Last night we shared a meal with the extended family of the man our daughter will be marrying. Today we will set up the hall and tonight we’ll rehearse the ceremony. Tomorrow we’ll meet at my daughter’s home to bless their relationship (an Ethiopian tradition); then have the formal wedding ceremony outdoors and finally, share a meal together with friends and family.
These are the activities, but the heart of marriage is the life that begins after the circus. I love the way our Lutheran order of worship puts it:
The Lord God in his goodness created us male and female, and by the gift of marriage founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come. Because of sin, our age-old rebellion, the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of the family can become a burden. But because God, who established marriage, continuest still to bless it with his abundant and wever-present support, we can be sustained in our weariness and have our joy restored.
With this in mind here is our blessing, the Scripture readings I would read and the prayer I will offer them…
May God the Father make you fruitful and multiply, sustaining you through all of life’s needs. May God the Son who has forgiven you enable you to constantly forgive one another. May God the Holy Spirit lead you to know the fullness of God and the life He desires for you. Finally, we bless you as your parents with our support and love today and throughout this journey together.
4 Jesus answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. – Ephesians 5
My prayer for them…
Heavenly Father, out of Your goodness You created us male and female, and by the gift of marriage founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come. However, we also know that in this life the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of the family can become a burden. We give you thanks that because You established marriage, that You will continue to bless it with Your abundant and ever-present support, and that we can be sustained in our weariness and have our joy restored.
Lord God, we bless you for the joy which Biya and Marleah have found in each other, and pray that You would give them such a sense of your constant love that they might serve You and the world You love.
Faithful Lord, source of love, pour down Your grace upon Biya and Marleah, that they may fulfill the vows they have made this day and reflect Your steadfast love in their life-long faithfulness to each other. Use us to support their life together; and from Your great store of strength give them power and patience, affection and understanding, courage, and love toward You, toward each other, and toward the world, that they may continue together in mutual growth according to your will in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Finally, gracious Father, You bless the family and renew Your people. Enrich all husbands and wives, parents and children more and more with your grace, that, strengthening and supporting each other, they may serve those in need and be a sign of the fulfillment of your perfect kingdom, where, with your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign, one God through all ages of ages. Amen.