escorted by _________)
· Seating of the Bride’s Grandmother (Escorted by _________)
2. Seating of the Parents (Song: _____________)
· Seating of the Groom’s Parents (Escorted by _________)
· Seating of the Bride’s Mother (Escorted by _________)
· Pastor Mike will go center stage with Nick
3. Bridal Processional (Song: ___________)
· Wedding party enters down center isle (ending with Matron of Honor and Best Man)
· Flower Girl and Ring Bearer enter.
4. Wedding March (Song: ____________)
· Pastor Mike will announce “All Rise”
· Ashley and Pat will enter.
5. Opening Remark/Prayer (or called Invocation)
· “We are gathered here today in the sight of God, and the presence of friends and loved ones, to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments. Today, we give recognition to the worth and beauty of marriage as God has created it to be and to add best wishes and blessing to the words which shall unite Nick and Ashley together as one.”
· Nick and Ashley, I want you to take note off and look around for just a second at all the people who have come here today in support of you. These are the people that have cared for you, encouraged you, helped you grow. They’ve prayed for you, joked with you and likely about you, there are people here that have sometimes simply put up with you because they love you. But all have come here today because you have in some small way or another impacted their life and they today want to show you their appreciation of that and support you again in this great decision of marriage. What a privilege and blessing to have these kind of relationships in our life. This is what God intended to be so and to Him be the glory.
· I remind you audience… that though you have come to wish Nick and Ashley a joyful marriage. You also have another responsibility here as well. The Word of God tells us that we need to guard each one’s integrity and also to hold each other accountable to the decisions we make to protect one another. Marriage is holy covenant. A powerful promise before God. God created marriage in so many ways to represents our relationship with Christ and therefore we should treat it with the utmost care and responsibility, and especially in today’s culture, we need to guard it’s sanctity because God has told us so. Those gathered here, hold true and fast to your commitment. That you will do your best to strengthen, encourage, and protect this marriage as witnesses of it today. Nick and Ashley, again realize, what a blessing you have here. People who’s aim is to help you keep your marriage strong.
· “You may be seated at this time”
6. Giving Away of the Bride (Pastor Mike)
· Mark 10:6-8- “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
· Today, we get the privilege to witness this joining together, this uniting as one, however, before this is to occur, scripture states a man or woman must leave the care and the protection of his or her father and mother, and give it over to their spouse.
· So I ask, who gives this woman to be married to this man?
· Father of the Bride answers: “I do.”
· Nick will then go down and take Ashley by the arm
· The two will come forward and stand in front of Pastor Mike (arm in arm)
7. Challenge to the Bride and Groom
Well, it’s been my privilege to meet with Nick and Ashley and to see their growth as they seek this most precious gift of marriage. I’m excited to be part of this day as a minister of God’s gift and hopefully impart some truth to you that will guide you in your marriage. Marriages that don’t find their strength from the Word of God can never truly find all the wondrous blessings that come from this relationship. The Word of God is key to this relationship and I am thankful that you recognize this and desire to base your marriage on it. So let me take just a few minutes with you to share from its truth.
Read Mark 10:6-9
I heard about a couple who went to get their marriage license but when they got to the courthouse, there was a sign on the door with these words: “Out to lunch. Back at 1 o’clock. Think it over.”
I hope by now you’ve had plenty of time to think it over, I believe you have, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be here today. But I want us to again understand the truth of God’s design for marriage.
Quoting from the Book of Genesis, Jesus in Mark 6 gives each of you three things to think over relating to marriage.
1. Leaving. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother.” God says first of all that when we get married, we need to leave our parents. What this means is that you need to sever the emotional umbilical cord that is attaching you to your parents because your loyalty now belongs to your spouse. Your partner should never have to compete with your parents. Leaving your parents does not mean ignoring them or not spending any time with them. It means that your marriage created a new family and that this new family must be a higher priority than your previous family.
The Hebrew word is very strong and means “to cut off, abandon.” We’re never to abandon our completely our parents, that’s not what it is saying, but it is stressing that we must shift our allegiance so that priority is given to our spouse. I remember my mother giving me some solid advice that her father had told her when she was newly married. She and my father had gotten into a big disagreement in early in there marriage that had gotten her really upset. She being the only child and real close to her father, called home to get some advice. His response, in a rather sarcastic but serious tone, said something like this, “It’s your problem now, you figure it out.” Though it may sound as if he is coming across unsympathic, he was giving her the right piece of advice. He was no longer the leader of that home, he was not the one correct the husband, or make the big decision, that rested on the couple together to work it. This is the responsibility God has placed on this new home. Sure the parents and family can give advice, but ultimately all decisions must be made by the couple. This is what is means to “leave”.
2. Cleaving. “…and be united to his wife.” Second, God says that once you leave, you then need to be committed to permanence. The word “united” literally means to be permanently glued together -- “to melt two separate entities together to form a permanent bond.” It has the idea of joining two things so tightly that they cannot be separated without hurting both things.
It’s pretty easy to get married. It’s the living together that can be hard. Everything you have ever experienced, every blessing, every heartache, every gift and talent that has been developed, every hope and desire; expressed or unexpressed, every goal, every possession; all of these you are now giving to each other, and will continue to receive from each other during the rest of your lives. Of course, in the package, there also will be some not so desirable gifts: dirty socks, toilet seats left in the wrong position, the dishes that aren’t cleaned the right way, pets that aren’t fed, and even at times, a strong need to be right. In marriage you get it all. The good and the bad. But cleaving means to bring it all together. Choosing to hold on to all of it.
3. Weaving. “And the two will become one flesh.” Once leaving and cleaving take place, then you can experience weaving as you become one flesh. This phrase conveys the idea of complete oneness. This unity is to be experienced emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It’s a onceness that can only develop over time. It’s a lifelong process.
Marriage is not a contract.In a contract, the two parties remain separate, kind of like oil and water. They’re shaken up but not mixed together. Left alone they will eventually separate. Marriage is a covenant, the two become one and the same, much like mashed potatoes. You take two potatoes, one sweet, [that would be Ashley] the other one, regular (well that’s Nick), skin them, cut them up, put them in hot water, and then you mash them into one.
Nick to adequately care for Ashley, and Ashely to adequately care for Nick, you must commit to never stop getting to know each other. Intimate knowledge is again alifelong quest. It is a challenge of being faithful in your acceptance of this other person, in spite of the knowledge you will gain of them. Believe me, you will need all of the virtues/characteristics which God has provided, and many more that you will need to develop if you will make this work. Because what you find out about them, you may not always like. You may get frustrated at little quirks you never noticed. You may get irritated at things they may do. But put on God’s virtues to help keep you from being the selfish one in the relationship and destroying something beautiful. Virtues like, patience, sincerity, forgiveness, empathy, joyfulness, simplicity, thoughtfulness, and many more.
You will also find that your being together will create an atmosphere that will help these characteristics grow. You spouse was given to you to make you more like Christ. They will assist God in molding you, sharpening you, pushing you into things that you never done. It’s a wonderful blessing. Allow that into your life. Welcome their correction, their advice, their words.
And in it, your home will be like a garden,; you will enjoy the fruit, but only if your devotion to each other is pure and faithful. If you honor each other, love each other, if you treat each other the way God has told you to treat one another other, others will benefit from it too. Ephesians tells us in chapter 5:23-33 that marriage is a symbol of Christ’s love for the church. His love is immense, it’s unique, it’s unexplainable, it’s a great mystery. Your marriage is the thing that represents this great mystery. Of all the symbolism God could have chosen to use to represent His love for us the church, He chose marriage. Therefore, we must view marriage as one of the ultimate witnessing tools of God’s love. When we love our spouse, when we submit to each other, when we live in accordance and in faithfulness to each other, it speaks powerful words to this world of the love of Christ. View your marriage in this way. It’s an important beacon of light.
Nick and Ashley, your marriage matters to the Lord. God’s objective for marriage is a loving relationship of oneness. Jesus said it in Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Divorce can never be an option, never be an escape. You are making a commitment now to be faithful to the end just like God has made a commitment to be faithful to us. Be vigilant to guard your vows and determine to keep them, even when your feelings change and God will bless you marriage bountifully.
8. The Unity Symbol (knot)
As we move into the unity symbol, I want to read some verses from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
This passage beautifully describes the need for companionship in our life. Two are better than one for they can accomplish far more together. But even greater than binding 2 is the need to bind 3. Though not shown clearly in this passage, God is the ultimate cord that will bind all things perfectly together. We read from scripture in 1 John, that it is God who has taught us to love. Love comes from God. Faithfulness a virtue we long for in marriage is an attribute that God perfectly possesses. God being woven into this marriage, fitting the picture here of 3 cords bond together, will not allow this marriage to faulter. Though your love for each other should be great, it must always come second to the love you have for God. If this be true, your marriage will always remain, and God will bless greatly. Trials will come, but remember just like this cord, when tension comes trying to pull at you, you will find strength as you draw near to each other and to God.
Today, Nick and Ashley will be woven together by God as ONE in marriage! God, Man, and Woman, and as a keepsake for remembrance of this truth, Nick and Ashley have chosen to weave these three cords into one before you today.
(when finished, couple will come back in front of me)
“PLEASE JOIN HANDS” (face each other)
· “It is now the time for us to witness the confession of mutual love and faithfulness as Nick and Ashley proclaim their vows to one another. They come today seeking the blessing and guidance of Christ as they lawfully and happily be joined by Him in marriage. These pledges are to be affirmed by Nick and Ashley by the saying of “I Will.” This statement of “I Will” is a battle cry, it is a call to action that says that no matter what happens in life… I will stay continually faithful to the one I have made this covenant to today. It is not just a promise they have made once for a time but a commitment that will last for a lifetime.
· So Nick, do you take Ashley to be your wife and do you promise before God and these witnesses that you will be to her a true and devoted husband, true to her in sickness and in health, true to her in joy and in sorrow, true to her in prosperity and in adversity, forsaking all others, keeping yourself to her and her alone, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her, cherish her, and lead her and protect her by the will and help of God as long as you both shall live?
i. Nick says… “I WILL”
· Ashley, do you take Nick to be your husband and do you promise before God and these witnesses that you will be to him a true and devoted wife, true to him in sickness and in health, true to him in joy and in sorrow, true to him in prosperity and adversity, forsaking all others, keeping yourself to him and him alone, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with him, cherish him and submit to him as you submit to Christ as long as you both shall live?
i. Ashley says…. “I WILL”
10. Ring Ceremony (or Exchanging of Rings)
· In marriage, rings are often exchanged. The decoration of the ring may not be too important but the symbolism associated with them is. A wedding ring is, of course, a universal sign to the outside world that the wearer is committed to another. To you, the ring provides a reminder of union and the promises that have been made. The rings you bring here today are, in many ways, representing of the very nature of love and marriage. Made in a circle, their design tells us that love must never come to an end; it must always be continuous. Ashely, being in the medical field, you might appreciate this fact. For many the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. This is because the vein in this finger was believed to lead directly to the wearer's heart. As you notice, the rings are often used of precious metals and diamonds. Beautiful on the outside but also durable. Able to weather the toughest of hardships. These rings will not always shine as brightly as they do today. But so is true in the marriage relationship, they are subject to the wear and tear of daily life. From time to time they must be cleaned and polished up, just as from time to time your marriage relationship must be refreshed and renewed. Nick and Ashley, as you exchange these rings today, be aware that in your life together you will go through many cycles. This is just the beginning of a long journey. As you go through your life journey together, remember that your love for each other and your commitments to one another are never ending, they are rare and precious and by God’s grace and strength will sustain you throughout the journey ahead.
· Nick, Do you possess a token of your love and affection to give to your bride this day as a seal of this sacred covenant.
· Nick, please repeat after me these words then place the ring on Ashley’s finger.
With this ring,
I marry you
And bind my life to yours
It is a symbol of my eternal love,
My everlasting friendship,
And the promise of all my tomorrows.
· And Ashley, Do you possess a token of your love and affection to give your husband this day as a seal of this sacred covenant?
· Please repeat after me these words then place the ring on Nick’s finger.
With this ring,
I marry you
And bind my life to yours
It is a symbol of my eternal love,
My everlasting friendship,
And the promise of all my tomorrows.
The Pronouncement of the Couple
· Therefore since Nick and Ashley have pledged their love and faith to each other, sealed their vows in the giving and receiving of rings and have expressed their complete and pure dedication to one another before God and our gathering here today then it is by the authority granted to me by the Lord Jesus Christ and His church, I do now pronounce you husband and wife. “What God has joined together, let no man separate.”
· Nick, you may kiss your bride.
11. Presentation of the Couple
· It is now my great privilege and honor to announce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Nick Johnston
12. Recession of Couple
13. Closing Comments and Dismassal
· Instructions regarding the reception
· Immediate family
· The rest of the congregation