Some Thoughts on Christian Weddings
July 4, 2011
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
- Marriage is a creation gift from God (Genesis 2:18-25). That means that you don’t have to be a Christian to get the benefit of marriage. This is something that God – as an expression of his loving goodness – gives to all his creatures made in his image. It is a part of the natural created order, and like the sun and the rain it falls on the just and the not so just.
- But marriage is more than a creation gift; it is a message about Christ’s love for the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). Within the created order, God in His providence invested a type, a foreshadow, a sign to point to Christ and his love for the church. Many times in the Old Testament, and in the New, the relationship between God and his people is compared to a marriage relationship. This is not just a cutesy metaphor. Marriage, in a very real sense, is actually truly about that much greater marriage between Christ and his bride the church.
Three Applications for a Christian Wedding:
- Make sure a Christian wedding has a very strong “Church” component. A Christian wedding is not simply a human family event; it is a God-family event. Involve your pastors, your Christian friends and your wider local church family in the process leading up to your wedding, to the degree possible in the wedding itself, and thereby afterwards in your marriage. Your wedding (because it’s about your marriage) is a little “c” church worship service, because your wedding is about your marriage and marriage is about Christ’s love for the church.
- Make sure a Christian wedding has a very strong “Vertical” component. Don’t choose songs just because you saw them in Four Weddings and a Funeral or whatever is the latest celebrity wedding with rock songs in it. Choose songs that honor Jesus. That doesn’t mean the songs have to be written before 1554, but it does mean the songs need to be about God, about the gospel, and reflect biblical truth. It means that you’re going to want some praying in the service. It means you’re going to want to read Scripture and not just human focused romantic poems. This wedding is about Christ and his love for the church (ultimately) because your love for each other is (ultimately) about Christ and his love for the church.
- Make sure a Christian wedding has a very strong “External” component. There will be people who come to your wedding who, other than at their own funeral, might never darken the door of a church building again. This is an unparalleled evangelistic opportunity. That doesn’t mean you have to have an old-fashioned altar call, or ask great Uncle Bill to put his hand up for Jesus during the service. It does mean that, because weddings are about marriage and because marriage is about Christ’s love for the church, YOUR LOVE displayed at the wedding is a type, a message, a sign of Christ’s love for Uncle Bill. So you want to make that plain. That means that you want a good solid 10 minute Bible talk which emphasizes not just ‘how to have a happy marriage’ (because you’re probably not going to be listening as you’ll be looking at each other with stars in your eyes), but also what marriage is really about, namely Christ’s love for the church. That means you want to choose someone who can give that talk not because they’re your best buddy, or related to you, but in the same way you’d choose someone to give an evangelistic talk or speak the gospel in public – someone who’s gifted by God to do that. There are many such folk on a staff team at a church like College Church. Whenever I do a wedding, I nearly always speak from Ephesians 5. I nearly always conclude the sermon by encouraging those who want to experience Christ’s love for themselves to use the vows that they are about to hear the couple say to each other as something that God in Christ is saying to them. The wedding is about marriage, and marriage is about Christ’s love for the church. This is an opportunity to say the same back to God in a faithful commitment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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