My cousin Nathan co-officiated the ceremony along with the home pastor, who I have known since being confirmed at the church. They welcomed our guests, called God to witness the union, and began the traditional ceremony by explaining the institution off marriage as believed by Lutheran teaching.
"We welcome you to witness the union of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. it is an honorable estate, instituted by Christ before humanity's fall into sin.
Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly, or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purpose for which it was instituted by God. The union of man and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for mutual companionship, health, and support that each person will receive from the other, both in prosperity and in adversity. Marriage was also ordained so that man and woman may find delight in one another, therefore all persons in marriage should pick their spouse in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust where God has not called us to impurity, but holiness. God also established marriage for the appropriation of children, who are to be brought up in the instruction of the Lord, so that they may also offer Him praise. For these reasons, God has established this holy state that Kenneth and Meagan wish to enter. They desire our prayers as they begin their marriage in the Lord's name and with His blessing."
My cousin Melinda stepped forward for the first reading, from the Book of Ruth.
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.The passage from Ruth is one of my favorite verses, and has double meaning to me. Not only does it speak to me about marriage, but since Ruth was actually speaking to her mother-in-law, I think it is also appropriate in terms of joining a new family. I didn't just get a husband that day, but a mother-in-law, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a slew of cousins. Our families came together with this union, and that is why I chose it. When Melinda finished, her older sister Rachel followed with the second reading, from the Book of Ephesians.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The girls did the readings beautifully, and got compliments all night about them. Still, people were surprised at my choice of the second passage, but as we had discussed it with Nathan in our pre-marital counseling, it was very meaningful. He began the sermon and spoke beautifully. He is an enthusiastic and devout man. I am honored to have him speak to our guests on our behalf. He articulated our choice and the symbolism of the readings much better than I ever could have hoped to.
"Can you believe Meagan chose these readings? Can you believe she had her cousins read those words on her wedding day: wives, submit to your husbands? It sounds like knuckle-dragging Neanderthal language! Why on earth would Meagan and Kenny choose these words for the day when they are beginning their lives together? It is an interesting and legitimate question, if you go along with the way the world thinks. The world thinks this is archaic, it's out of date, it's, well, passe. But there is a reason that Meagan and Kenny picked these words: because they believe them.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. To understand why a gifted, talented, college-educated woman would allow these words to be read at her wedding, we must go further into the text. She also knows that God has presented to her, as a gift, a man that will love her in the way that Paul prescribes in Ephesians chapter five. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church. As we stand under this beautiful alter of a resurrected Christ, it is critical to understand the step before this. Jesus loved the church so much that He died for her."
"Kenny, by asking Meagan to be his wife, by asking her to do him the honor of spending the rest of their days together, is saying 'Meagan, I love you that much. I am willing to put you ahead of me.'
Wouldn't you willingly submit yourself to one who would willingly surrender his life for you? On a battlefield, if a soldier would surrender his life for the rest of his brigade, we would call it heroism! Today, we might roll our eyes and call it old-fashioned to use the same language about marriage. But, Meagan, you know better!"
"You know this and it makes sense for you to say, 'Yes, I will surrender to this man because he loves me this much, and I too will surrender myself to him. I will surrender the me for the sake of the we.' Because in this wonderful, mystical union that God has established, He takes two and makes them one. You will leave here in this divinely appointed, miraculous thing called Holy Marriage where you become extensions of one another by God's action."
"Yes I know that he asked and you said yes, but it wasn't by your direction. God designed you for this. He created you for this day, so that Meagan, you can say, 'Yes, I will submit myself to you' and so that Kenny, you can say 'Yes, and I will die for you.' And as we leave here, facing this one life together in marriage, we can do it in confidence because together you know the one who has called you to this day.When the sermon was complete, we declared our Intention. In some wedding ceremonies, this is the "I do's." As Nathan explained to us the night before, we were not going to say "I do." It implied that the statements we were making are just for that moment, that day, but we were pledging ourselves to the future, so our response would need to be different.
You have this precious gift. You are about to embark on this precious journey, and you go with the one who loves you. Amen."
Kenny, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife? To live together in the holiest state of matrimony as God has ordained it? Will you nourish and cherish her as Christ loved his bride, the Church, giving Himself up for her? Will you love, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, remain united with her alone, as long as you both shall live?
Meagan, will you have this man to be your wedded husband? To live together in the holiest state of matrimony as God has ordained it? Will you submit to him as the Church submits to Christ? Will you love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, remain united with him alone, as long as you both shall live?
Pastor Nathan then asked our parents to stand, as we did not come alone to this day. Mr LikesIt and I turned to look at our proud families, my parents on one side, his mother and grandparents on the other.
Do you give your consent to this and bless this couple?
Will you pray for and encourage Kenny and Meagan in their marriage, remembering at all times that God wills them to live together and keep their vows until they are parted by death?
In case you missed it ...
I bought a dress and completely changed it. We had a marathon final week of engagement. I giggled my way through our rehearsal. Mr LikesIt got grilled at our rehearsal dinner. The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous. We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts. The guys got fancy and then got dancy. I became a Bride. There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings. The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle.