A few weeks ago, I was privileged to perform the wedding ceremony for a wonderful couple in Overton County, TN. Sharing in the joy of watching a man and woman commit themselves to each other according to the plan of God is among the best perks of the preaching profession. Cuddling babies and praying with new parents and paying tribute to the life of a faithful Christian during funeral services are additional benefits to my job, but I will reserve consideration of those events for future articles.
Since I had not officiated at a wedding in a couple of years, I knew I needed to try and get a feel for the latest trends. The ceremony was scheduled to be traditional in many respects, but I was confident that neither groom nor bride wanted to repeat the memorable vows of yesteryear. In 2019, who even knows the meaning of “I plight thee my troth?” Actually, I do know what that means due to earlier research, but I assumed no one in the wedding party would understand it. Further, asking the happy couple to repeat: “I take you to be my LAWFULLY wedded husband/wife” is always echoed without enough emphasis on the ‘L’ and becomes my AWFULLY wedded spouse. Sadly, more than one pair I have married fulfilled this misspoken prophecy by their fighting and eventual divorce from each other. Back to my dilemma, I wanted to freshen up the verbiage of my wedding ceremony, and for help, I turned to a favorite helper—GOOGLE.
It only took a few clicks and a quick scan of the page to expose dozens of variants to what I understood a wedding ceremony should include. Regrettably, the biggest emphasis on most wedding websites was toward those who wanted information on “same-sex or gay marriage.” I put that term in quotation marks because I believe it is not a proper or accurate term. Marriage is defined by God, and He never defines it or sanctions it for members of the same sex!
I noticed there were sample ceremonies for couples based on their unique interests, hobbies, jobs, race, etc. Ceremonies could be found that were tailored to the season of the year—spring, summer, fall, or winter and even the location of the wedding venue—beach, barn, etc. But what really caught my eye was a link to a group of sample wedding ceremonies that were grouped under this surprising heading: ‘SLIGHTLY RELIGIOUS.’
Clicking on this link took me to ceremonies “suitable for church, but not overly preachy.” A few summarized Scripture references could be found combined with a hodge-podge of other theological tenets presented in non-offensive language and a generic prayer tacked on at the end.
I suppose a happy couple might select this option to pacify Grandma or some other family member since it was only because of their membership the beautiful cathedral could be rented for the ceremony, or some reason similar to this. Sad, isn’t it? Some might think they need the blessing of God, but it is clear they are not going to commit themselves to His service before or after marriage! They simply want to appease their conscience or be able to boast to others: they had a “Christian wedding performed in a church.”
Unfortunately, this same mindset prevails in other areas of life too. Many want a slightly religious funeral service to give the impression of eternal hope for the deceased. Many live slightly religious lives by giving a little money to charity and worshipping on Christmas and Easter. Jesus taught that we must be more than slightly religious. Read and consider Luke 9:23 and Revelation 3:14-22.