When something becomes common, its meaning and significance are forgotten. This is true of marriage and the wedding ceremony. Weddings have been in so many movies we begin to think they are good cinema instead of sacred covenant or that they belong to Hollywood instead of the Holy God. We begin to compare the pageantry and the bride’s dress more than we reflect on the eternal message being enacted before our eyes.
If we miss the gospel-rich meaning of our wedding as a covenant ceremony, then living a gospel-centered marriage can easily feel like a bait-and-switch. We must remember marriage is always a covenant. This is true regardless of our awareness or intentionality during our ceremony or appointment with the justice of the peace.
In the second of three sections in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations” seminar we will seek to answer two broad questions to set the stage for the rest of the seminars. What does it mean for marriage to be a covenant? How was the wedding ceremony designed to teach us about covenant?
This evaluation (Marriage Evaluation_We Identity & Leave and Cleave) is meant to help couples see what they need to focus on in this second section.
Several of the plumb lines from this second section will include:
- Contracts are relationships of mutual benefit; covenants are relationships of mutual joy through mutual sacrifice.
- At the most, you’ll only make four major covenants (Savior, church, marriage, and children) during your lifetime.
- We all must resist the tendency to obsess over the most temporal and neglect the most eternal.
- Marriage is designed to be a living, walking portrait of the gospel that “goes into all the world (Mark 16:15).”
At the end of this section we would want you grasp the significance of the sample wedding charge:
We are here to observe something that is not just beautiful and joyous, but also profound. [Groom] and [Bride] do not stand before one another as perfect individuals. But they are making an unending choice to cover the faults of the other with their own sacrificial love. They pledge to respond to each other as perpetual examples of Christ’s sacrifice for them. This choice is not a burden to them, but rather a joy, because of the delight they take in one another. Their delight is meant to be the clearest earthly representation of God’ abundant love for us and our joyous response to His love.
[Groom] and [Bride] are here today to make their covenant known publicly to family, friends, and the world. This covenant is marked by the physical symbol of a golden ring. Gold because it is the only metal that does not tarnish and is the standard of value for all other commodities. A ring because it, like all true covenants, has no end point.
Once this covenant is established, [Bride] will take [Groom]’s name in the same way that each person who covenants with God takes His name as “Christian.” From that point forward they will live for the joy of the other and take their deepest satisfaction in seeing the dreams of the other fulfilled in the same way God delights in His people and we find our greatest fulfillment in Him.
In this ceremony, let us see not only the beautiful uniting of our dear friends [Groom] and [Bride] in marriage; let us also see a picture of what God established as a picture of the relationship He desires with each one of us. Let us not only celebrate with [Groom] and [Bride] but be encouraged and drawn to the love of our great God.
Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations
Dates: June 23 and 30, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703