Summary: Wedding Ceremony
July 30, 2005
Elizabeth Barrett Browning gave us a beautiful expression of love when she wrote:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! And if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. (Sonnets to the Portuguese)
There have been many beautiful expressions of love given to us through the years. One of my favorites is the story of how Jacob loved Rachel and served her father fourteen years to gain her hand in marriage. The Bible says concerning these years, “They seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for her.” (Genesis 29:20)
As we share in this wedding ceremony, it is well that we remember that in the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, He concluded, “It is not good for man to be alone.” So, He created woman to share in man’s life – to assist in man’s striving; to satisfy man’s need. He created the woman to be loved, honored and adored by man.
This is marriage, and it is for the purpose of joining Clint Guthrie and Heather Johnson in marriage that we have come together today. The marriage of two Christians is viewed by God as an occasion of great joy since it marks the beginning of a relationship that is second only to our personal relationship with the Lord Himself. But it is only through Christ that marriage becomes what God intends it to be. Let us acknowledge His place in this ceremony and see His blessing on this union as we go to God in a word of prayer.
Who presents Heather to be joined to Clint in marriage?
Lighting of Candles
Our God of love has established marriage as the symbol of Christ’s perfect love for His covenant people. We have come today to bring you as one before Him.
Clint, God has ordained the man as the spiritual head, as the responsible provider, and as the initiator of love in this human relationship. By His enablement, your strength must be your wife’s protection, your character must be her boast and pride, and you must so live that she will find in you the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
Heather, it is God’s purpose that you be a loving wife, that you respond to your husband’s love in tenderness with a deep sense of understanding, through a great faith in Christ who brought you together. It is His desire that you have that inner beauty of soul that never fades; that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.
Christian marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two persons, uniting and joining hands to serve God. Seek His kingdom first, and His righteousness, and He will add all other things to you. Nothing is easier than saying words and making promises, and nothing is harder than living them day-by-day. What you promise today must be lived tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow thereafter. Do not expect perfection from each other; do not minimize each other’s weaknesses, but always be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths and see each other through kind and patient eyes.
God will lead you into situations that will bless you, and those which will develop your character as you walk together. As you look to Him, He will give you enough tears to keep you tender, enough hurts to keep you compassionate, enough of failure to keep your hands clenched tightly in His, and enough of success to make you certain that you walk with Him.
May He remain the central figure in your relationship together. May you never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that wonder that remembers that of all the people in the world, you have been chosen to spend a life with. It is my hope and prayer that when you come to the end of life’s journey that you love each other more than you even do today.
As an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, I want to ask you to join hands.