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A Wedding Homily for the Christian Bride and Groom By George O. Wood How can a wedding sermon minister to all at the wedding: the bride and groom; family and friends; the married, single, and divorced; young, old, and in between; the believer and nonChristians? How can the minister share the gospel through the wedding homily without being preachy? This sample wedding homily simply sets forth the biblical ideal of the married state and provides a window through which everyone can look into the beauty of God's intention for a couple and for what life can be with Christ at the center. There ought to be a way we could take this moment with all its simple, elegant beauty and place it in a treasury box as we would a glistening, priceless diamond. But precious events are not like precious things -- we cannot store them in some container. This moment, instead, will find its trysting place as a precious jewel in the treasury of your hearts. As you return to this moment in your memory throughout you? Life together, you may draw strength and warmth from reciting three words that make your relationship so special: Friends. Partners. Christians. Friends. You are friends. How unthinkable it would be not to be married to your best friend, your very best friend. A friend is the one you desire to be with, the one you can really be at home with, the one you can talk to about anything, the one who listens. A true friend is loyal, one whom you can laugh with, cry with, play with, work with, dream with, and pray with. The poet expressed it well when these words of friendship come from the groom's lips to his bride: "Come, grow old with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life For which the first was made." Good friendship does not take place nor is it maintained by chance. Friendship requires the giving of time, the readiness to be vulnerable, the putting away of secrecy, the putting on of consideration and kindness. Some marriages have two lonely people as husband and wife -- lonely but physically in the same house, the same room, the same bed. Lonely not because of isolation from one another but because of insulation -- barricades thrown up around the borders of the heart imprisoning the self within. Know no loneliness together. Be friends. Partners. You are partners. You entered this sanctuary today through two different doors. You will leave through one door

-- together. You stand here today at this altar as individuals from two different homes; you have journeyed from two different directions to this sacred meeting place. Here you take vows that forever alter your relationships to your families and to each other. You acquire a title here you never had before: husband and wife. Henceforth, you are meant to walk with each other, partners in the grace of life. How does this partnership work? Can two separate and distinct persons become one, as the Scripture says? The key to partnership is this word from Paul, "Submit yourselves one to another" or, "be servant to one another." [groom's name], you will serve [bride's name] by loving her as Jesus loves His people. You must take the lead in being the servant, even as Jesus took a towel and served His disciples by washing their feet. To you, [groom's name] (falls the initiative in communication, in tenderness, in vulnerability, in forgiveness, in restoring conversation when it is lost, in self-sacrifice. [bride's name], you will serve [groom's name] by submitting to him as the Church does to Christ. You serve [groom's name] by affirming his identity and dreams, by leaving the arm of your father and taking his, by pouring the oil of your presence upon the needs of his life, by joyfully responding to the leadership he gives. True partnership comes by your both acting together, not waiting for the other to love or to submit but both mutually serving one another. Christians. You are Christians. Put simply, that means you belong to Christ -- not by virtue of the church you belong to nor the families from which you have come but Christians of your own choice. One of the most beautiful pictures of marriage in the Bible is that of the first husband and wife walking with God in the Garden during the cool of the day. Jesus came into life to give us once more the opportunity of walking with God. What a loss not to have fellowship and friendship with God; to begin the day without knowing Him; to eat meals without blessing Him; to have needs and not tell Him; to bear children and raise them without Him; to be absent from His people never to serve in His name; to be absent of the love He brings, the peace He provides, the joy He inspires, the strength He imparts. You know Him. There was a moment in your lives when you made conscious decisions to invite Him into your hearts. You have not let the decisions stand as though they were some idle, isolated events of the past. You have acted on them. You follow Him. You believe Him for eternal life, for salvation. You know He is bringing you personal fulfillment in life. You know when you lie down and when you rise there is a God to love and serve, and His name is Jesus.

As God may bring children to your marriage, they will be reared in an atmosphere where Jesus' name is used in praise and not in curse, where He is the Partner to every moment, the unseen Guest at every dinner, the silent Listener to every conversation. This Jesus is Lord, and He will establish your home on a rock of security that nothing can shake. Welcome to these vows and this altar of prayer. Come to this sacred moment -- a moment unique and, therefore, completely precious in your life together: friends, partners, and Christians. The Father is here to say, "I bless you." The Son is here to say, "I love you." The Holy Spirit is here to say, "I am with you." Receive then the grace of God: the blessing of the Father, the love of the Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. George O. Wood, D.Th.P., is general superintendent of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Springfield, Missouri.


A Wedding Homily for the Christian Bride and Groom

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