Welcome to the celebration of Christian Marriage for Johannah Bluedorn and Adam Stanford. They have chosen to share with you, their families and friends, this newest step of joy in their lives. We rejoice with them in their solemn commitment before God as we share this special time with them.
Prayer of invocation by the Pastor.
Only two persons enter into a marriage. God’s word teaches that each person leaves father and mother and clings only to the chosen marriage partner. When you enter marriage, old things pass away, and all things become new. Your unique relationship grows as you learn to look only to one another for support, love, comfort and strength. Affirming this new relationship then, who gives this bride in Christian Marriage?
Father answers — “I Do”
Marriage is a gift from God. The oldest concern of God for humans was that man should not be alone. So God, in his own unique, loving way, created the first woman in order that life could be shared by the first couple. They fulfilled their own lives in each other, and shared with God in creating all new life. Jesus affirmed Genesis when he said: “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they two will become one flesh’.” (Matt. 19:4-6)
Christian Marriage is not based upon the feelings of the moment, or even of a longer period of time. It is not founded upon the compatibility of the persons you have become to this time. You will each continue to grow, and to change throughout your lives together. Marriage is based on a covenant – a sacred promise you make before God and these witnesses. You cannot keep your feelings the same throughout life. You cannot keep your partner the same. BUT YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PROMISES. Your promises then, given by faith to the Heavenly Father and to one another, become the basis for your marriage to one another.
Christian Marriage is a faith covenant. It demands trust, openness of life and thought, freedom from suspicion and doubt, and the willingness to speak the truth in love. Faith in God and in one another will protect you from destructive jealousy and guide you to great joy as you each continue to mature in your own lives, in your relationship to one another, and to Christ.
Christian Marriage is also a covenant of hope. In hope each of you pledge yourselves to always seek to see the best in one another, to interpret each others behavior with understanding and compassion. It means always expecting the very best for and from the other, and always helping the other to become their best in all things. This ceremony does not open to you a secret garden of wonder and delight for the rest of your lives. At its best, it offers you a plot of ground, a packet of seeds and a shovel and hoe. You will have the Garden you agree on, work together for, and believe in.
Your marriage is also a covenant of Love. Not only as the world loves, thinking of pleasing ones own self, but that special quality of love that is described in scripture: 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. 13:4-8, N.I.V.)
Adam Michael Stanford, in taking this woman to be your wife, I require your solemn promise before God and these witnesses that you will love, honor and protect her, be faithful to her in all things, and, forsaking all others, hold only to her as long as you both shall live. Do you so promise?
Johannah Leah Bluedorn, in taking this man to be your husband, I require your solemn promise before God and these witnesses that you will love honor and obey him, be faithful to him in all things, and forsaking all others, hold only to him as long as you both shall live. Do you so promise?
Since you are prepared to take one another as marriage partners, please face one another, join your right hands, and repeat the vows of your marriage.
I, Adam, take you Johannah, – to be my wife – to live together under God – so long as we both shall live – I will love you truly – in sickness and health, – in poverty and plenty, – in sorrow and joy. I choose you now – and for each new day – I will keep this covenant – with you and our Lord.
I, Johannah, take you Adam, – to be my husband – to live together under God – so long as we both shall live – I will love you truly – in sickness and health, – in poverty and plenty, – in sorrow and joy. I choose you now – and for each new day – I will keep this covenant – with you and our Lord.
Your rings are the visible sign of the covenant you make this day. It is a circle, to remind you of the endless nature of your promise and your joys. After the flood, God gave the rainbow with the promise “When I look on the rainbow, I will remember the covenant I have made with you.” (Genesis 9:16 paraphrased) Wear these rings as your own covenant sign. Look at them often and renew daily the promises you have given to each other on this day.
Exchange of Rings – Each will say — With this ring, I thee wed.
Prayer by Pastor
Please join your right hands.
Adam and Johannah, in light of your vows before God, your intention to be married to each other so long as you both shall live, in accordance with the laws of God and of the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
I am happy to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Adam Stanford.
Reception following at Lake Storey Pavillion in Galesburg, Illinois.