Church and Leadership:
Sample Wedding with Sand Ceremony
by Ed Vasicek
Marriage Ceremony of John Doe and Jane Smith
Please be seated.
We are gathered together here in the sight of God and in the face of this company to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony. Marriage is commended in Godís Word to be honorable among all men: therefore, it is not to be entered into lightly but reverently, advisedly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate, these two persons come now to be joined.
(to the father of the bride) Who gives this woman to be married to this man?
(father responds) Her mother and I do.
Let us pray for John and Jane (for things like new lives together, trials and joys, Lord of lives, empower to keep vows, etc.).
(In preparation of the scripture reading during prayer, Fred Jones comes forward to his reading position.)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13
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.ÖAnd now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a help mate.....' Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh."
"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."
"As the Scriptures say, 'A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
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.
(to the groom) John, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together after Godís ordinance of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her so long as you both shall live? Do you so promise?
(groom responds) I do.
(to the bride) Jane, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after Godís ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you submit to him and serve him, love, honor and keep him in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live? Do you so promise?
(bride responds) I do.
"The Wedding Song," with Sally Zukowski, vocalist, and Theodore Linguini, accompanist.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." Although men are to take the lead, both husband and wife are called upon to exercise strong love within a marriage and a family. From this simple text, we can make a few deductions.
So, John and Jane, when you are confused as to what love is, remember the pricetag God paid because of his great love for you, and find strength there to love one another through thick and thin, through times both good and bad.
(to the groom) John, please, repeat after me. "I, John, take thee, Jane, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to Godís holy Word, and to you, I pledge my love."
(to the bride) Jane, please repeat after me. "I, Jane, take thee, John, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and serve till death do us part, according to Godís holy Word, and to you, I pledge my love."
The wedding ring is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible spiritual bond that unites two loyal hearts in endless love. As the ring is circular in shape and has no beginning or ending, so it is a symbol of love that know no bounds.
John, do you have a ring to give as a token of your love for Jane?
(groom responds) I do.
Repeat after me. "With this ring, I thee wed and pledge my love to you alone."
Jane, do you have a ring to give as a token of your love for John?
(bride responds) I do.
Then repeat after me. "With this ring, I thee wed and pledge my love to you alone."
Sand is a common substance on planet earth as bountiful as the stars in the universe. God promised Abraham that He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea.
A container of sand holds many grains. So a human being is a multifaceted and complex individual with many talents, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. When we marry, we join all that we are to another. We combine our lives into one greater vessel.
But God is Sovereign and the foundation for a Christian marriage. The white sand in the larger flask represents the presence and blessing of God, our sure foundation.
As the sand in these two containers is poured into the third container, the original, individual samples of sand no longer exist but are joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives together as a married couple be intertwined as you become one flesh with God as the basis of the relationship.
Our Great God,
We thank You for Your grace. It is Your grace that saves us. It is Your grace that provides strength for daily living, and it is Your grace that blesses with great joys. We rejoice in Your ordination of marriage. Thank You for leading John and Jane together by Your grace.
Lord, we are all sinners, and when two become one, their unity will always be imperfect because we are imperfect. Yet, in Christ, we are a new creation, and Your Spirit is transforming us into the character of Christ.
Help this couple to be considerate of one another, to be forgiving, to practice patience day after day and year after year, and to confront one another when necessary. Keep them far away from sarcasm and contempt. May they express themselves honestly and openly. Help them to work as a team, each looking out for the good of the other.
God, unless You build the house, they labor in vain who build it. We pray, our gracious Father, that You would build this house.
Accomplish Your will in this marriage and glorify Your Name. Help Jane and John to love one another as friends, as brother and sister in Christ, and as man and wife. May they not forget they are friends. Nurture their friendship, we ask. May they not forget they are followers of Jesus Christ. Help them to remember the call to build up one another spiritually as brothers and sisters in Christ are meant to do. Marriage does not replace friendship nor our place in the Body of Christ.
As man and wife, help this bride and groom to relate to each other as Christ, the groom, does to His bride, the Church. The Savior leads but does not coerce. The church follows the direction of her Savior.
Jesus gave His life for the church offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins to the Father. In Gethsemane, Jesus did not feel like dying for the church, but He did what was in the church's best interest even when that best interest ran contrary to His feelings. Help this bride and groom to remember that love means sacrifice.
Just as Christ rose to newness of life on that first Easter Sunday, so You, O Father, bless and exalt those who serve You and follow Your plan.
And so, Lord, John and Jane enter the marriage covenant with faith in You. We pray that You would bless and guide them throughout their lives, grant them peace and harmony, and we pray that You would help them observe the vows they make today. We ask all these things in Jesus' Name, Amen.
Pronouncement and Kiss
What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.
Forasmuch as John and Jane have consented together in holy matrimony, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and have given and pledged their love to each other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving rings, I pronounce that they are man and wife.
You may kiss the bride.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.
Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA