We’ll soon be in the midst of the busy wedding season. At weddings people of different Christian traditions or even different faiths gather. Even though practices vary, participation is key.
First, let’s get an idea of what is actually happening in a Christian wedding. The “Worship why” this month is: “Why put weddings in the context of the church’s liturgy?” Or, put another way, “Why should weddings be worship?”
Here’s my answer: Because marriage has the capability of expressing the paschal mystery of Christ: his life, death and resurrection. In fact, the “Marriage Blessing” from Evangelical Lutheran Worship makes it clear: “Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to endure the cross for our sake, that we may have abundance of life” (page 289). The paschal mystery is, in essence, the celebration of God’s love, a love that can be experienced in many ways. As people “fall in love” it involves their whole being—body, mind and spirit—in a relationship.
So marriage is a powerful symbol of God’s love for the world. God’s all-embracing love sets us free to love the world in return. And married love, as its symbol, reflects the expansiveness of God’s love. It cannot become so intimate and so exclusive that it ceases to be godly love. In fact, by celebrating marriage within worship we are saying that it reflects the fullness of godly love.
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