Several years ago at a highly publicized wedding ceremony, the Bishop of Canterbury sermonized that, unlike fairytales that end with the bride and groom getting married and living happily every after, the wedding is the beginning of a life long process.
Marriage, by definition, includes the civil component of a contractual agreement between two people. In order for a marriage to be legally recognized, a marriage license must be obtained and properly executed. Christian marriage also includes that same civil component. But by contrast, it includes so much more.
The sacrament of marriage cannot be understood in terms of a single ritual which magically transforms a couple from two into one forever. The sacramental celebration of marriage in the rites and ceremonies of the Christian Church must be the celebration of a process already well under way and of a process which has still some considerable way to go.
In a wedding each person speaks for her/himself. The wife pledges what she, not they as a couple, will do and the man promises what he, not they together will do.
The spiritual relationship of marriage is so embedded in humankind, the early Church leaders drew upon the symbolism to express the liturgy of Christ’s relationship with the Church. In other words, each spouse acts in persona Christi by loving the other as Christ loves the Church in all circumstances until death itself severs the bond. The couple who co-love with God’s love, effectively cooperate with God in redeeming each other.
The worship of the Lord is at the heart and understanding of the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage at St. Christopher’s Church.We take this very seriously and joyfully. We plan it carefully.
Weddings at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church documents: