John & Martine
- Declaration. Our help is the name of the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.
- Sing: Amazing Grace
- Scripture reading
- Marriage seremony
- Sing (with bride and groom still kneeling): How great Thou art
- Signing of register
Scripture Reading: I Cor 13
Text verse: I Cor 13: 13
Theme: Love each other in God
|5/1/01||Pilgrim’s Rest (John & Martine Welch|
I Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
John & Martine
I. In past times, even in Western society, we had a thing called arranged marriages. I’m sure you are quite familiar with that. The parents, even sometimes as early as at the birth of children, decided to whom they should be married.
I.A. Today, this practice is limited to some business empires and royal houses! Luckily! We now can get married to the person of our own choosing, the one we love!
I.B. It is no wonder then, that one of the most talked about subjects of our time is “love”. Talk shows, magazine articles, radio talks, even the Internet, are filled with matters concerning love.
I.B.1. But, and this is also the saddest thing to me, it looks like love is the one thing that seems to be unobtainable, unreachable, to most people. What an irony. We are free to marry for love, but can’t seem to find love. The vast amount of divorces and unhappy marriages (even if masked to friends and the outside world) is testimony to this sadness.
II. Why should this be the state of marriages? What reasons could there be for this state of the institution of marriage? And this isn’t just a rhetorical question, one you are not expected to answer. For you are here today, in the presence of the holy God, and all these witnesses, because you are going to take vows, in which you are going to promise to love each other for as long as you both shall live! Do you know what this love is going to ask from you, what you are supposed to do to be a loving husband or wife?
II.A. To really get to grips with these questions, we should try to find a definition of true love. Generally, should you ask people for such a definition, you would get an answer containing some reference to feeling. And that is all well. As long as that isn’t the only element of you definition.
II.A.1. In fact, this, to my mind, is one of the gravest reasons for the bad state of so many marriages – it is built on love as a feeling. And this is a notion strengthened by many a TV show, motion film, magazine article and what else.
II.A.1.a. The problem with love as a feeling is twofold:
II.A.1.a.i. Firstly, it is dependent on what you receive, not what you give. And as you will see shortly, a correct definition of love has a large element of giving, not just taking! Real love is mostly about giving, not receiving. It is about commitment exactly for this – to be there for each other.
II.A.1.a.ii. Secondly, a feeling is something fleeting. It comes and goes, is there and gone! And how could one build a lifelong relationship, a marriage, on something that comes and goes, something fleeting? How can you take a vow to love for as long as you shall live, if you don’t know how you are going to feel in six month’s time, a year, or whatever?
II.B. A person could look at different person’s thinking or theory about this matter, different philosophies. But you, John and Martine, decided that you wanted to be married in the church. A marriage in a church doesn’t work some kind of magic. But it does say something about your personal convictions and attitude. Therefore, let’s have a look about the Creator of marriage has to say about love. Yes, the Bible is the ultimate reference book on true love.
II.B.1. As you both know, the New Testament was originally written in Greek. And Greek is a language in which you can express yourself quite accurately.
II.B.2. In Greek there are five distinct words to express what we translate with “love”. Three of these are used in the Bible, two not. A close examination of all five the different words used to translate “love”, reveal a rich fullness in what the Lord says is true love.
II.B.2.a. The first of these words is epithumia. Now, I think the concept of this word is maybe the best known of all. Epithumia is all about sexual attraction. And the thing about it is that God created it. Therefore it isn’t base, ugly or demeaning. To the contrary, it is something beautiful, an expression of a union that has taken place on a spiritual level. Yes, it becomes ugly when is it is a way of using another person, practiced outside of marriage. For God intended it for marriage. As a way of giving yourself. As an act of giving, and not – as some propagate – intended only for procreation! Yes, we may even say – sex was intended to be enjoyed. And it will be enjoyed if it is practiced as an act of giving. But, when it is used as a weapon, a selfish way of gratifying yourself, it becomes a destructive force like no other.
II.B.2.b. The second word used is eros. Our word “erotic” comes from this word. But in Greek it is used more to convey the concept of romance. You know, dinner by candle light, flowers, some special things done for the other. And did you catch that? Something done for the other. Yes, romance is an essential part of love. But. If you both wait on the other to start being romantic, not much is going to happen. But if you start planning, organizing by yourself, things will happen. And let me assure you, this is the one thing couples complain about all the time: there is no romance in our marriage. He only works… works… or watches TV … She only worries about the children… her hair… her nails…. Make time for romance… and the feelings will be there before you know!
II.B.2.c. The third word used to convey an aspect of love, is storge. This word has connotes what is sometimes translated in Genesis with “helpmate”, although the concept is not limited to the role of women in marriage. In Philippians 2: 3 – 4 God says: 3 Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, 4 each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others… This of course is said to all Christians concerning each other, but as marriage is a reflection of the bond between Christ and the church, it applies to this aspect of love also. So, storge is about helping each other. Being there for the other one. But it also implies: understanding, knowing each other. I always compare it to shoes. You know, we all have a pair of shoes that should have been thrown away long ago. But they fit so nicely to my feet. They are comfortable. I think it goes without saying that storge demands time spend with each other. Communication. And is build up over time. And once more – it takes some giving of yourself. You can’t receive or experience storge without giving – whilst holding back, with all kinds of secrets being kept from the other. It asks for an open relationship – in which you will experience some vulnerability not sometimes, but quite often!
II.B.2.d. The fourth word is often translated with “friendship” – filein. An evening with the boys, John, is fine. A get together with your girlfriends, Tine, is fine. But for partners in marriage, the scene changes, so that your partner becomes your best friend. Actually, he or she should already be your best friend by the time you get married. And now, if you think back to your best friend from school days, what stands out? Yes, he or she was there for you when you needed him or her. All others would forsake you, but this friend could be trusted with your life. And you could spend days on end together, sharing is some common interests, but also have peace with each other if the other had an interest you did not share in. And this now applies to married persons – to share common interests, but also to be practical – and not be frightened or negative or hostile if the other has some interests you do not share in. Give him or her space, without being jealous or hurt by the other’s interests. And even if you don’t share his or her enthusiasm for that particular interest, try to understand, show interest, talk about is. That is what friends are for!
II.B.2.e. Lastly there is the word agape. This is the word always used in the Bible to describe God’s love. Yes, is used in connection with humans also. But, always, for God’s love. And what this word entails, is best understood from John 3: 16. That verse says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Therefore we can say: the essence of the word is giving. God gave Jesus as atonement for our sins. No greater love could anyone have. This implies that you should give to each other. But give more than on an earthly manner. It implies that you should care for the other in his relationship with the Lord. To put it in other words: you should not hinder, but motivate, the other to live in a close relationship with God. In James it is written: 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. It implies – live your lives, as a married couple, in the fear of the Lord. And you will receive the blessings that God reserves for his children. Not that there won’t be any bad times. But even in the bad times, you can be assured of his presence and love. His love that you participate in by faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.
II.B.3. John and Martine, that is what love is: not primarily a feeling, but most of all, a combination of ways in which you give something of yourselves to each other. The sexual, the romantic, the understanding for each other, the friendship and Godly love, based on a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. True love is a combination of these.
III. John & Martine, yours is not an arranged marriage, but of your own choosing, based on your love for each other. If you look for love in the way described as you just heard, you can be assured of God’s assistance. Look for it in other ways, and be sure that you will be on your own, without the blessing of the Spirit of the Lord. May you be blessed by the presence of the Lord’s Spirit, every day, every minute, and every second of your marriage. Amen.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of Saint Paul to be honorable among all: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.
If anyone can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.
And also speaking unto the persons who are to be married, the minister shall say:
I require and charge you both, as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, you do now confess it. For be you well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God’s Word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful.
Do you, John Donald Richard Welch declare that there is no impediment, in your knowledge, that prohibits you, legally or otherwise, to be married to Martine Johanette Brunt here present?
What is your answer? (Yes)
Do you, Martine Johanette Brunt declare that there is no impediment, in your knowledge, that prohibits you, legally or otherwise, to be married to John Donald Richard Welch here present?
What is your answer? (Yes)
Bride and groom
John and Martine, is it your wish to be joined in holy matrimony, and live together as husband and wife, in the way the Holy Scripture command?
What is the answer of you both? (Yes)
May the Lord God, that led you to this decision, strengthen you in your intentions, and may your marriage be lived in the name of the Lord that created heaven and earth. Amen.
You may now present the rings to each other, and then give the other the right hand.
John, repeat after me:
I, John Donald Richard Welch take you Martine Johanette Brunt to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward.
I promise to love, honor, and cherish you for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.
And, forsaking all others, I will remain faithful to you as long as we both shall live; and this is my solemn vow.
Martine, repeat after me:
I, Martine Johanette Brunt take you, John Donald Richard Welch, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish and obey till death us do part, according to God's holy law; and this is my solemn vow.
Then shall the Minister join their right hands together, and say:
Those whom God hath joined together let no one put asunder.
Then shall the Minister speak unto the company:
Forasmuch as John Donald Richard Welch and Martine Johanette Brunt have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth, each to the other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving rings, and by joining hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let’s pray. You may say the Lord’s Prayour with me:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
O eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life: send Thy blessing upon these Thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in Thy name; that they, living faithfully together, may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made (whereof this ring [or these rings] given and received is a token and pledge), and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to Thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Almighty God, Creator of mankind, who only art the wellspring of life: bestow upon these Thy servants, if it be Thy will, the gift and heritage of children; and grant that they may see their children brought up in Thy faith and fear, to the honor and glory of Thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The husband and wife kneeling, the Minister shall add this blessing:
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that you may so live together in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.