Hollie and I are finally married! Sorry for the long delay in writing about this and making it “official” on this blog. My life has been super busy over the past several months, especially the days leading up to the wedding itself. We got married on June 4th and everything worked out wonderfully. Praise God in His providence that everything fell into place at just the right time.
As I’m writing this, we’re on our honeymoon down here in Massanutten (a resort in the Shenandoah Valley). It’s such a beautiful place. Tomorrow we’re going hiking and there will be plenty of other activities. I promise that when the professional pictures of the wedding finally arrive, I will post a link to them. And yes, I’ll be taking pictures during our honeymoon as well. We have been blessed in so many ways by so many people. God has been so good to us and we praise Him for His grace.
Many thanks to Pastor Steve for performing the wedding ceremony. He is an amazing pastor and brother in Christ. We are in debt to him. Our wedding liturgy was adapted from that of the Christian Reformed Church (the 1979 version). Pastor Steve tweaked it just a bit (in a good way) and everything turned out great. This was in addition to Pastor Steve’s own commentary on the institution of marriage and the appropriate Scripture readings. I’ve taken the liberty of posting the bulk of the liturgy below…
Declaration of Purpose
We have come together before the face of God to join Joshua and Hollie in marriage. We seek to honor the will of God for marriage, the concern of the Christian church for its well-being, and the orderly development of society.
God, our Father, we praise you for making and redeeming us to live together in love. We thank you for the love and trust which bring Joshua and Hollie to this their marriage day. Favor them with the honor of your presence at their wedding. Unite them by your Spirit so that together they may reflect the love of Christ for his church. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Institution and Meaning of Marriage
In marriage, as instituted by God, a man and a woman covenant to live together in a lifelong, exclusive partnership of love and fidelity (Gen. 2:18; Matt. 19:5-6). The apostle Paul sees the union of husband and wife as a symbol of the union between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:31-32). If marriage is to be pleasing in the sight of God, those who enter into this covenant of life must share a common commitment to the Lord of life.
In putting his blessing on a marriage, God intended that it would provide:
* a context within which husband and wife can help and comfort each other and find companionship;
* a setting within which we may give loving and tender expression to the desires God gave us;
* a secure environment within which children may be born and taught to know and serve the Lord; and
* a structure that enriches society and contributes to its orderly function.
When these purposes are prayerfully pursued in union with Christ, the kingdom of God is advanced and the blessedness of husband and wife assured.
In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul admonishes all Christians to develop a mutual respect and love when he says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” When he applies this to the marriage relationship, he instructs the wife to be subject to her husband as the church is subject to Christ, its head. He also instructs the husband to pattern his love for his wife after the example of Christ’s love for his body, the church. Paul says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord,” and “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” In marriage this requires that the husband and wife serve each other by providing the love, nurture, and faith which will enrich their lives together and build a Christ-centered home.
Our sinful and selfish tendency to break down what God has built threatens marriage with tensions, agony, and even with broken bonds. People who marry in the Lord, however, may trust that he will lead them and graciously provide for their needs when they follow the biblical pattern for love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8a).
Declaration of Intent
Joshua and Hollie, now that you have heard God’s message concerning marriage, do you agree with it and do you commit yourselves to each other in accordance with it? Each answers: I do.
Exchange of Vows
In the presence of God and before these people I now invite you to exchange your vows.
Groom: I take you, Hollie, to be my wife and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful husband, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and give myself up for you, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.
Bride: I take you, Joshua, to be my husband, and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful wife, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and submit to you, as the church loves and submits to Christ. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.
Exchange of Rings
Groom: Hollie, I give you this ring as a symbol of our covenant in Christ.
Bride: Joshua, I give you this ring as a symbol of our covenant in Christ.
Declaration of Marriage
As a minister of the church of Christ and by the authority which this commonwealth has vested in me, I now pronounce you, Joshua and Hollie, husband and wife, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matt. 19:6).