Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Wedding Resources

Wedding Scripture Readings

Sample Wedding Sermon from Professor Thomas H. Troeger

I found this example of a wedding sermon in Thomas Troeger’s book titled Imagining a Sermon. If you (the reader of this post) have the book, it is on pages 44 -47. This message is easily adaptable for various wedding circumstances and renewal of vows.  The book is out of print, but there are few copies still available for purchase on half.com (NO, I am not on commission; YES, I recommend this book) N-Joy!

A Sample Visual Sermon for the Mass Media Generation

I once met a couple who told me that every  anniversary they donned their wedding clothes and had their picture taken in the living room of their house. They planned to do this throughout their life together and to collect the photographs in a single album.

As you, Catherine and Jonathan, stand before this congregation in your wedding clothes, I am remembering that other couple. I imagine them on their fifth anniversary, coming down to the living room for their annual picture. She is in her white gown, and he is wearing his three-piece suit and formal tie. They are waiting for their next door neighbor who has gone to get some extra flashcubes.

The first four years, they hired a professional photographer, but this has not been a good year for them financially. The husband lost his job. The wife is only able to get part-time employment, and their second child is having medical problems.

Finally their neighbor arrives. He positions them in front of the fireplace and suggests they hold hands, the way they did  when they said their vows, the way you Catherine and Jonathan , will do in a few minutes when you say yours.

While their friend fidgets with the focus, the wife notices the stuffing that is coming out of the sofa and wishes they had money to redo it. The husband sees their daughter’s broken doll and thinks of one he saw in a shop window but could not afford.

Flash! “That’s picture number one,” says their friend.

While he steps back for another angle, the wife says to the husband, “Do you remember our vows? We memorized them.”

They think a minute, then slowly repeat together: “I promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your faithful and loving wife/husband [the two word sound at once] for better for worse, for richer for poorer….”

POORER. The word bursts like the flashcube on their friend’s camera and highlights the stack of bills  on the table beneath the phone and the calendar marked with doctor’s appointments they cannot afford. A look leaps between them.

“We promised.”

The camera flashes again.

“That will be a good one,” exclaims their friend.

Next I picture the couple ten years later. Things are much better for them financially. The husband has a good job. The wife went back to school and has just taken an excellent position. The colonial love seats by the fireplace have been recovered in a quilted chintz. Each of the children has a ten-speed bicycle in the garage.

But the husband and wife have thrown acid words at each other. The second child, after all those trips to the doctor, is in trouble. Each partner said to each other: “If you were not so preoccupied with your job and could give some time to the family, then things would be different.”

On their fifteenth anniversary they come home and say they are too tired to get into the old wedding clothes. Then they remember that the photographer is coming in twenty minutes and has probably already left his studio and will charge them for the visit no matter what. So they trek up to the attic and throw themselves into the musty clothes, discovering that they have to suck in to get the zippers shut.

The doorbell rings.

The photographer comes in and takes control. “Come on now. Hold hands. A smile for the camera.”

While the photographer clicks away, they get lost in the moment and begin to repeat the vow: “I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife/husband for better for worse….”

WORSE flashes as brightly as poorer did ten years before, and again the look leaps between them: “We promised.”

Finally I picture their forty-seventh anniversary. They  do not know whether they will make it to their fiftieth. He has had two heart attacks, and her hands are crooked  with arthritis . Their granddaughter, herself engaged, is upstairs bringing down the old clothes. The dress has yellowed, and when the wife puts it on she tears a seam. The husband cannot get the trousers zipped, but if the picture is from the waist up and he buttons the coat, it will be all right.

He takes his wife’s hands, her knuckles swollen and knobby, and out of their faltering bodies arise in a  whisper the sacred pledge: “I do covenant before God and these witnesses to be your faithful and loving wife/husband for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part.”

IN SICKNESS… UNTIL DEATH…. Words that had slipped easily out of their mouths  on their wedding day are now heavy with meaning.

“I’ve got to go upstairs for more film,” says the granddaughter.

But they are not listening. In looking into each other’s eyes, they see something more beautiful than the prize pictures in their anniversary album: the grace and the glory of a promise kept.

That is our prayer for you, Catherine and Jonathan, that for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part, you may know the grace and the glory of the promise kept. May God, who has made an everlasting covenant with us, grant you strength to keep your covenant for a lifetime.

List of Works cited:

Troeger, Thomas H. “Imagining a Sermon.” Troeger, Thomas H. Imagining a Sermon. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990. 44-47.

Some Holy Humor

10 Signs You Should Not be Getting Married in a Church

  1. You find yourself asking the clergy to take all the references to Jesus out of the service.
  2. You find yourself dreading your next meeting with the minister.
  3. You find yourself dreading the service, worried that the minister will say something too religious.
  4. You disagree with the core values of the church.
  5. You find the core values of the church so uninteresting that you can just tune them out, no problem.
  6. You are not a member of any faith community and neither one of you intends to be.
  7. This location feels like a choice you both are making for somebody else, rather than for yourselves.
  8. You and your partner have never talked about religion, and you have serious doubts that you will ever be able to.
  9. This experience feels like just another wedding transaction, one more service provider to check off the list.
  10. You can’t wait for the reception.

10 Signs You Might be in the Right Place After All

  1. You have drifted from the church, but as you prepare for your wedding you find yourself seeking a community of faith.
  2. You enjoy meeting the minister and appreciate the chance to focus on matters of the spirit in the midst of wedding planning stress.
  3. You have worshipped here and found yourself moved.
  4. You want your marriage to be associated with this place and its core values.
  5. You can imagine the members of this church holding you in prayer.
  6. You sense that your marriage is about more than the two of you.
  7. You find yourself praying.
  8. This experience is causing you and your partner to talk about your faith and your aspirations for a faith community as a couple.
  9. You don’t have it all figured out yet, but this church feels like a blessing to start you on your way.
  10. You can’t wait for the wedding.

Reprinted from an article by Lillian Daniel posted here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lillian-daniel/10-signs-you-should-not-be-getting-married-in-a-church_b_1661514.html

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