Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christian Marriage/Wedding

My last post was about changing wedding laws around the world. This is a follow up about the religious ceremony and specifically the Christian Wedding. There are many religions in America and they each have their own traditions concerning the wedding ceremony.

In the civil service a couple needs a license and an authorized person to sign the document. The authorized person only has to verify that the two people before them are the ones on the license and ask them if they want to be married. When they answer in the affirmative the license is signed and they are married. All cut and dry and legal.

A Christian Wedding is quite different and in the United States it involves aspects of the civil wedding but also much more. In my state and church a man and a woman come to make vows to each other and God. They come seeking a blessing on their marriage and home. It is the making of vows that makes all the difference.

When a marriage vow is made the man and woman actually make two vows at once. They make vows of commitment and fidelity to one another and they make those same vows to God! It is this act that makes the wedding ceremony sacred. The vows are binding until death do us part. Jesus made only one excuse for divorce and that was adultery.

When a person breaks the marriage vow a double sin is committed. The first sin is against the spouse and the second is against God. I count it a very serious event to make a vow to God. Breaking a vow to God is not something one does lightly and I always stress that to couples about to get married in the church. There is an eternal aspect to a vow made to God and it stays with you that long.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marriage Laws Changing


There have been many articles in the news about “Marriage Laws” and how they need to be changed. I have served as a pastor all over the country and I know how much they vary from state to state. They also vary a lot from country to country.

An NPR story today was about Mexico City trying to write a law to allow couples to have a termination date on the wedding license. The Bishop is apposed for some reason. I have worked in a country that allows a man to have up to four wives at a time. Some countries allow same sex marriages and so do some states.

The Christian Bible states that a Bishop must have only one wife but leaves an option for a man to have more than one wife if he is not a bishop. The bible tells us of many men both in the old and new testaments that had more than one wife. King Solomon had hundreds of them.    

Culture changes over time and our laws lag behind but they also change. There was a time when adultery was the only reason the law allowed for divorce. There was a time when only the husband could sue for divorce.

In Deuteronomy 22, if a bride was found not to be a virgin on her wedding night the law called for her to be stoned to death in front of her fathers house. A lot of women today are glad we don’t do that any more.

Weddings can be both legal contract and religious ceremonies. Some countries require that the couple go to a civil service office and register their marriage and then if they wish to do so they may have a religious ceremony afterwards.

How will our marriage laws change over the next hundred years?