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Continuing God's Story

A Wedding Ceremony

This wedding liturgy sets the bride and groom’s story in the context of God’s story. The entire ceremony took about 1 hour 15 minutes total. To help you with your planning, estimated times are included in parentheses behind each element.

If you wish, you may use multiple readers for the readings, which is a wonderful way to include children in the ceremony. Images, song lyrics, and congregational readings (which are not included in full here) were projected on a screen.

Prelude [5:00]

Seating of Parents and Grandparents [5:00]

Processional [2:00]

Bridal Processional [1:00]

Welcome

Pastor: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you.

Pastor: On behalf of [Bride] and [Groom], I would like to welcome you here to [place]. We are so glad you’ve decided to spend the next hour with us. This wedding may feel a little different than others you have been to. [Bride] and [Groom] would like to set their own story of love and commitment to each other within God’s story of love and commitment to his people and his whole creation.

The parts of this story are Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration—both the restoration that we already experience and the restoration that has not yet fully arrived. Please join us in telling this story by watching, listening, speaking, and singing. Your program will serve as a general guide, and images, congregational readings, and song lyrics will be projected on the screens. Please join in reading the bold portions of the text as they appear on the screens.

As family and friends we are gathered here in God’s presence to witness the marriage of [Bride] and [Groom], who stand before us in love, trust, and hope. They ask us to be present with them, and they ask us all to rejoice in their oneness and to share in their joy. [1:25]

Parental Blessing [0:33]

Pastor: [Bride’s parents] and [Groom’s parents], today [Bride] and [Groom] begin their married life. They are thankful for the encouragement and love they have received from you. Today, besides asking for God’s blessing upon their marriage, they also ask you to give them your blessing. [Parents], do you give your blessing on this marriage?

Parents of the Bride and Groom: We do.

The Creation

Pastor: In the beginning, God the Father, Son, and Spirit communed together in peace, joy, and love. Out of this loving relationship, God created a beautiful, good world. We human beings were created in God’s own image to rule his world in peace and to flourish—loving God, loving creation, and loving each other. [0:37]

Reading: Genesis 1 and 2, abridged [3:37]

Song: “How Great Thou Art” [2:10] LUYH 553, PH 267, PsH 483, TH 44, WR 51

[Following the song, the pastor invites people to be seated.]

The Fall

Pastor: Although God created the world good and created human beings very good, we rejected God and in doing so became shamefully estranged from one another and from creation. But even in that dark time, God promised to crush the powers of sin and death and save his people and his world. [0:27]

Reading: Genesis 2-3, abridged [3:32]

Call to Confession [0:18]

Pastor: We are no different than our ancestors Adam and Eve. We too reject God and become shamefully estranged from one another and from creation. Let us together confess our sins to God through the song “Pérdon, Señor.”

Song of Confession: “Perdón, Señor” [1:08] LUYH 642, SNC 59

The Redemption

Reading: Romans 5:6-11 [0:49]

Assurance of Pardon

Pastor: Please rise. While it is true that we have sinned, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s love in Jesus Christ. To all who humbly seek the mercy of God, in Jesus Christ your sin is forgiven.

People: Thanks be to God.

Pastor: Now let us sing of Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice for us. [0:30]

Song of Response: “The Power of the Cross” [4:20] LUYH 177

The “Not Yet” Restoration

Assurance of Sanctification

Pastor: Please be seated. We believe that just as Jesus came to earth, died, and rose again, so he will return and raise us to life! As [Bride] and [Groom] have longed for today, how we long for the Day of the Lord. When Jesus returns, he will completely restore shalom between God and people, people and people, and people and the earth. And we, his resurrected people, will be his perfect, glorious bride. [0:30]

Reading: Revelation 21-22 [1:40]

Pastor: The choir will now share a new song about the restoration we hope for. We welcome you to join in on the chorus as you feel comfortable.

Song of Response
“We Will Rise in Glory” [written for this occasion]
“Sing to the King” LUYH 474
“In the Day of the Lord” LUYH 485

The “Already” Restoration

Pastor: God our King gives us hope to live as his subjects in these in-between times. Already, Christ has conquered sin and death through his cross and empty tomb. Already, we know of the joy we will experience when King Jesus returns to set everything right on earth. Given this great hope, we must live in love. [0:32]

Reading: Romans 12 [2:23]

Affirmation of Singleness and Marriage [1:21]

Pastor: We are all called by God to overcome evil with good by living in love. Some of us are called by God to live in love through marriage: to love and serve and accompany another human being for life as established by God in the garden of Eden. And some of us are called by God to live in love through singleness—wholly dependent on and devoted to God, as were Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

All of us began our lives with a calling to singleness, but as the Spirit wills our callings may change over the course of our lives. As many of you know, part of [Bride] and [Groom]’s journey has included wondering about whether they were called at this time in their lives to singleness or marriage. In singleness, they were each a picture of the church, Christ’s bride, waiting for the day when Jesus will return. In marriage, they will together be a picture of that great wedding—of the love between Christ and the church.

Today, after discerning the Spirit’s call to live in love together, they choose to enter into the covenant of marriage for the rest of their lives.

Couple’s Response: Vows

Groom (repeating): I, [Groom], take you [Bride], to be my wife. I promise, God helping me, to love you as Christ loves us, remaining faithfully with you, and never forsaking you through all that is to come. I will serve you with tenderness and respect and encourage you to develop God’s gifts in you to serve his church. With you, I promise to follow God’s call as we build a home centered on Christ. This I promise before God and this community of family and friends, as long as our lives shall last.

Pastor: [Groom], do you give this ring as a symbol of your covenant in Christ?

Groom: I do.

Bride (repeating): I, [Bride], take you [Groom], to be my husband. I promise, God helping me, to love you as Christ loves us, remaining faithfully with you, and never forsaking you through all that is to come. I will serve you with tenderness and respect and encourage you to develop God’s gifts in you to serve his church. With you, I promise to follow God’s call as we build a home centered on Christ. This I promise before God and this community of family and friends, as long as our lives shall last.

Pastor: [Bride], do you give this ring as a symbol of your covenant in Christ?

Bride: I do.

Pastor: [Groom] and [Bride] will now respond by singing a song they wrote together.

Couple’s Song of Response
“Blessed Disappointment” [4:19]
or
“Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels” LUYH 307
“When Love Is Found” LUYH 316
“Where Love Is, God Abides” LUYH 315

The Encouragement

Homily [up to 12 minutes]

Pastor: As a minister of the church of Christ and by the authority which the state has vested in me, I now pronounce you, [Groom] and [Bride], husband and wife, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. You may kiss the bride!

People’s Response: Prayer huddle [5:00]

The Blessing

Ending Instructions

Pastor: Following this service, [Groom] and [Bride] invite you to join them for their reception at [insert details].

Benediction

Pastor: Dear friends, God blesses and empowers us to go forth—[Groom] and [Bride] into marriage, and the rest of us into our own lives. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. Please join hands to sing a blessing over [Groom] and [Bride].

Song of Response: “My Friends, May You Grow in Grace” [1:52] LUYH 938, SNC 288

Recessional: “He Reigns” [Newsboys]