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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wedding as worship..worship as wedding

In 32 years of pastoring, I have offered brides and grooms (mainly brides) the option of using Sunday morning worship as a venue for their wedding, including the vows and rings as a part of worship. All couples have declined the offer for obvious reasons: more components, more special music, guest participants, invited guest only, special decorations, etc. It all makes sense.
Then, at a wedding I co-officiated at in Minnesota, the pastor of the church took time to explain the Protestant view that wedding is not a sacrament (though it is sacramental) but worship. We gather around the risen Lord in his church to make vows and witness love and obedience.
Today those factors came together when the bride and groom were not only willing but excited to have their wedding as a part of Sunday morning worship. I preached the lectionary text (John 10:11-16 on the Good Shepherd) and at the end of the sermon I said that a couple wants to take steps of obedience to the Good Shepherd by making their vows in front of their worshiping community. The bride came in on the arm of a friend and the groom made quick steps down to the front from a side aisle to meet her. I did the prologue, the declaration of consent, they came up to say their vows, exchanged rings and then the best man and matron of honor along with Jon Lemmond and Lisa Holmlund laid hands on them as I prayed and blessed them. They kissed and we introduced the new couple to loud applause. The reception was on the patio. They provided food and bread and humus. It was a fun, fun day!

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