I have a real gripe! Let me give you some history. My daughter is going to get married for the second time. It has taken her a while to agree to marry the man she has dated for a while now. Oh, she accepted his ring, but her first marriage has made her trust-shy. So, the groom-to-be contacted their church pastor, who then passed the message to the pastor that handles marriages. Having gone thru a full wedding before and being on a budget, we knew the normal costs to expect. These two souls go to church and even help with the Sunday school and music programs. They are as faithful as life will allow them to be. So, before the pastor that ‘handles weddings’ would even talk with them, to see what they wanted, he sent over a payment sheet. A PAYMENT SHEET!
There were costs just to use the sanctuary, and the counseling , and some other items that was over $2500. That information was divvied out before questions of flowers on the ‘stage’, or any other discussion. They could not even get to share that no clean-up, or no person other than the pastor would have been required. $2500? Then you had to add the fee the pastor had on top of that. And, after looking that far down the sheet I froze. I did not have the heart to look any further. I know exactly what is needed from a church for a wedding, I am a wedding planner. Can I say that it broke my daughter’s heart? She feels that paying for a wedding license is stupid enough, but for her church to try to make their mortgage payment on a wedding was a bit much for her.
I totally agree. The church did not even bother to ask what she had in mind, nor how many people would be there. Where has the wish to see the parishioners married instead of living together gone? Where has the making young couples feel like they are family gone? Oh, this church does welcome people; but they don’t seem to be concerned with the living environments the members have. Much less that the guests have or need to live a clean and Christian life. Well, she is now looking for a new church. One that she does not have to hear about this project or that project, and how much others have given to the love offering for those projects.
When I asked what she wanted to do about a preacher she said, “What do I need a preacher for? Didn’t people just get married without one and then just sign a family bible?” Well, now she had me there. There are members in my own history that were not around a preacher for a year or so after they were married in front of God and family. So, I am happy that she thinks the Father is who will ordain her marriage and that just saying her vows in from of Him and their parents is all they need.
The funny part is, – she had been reading all she can find in the Bible about marriages. And she said the other day that most of what she has found is that the father gave his girls away for things! She asked if her dad wanted a goat for her.
But my gripe is this. What has happened to our churches? They are selling a vow for money! There used to marry a couple just for a love gift to the pastor and anyone who wanted to help decorate or clean up. Mainly, I can remember going into our church and volunteering to serve refreshments and clean up just to be a guest of the wedding. I did it many times, just happy to get a bite of cake.
Thus, we will have a wedding in front of her fireplace, or outside if it does not rain. I will gift her a family Bible and we will witness the exchange of vows. We will pray over their marriage. They will entrust their marriage to God and God alone. There will be no payment given or received, no paper work signed. We will invite a few people for a feast and say another prayer. May their marriage be happy and full of faith.
Below are the charges and words spoken at her wedding.
We are gathered here today, in the sight of the Father and the Son, and every heavenly host, whom we cannot see, to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments.
To give witness, to a pledge of the beauty of love, and to add our best wishes, and blessings, as Bride, and Groom, unite in holy matrimony.
Marriage is an honorable estate, created and instituted, only by the Father, signifying unto us the union, which also rests between the Messiah and His bride; so, our prayer is that this marriage be adorned by true and abiding love. A quote from the Word:
“Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?… . What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
A husband and wife should not confuse worldly love by a worldly measure; For even if worldly success is found, only love will maintain a marriage. Another quote:
“That ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; But in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than themselves” [Philippians 2:2;3]
Mankind did not create love; love is created by the great I AM. The measure of true love is a love, both freely given, and freely accepted, just as God’s love of us is unconditional and free.
Here is my charge:
Do you both agree to:
Honor one another, and forgive one another, even as the Son forgave you?
Do you promise to let the peace of the Father rule in your hearts and in your marriage, to the which also ye are called, one body endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in this bond; and be ye thankful no matter the hardships?
Bride, do you accept these rings to signify that you will receive Groom’s pledge?
Groom, repeat after me:
In the presence of God the Father, and our family and friends I take thee, Bride, to be my wife. Promising to be consecrated unto you in the accord of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost. “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
Groom, do you accept this ring to signify that you will receive Bride’s pledge?
Bride, repeat after me:
In the presence of God the Father and our family and friends I take thee, Groom, to be my husband. Promising to be consecrated unto you in the accord of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
In the exchange of the rings, you accepted each other’s pledge to keep the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in your marriage and to remember that the Messiah told us that to be His disciple, we could not love our spouse, or relatives, more than Him.
We cannot love ANYTHING of this WORLD more than Him.
As you receive each other’s kiss, you are sealing your promise of fidelity.
You may kiss your bride.