A Solemnization of Holy Matrimony

The Solemnization of Holy Matrimony

Entrance

Sentences of Scripture

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. [Ps. 124:8]

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. [Ps. 127:1]

Statement on the Gift of Marriage

We are here gathered in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation, to join together _____________and ______________ in the covenant of holy matrimony. Marriage was instituted by God, regulated by his commandments, and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ.

God instituted marriage for the life-long companionship, help, and comfort, that husband and wife are called to share with each other. God instituted marriage for the ordering of family life so that children, who are the heritage of the Lord, should be nurtured and trained up in true faith and godliness.

God instituted marriage so that the natural instincts and desires implanted by God in man and woman, should be hallowed and a directed aright, and not become an occasion for sin.

God instituted marriage for the well-being of human society, which can be strong and happy only where the covenant of marriage is held in honor, but is ready to perish when marriage is dishonored.

Marriage was blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, where he worked the first of his miracles. In the Scriptures, the apostle Paul tells us that in the coming together of the man and woman in marriage we have an image of Jesus Christ being one with his church.

Holy Scripture instructs those who enter into this covenant to develop a mutual respect and love, to comfort each other in sickness, trouble, and sorrow, to provide for each other and their household by honest labor, to pray for each other, encourage each other, and to live together as those who inherit eternal life.

Therefore, marriage is a high calling not to be entered into lightly or carelessly, but prayerfully, responsibly, and with reverence for God.

Therefore, let marriage be held in honor among all.

Prayer

The minister says:

Let us pray:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we, your unworthy children, praise you for all the gifts of your providence, and for all the bounties of your grace.

Especially now we thank you for the covenant of marriage, and that you have made it to be honorable in all things. We thank you that the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride are still heard in the land. And we pray that you would graciously send down your blessing upon your servants who are about to be joined together according to this holy covenant.

As you have brought them together by your providence, sanctify them by your Holy Spirit, and give them a new frame of heart, fit for their new life together. Enrich them with all grace, that they may perform the duties, enjoy the comforts, undergo the cares, and resist the temptations which will accompany them in their marriage. Grant that they may enter into the marriage covenant in your fear, and truly keep the vows which they are about to make according to your Word.

Grant this, O our Father, with the forgiveness of all our sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The congregation may be seated.

Declarations of Intent

The minister addresses the bride and groom individually:

____________, will you take ____________ to be your wife?

Will you love her, comfort her, honor and care for her, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Answer:

I will.

____________, will you take ____________to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and care for him, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live.

Answer:

I will.

[Who brings this woman to be married?]

Affirmations by the People

The minister may address all present:

Will you, the family and friends of _________ and _________, support and encourage them in their marriage?

Answer:

We will.

The families of the bride and groom may be seated.

Prayer for Illumination

God our Father, by your Word you have ordered all things. Speak your Word again to us as we open the Scriptures, that we may see that you are truly the maker of marriage. Reveal to us now your truth, as it comes to us in your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture Readings

Sermon

Vows

The minister says to the couple:

____________ and _____________, as a seal to the holy vow which you are about to make, join together your right hands.

The man says:

I, ___________, take you, ___________, to be my wife;

and I promise and make covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband;

for better or for worse;

in plenty and in want;

in joy and in sorrow;

in sickness and in health;

to love and to cherish

as long as we both shall live.

The woman says:

I, ____________, take you, ___________, to be my husband;

and I promise and make covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife;

for better or for worse;

in plenty and in want;

in joy and in sorrow;

in sickness and in health;

to love and to cherish

as long as we both shall live.

Exchange of Rings

____________, I give you this ring as a sign of our covenant. With my body, I honor you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have, I share with you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Let us pray:

Eternal God, our heavenly Father, author and giver of all good things: look with favor upon these two servants of yours, who have now been joined together in the covenant of marriage.

Grant them health, peace, and prosperity. Bless them that they may dwell together in unity and love all the days of their life. Fill their home with all good things, that they may have an abundant supply for all their needs, and enough leftover to share with those who do not.

[Give to them, if it is your will, the gift of children, and the wisdom to bring them up to know you, to love you, and to serve you.]

Above all things, Lord, we pray that you would enrich their souls with all heavenly grace, that they may obey and serve you all their days, walking in the Way of Jesus Christ, your Son, faithful in all things in him, that, finally, when the joys and sorrows, and all the good and evil, of this transitory world are ended, they may inherit your promises, and be partakers of eternal joy in your Kingdom, where they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Lord God Almighty, in your Gospel you invite all those who are blessed to the great marriage-supper of the Lamb. Incline us by your Spirit, that we may be obedient to your gracious call and come to that wedding.And may we each be so dressed in the garments of righteousness and true holiness, that we may be received by you, and so may sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all your saints, to enjoy forever that feast of unending joy, which you have prepared for those who love you.

We ask all of this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who has taught us to pray, saying:

Our Father…

The minister addresses the congregation:

Forasmuch as___________ and ____________ have made covenant to live together in marriage, and have done so in the presence of God and this congregation, I therefore declare that they are husband and wife; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

Charge and Blessing to the Couple

The minister addresses the couple, using the following words:

Apply yourselves to live together in godly love, in Christian peace, and good example, ever holding fast to the bond of love without any breach, keeping faith and truth the one with the other, even as God’s Word teaches.

The Lord sanctify and bless you, the Lord pour the riches of his grace upon you, that you may please him, and live together in holy love to your lives’ end. Amen.

Amen.

 

Contributed by Dr. Walter Taylor of Oak Island Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Much of the text is taken, edited and updated from the “Euchologion” (also called Book of Common Order) of the Church Service Society from their late 19th century publications.

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