Becoming Married

Readings

Ephesians 4:14-16 Christian Scripture

   BROWN.  We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown by every wind...  But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into the One who is the head, into Christ...

I John 3:2

Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.  What we do know is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see Christ as he is.

Homily

   BROWN.  For the wedding homily Barb and Charles have chosen a text and I have chosen a text, both from Christian Scripture.  The theme of both texts is transformation through Christ in the community of believers.  I am using this as an analogy of the transformation that is possible in the community of marriage.  And the texts talk aobut transformation in a special way, not as a one-time event, but as an ongoing process with unlimited possibilities.  That hope of ongoing transformation is very important to Charles and Barb in their relationship.

Ephesians 4:14-16
We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind... But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into the One who is the head, into Christ...

1 John 3:2
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.  What we do know is this: when Christ isrevealed, we will be like him, for we will see Christ as he is.

I'll start with this latter passage, which speaks of three stages of transformation.

First is the now of transformation.  The text says, "Beloved, we are God's children now!"  And the now is spoken in a tone of wonder and astonishment.  The preceding verse (not printed) said, "Consider how lavish is the love which God has showered upon us!"  As I've met with Barb and Charles and heard them talk about their deepening relationship, I have heard a tone of wonder.  The sense was, "This relationship is working!  Lo and behold!  I am being called out of my old, familiar places into new territory.  Everything is changing.  I haven't had this before.  It's wonderful.  It's scary."  That's the now of transformation.

Next is the not yet of transformation.  The text says, "What we will be has not yet been revealed."  The early Christians had a sense of an inexpressible future ahead of them.  And I have heard this note about the future in Charles and Barb:

"This is only the beginning."
"Where will it lead?"
"If it's this good and powerful now, can it continue to grow and develop?"

Barb and Charles, when I look at what you are heading into I think, "What a field of possibilities:"

It is not yet clear what you will be ten, 20, 40 years from now.  But what a field of possibilities for your ongoing transformation!

Finally is what we know about the not yet of transformation.  The text says, "What we do know is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see Christ as he is."  The early Christians believed in a final manifestation of Christ and a final transformation of believers into his likeness through the vision of his glory.  In other words, it will be real good.

Charles and Barb, what do we know about your not yet?  The answer is found in the text that you chose.  "Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into the One who is the head, into Christ."  I know that that is important to you.  I know that you have been honest with each other, even when it was hard, painful, and scary.  You've tried to be lovingly honest, and when you failed you tried to do what the song said,

And we know where this will lead you.  This faithful speaking of the truth in love, and forgiving when you fail, will lead to more truth and love, and a gradual transformation by the great Spirit who is the source of all Love and Truth.  In other words, it will be real good.

Amen.

Vows

   CHARLES.  I choose you, Barb, to be my wife;
and I pledge my honesty, to tell the truth in love
to listen to you and to respect you
to work with you and play with you
to grow with and alongside you,
and to seek connections with others to enrich our life together

Knowing that we are imperfect and life is
unpredictable, yet with divine assistance, I
promise in these ways to be a loving and
faithful partner to you until death parts us.

Barb, my love, I give you this ring as a sign of my promises to you.

   BARB.  I choose you Charles to be my husband,
and I pledge my honesty, to tell the truth in love,
to listen to you and respect you
to work with you and to play with you
to grow with and alongside you,
and to seek connections with others to enrich our life together.

Knowing that we are imperfect and life is
unpredictable, yet with God's help, I
promise in these ways to be a loving and
faithful partner to you until death parts us.

Charles, my love, I give you this ring as a sign of my promises to you.

Blessing & Exchange of Rings

   CONNIE.  Christ our light, encircle these rings with your blessing, rings to show the love and trust between Charles and Barb.  Bind them together and hold them in your loving embrace now and always.

Blessing from the Community

   CONNIE.  You are invited to hold the hand of the person next to you to form a chain of blessing for Charles & Barb.

Spirit of Love, we who have witnessed and participated in this wedding bless Barb & Charles with our support and challenge and prayers as they embark on this journey together as husband and wife.  Amen.

Pronouncement of Marriage

   BROWN.  Before God and in the presence of this community, Charles and Barb have made their solemn vows to each other.  They have confirmed their promises by the giving and receiving of rings.  Therefore I proclaim that they are now husband and wife.

Those whom God has joined let no one separate.

The Kiss

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