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Infusing Christ In The Contemporary Wedding Ceremony
by E Claudette Freeman

Weddings are such beautiful occasions. They are perhaps one of the most amazing public displays of the strength and reality of love. At a recent wedding, I held my laughter from bursting through the air, like many in the church, when we realized the groom was talking uncontrollably to his wife to be. The ceremony pulled from a number of Christian wedding traditions. In a Christian wedding ceremony, while personal style and design is welcomed, it is more important to remember that this expression of love is also an expression of worship.

As you worship through the exchanging of vows, tradition calls for your nuptials to clearly imply that you are entering into an eternal covenant with each other in the presence of God. Some wedding planners who have the task of incorporating Christian values, may make the presence of God clearly evident in the singing of songs of praise. Additional inclusions in the program may also be a prayer offered by the couple, and the listing of an array of scriptural references to their responsibilities to each other and to God as a married couple.

The common words DEARLY BELOVED or similar opening statements are a call or invitation to worship in Christian weddings. Those words say that God is now in the midst of this ceremony and He and the couple are combined in their worship, rejoicing and thanks for divine unification in the marital relationship. Other sample calls to worship in Christian communities may sound like these: We are gathered here in the sight of God and these witnesses to unite this couple. As followers of Jesus Christ, they believe that God created marriage. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God.

Other Christian traditions have very significant meanings, although many of us have probably thought they were simply wonderful event ideas from the oldest bridal consultants. For instance, did you know that the white aisle runner symbolizes walking on holy ground? Were you aware that the wedding rings symbolize the promises binding two people together in marriage, the unbroken circle says there is continuity in our mutual love? Has anyone ever mentioned that it is a common belief dating back to ancient Greece, that the wedding ring should go on the third finger of the left hand, because there is a vein in this finger that runs directly to the heart?

Still other traditions in Christian settings stress unity, the couple becoming one, everything that the husband is becomes the wife and vice versa. The sharing of wine is one of those unity practices. In some wine ceremonies, you may here the minister speak such words as: This goblet of wine represents the cup of life. "Within it is port, which symbolizes the sweetness of life. If this port is any indication, our couple's life will be sweet as well. There is also the breaking and sharing of bread, which is the communion service. Other unity services may be the lighting of the candle, the pouring of sand and other similar gestures.

In there true splendor, a ceremony bathed in Christian ideals, will lift the presence of God, lift the presence of love and lift the presence of hope.

Published: May 1,2009 14:35
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