(Steve and Christine)

Giving the Bride Away

Who presents Christine to be married to Steve this day?

Answer: I, Mr. Jacinto Gonzales; the father of the bride does.

Pastor: “From the bottom of all our hearts, we sincerely thank you”. 

Angelology

We must be in heaven, because I see two beautiful Angels standing in front of me.

Opening Words 

Welcome. 

 Dearly beloved, we gather here today to celebrate the wedding of Steve and Christine. 

Love has gathered us here this beautiful day. 

Love is a powerful thing. It is profound and somewhat of a paradox because while it provides no escape from the world, there is gentleness to the presence of love that softens life’s edges and yet somehow makes us stronger and braver in the world.

Today we celebrate the love that
Steve and Christine have found in one another.

We rejoice alongside them as they declare to al present their intent to enter into marriage and stand together from this day                forward.            

Steve and Christine:

Welcome to this moment in your lives and the place you have come to in each other’s hearts. 

Thank you for allowing me to join you on this day in which you commit before God and humanity that from this point forward you will live as one.

In this world where it seems so little is considered sacred, one thing remains so. 

That is, the agreement made between two people to share their lives together. 

 Marriage is a most honorable estate, a tender and profound relationship,

I congratulate you on the journey that you are about to embark upon. 

Both of you have found a way to embrace a serious love and receive the blessings thereof. 

What a comfort to know that at the end of the day we will come home to find the shelter and affection of our loved one.

                               This love is what has brought us here together today…to this moment, to this ceremony.

With that in mind, let us come now into the quiet solemnest of this moment and occasion and enter this ceremony with reverence as we celebrate the joining in marriage of Steve and Christine to one another. 

Bible Readings

* To be read by: June Gonzales

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 

And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. 

*To be read by: Marilyn Gonzales

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

"Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."

Sermon

God’s Three Purposes For Marriage 

When it comes to marriage, many Christians believe if they go to a good church, take a marriage enrichment course and occasionally read marriage books, they will have a strong marriage.  Their focus tends to be on solving tactical problem areas such as communication, sex and finances.  Yet, in His Word, God provides strategic purposes for Christian marriage that are vitally important for all to know. 

The Fall of Satan and Your Marriage

God’s purposes for marriage are related to the fall of Satan.  The original oneness and harmony of eternity past was a wonderful reflection of God’s image in all of creation. The angels, beings created by God, depended entirely on Him and were completely one with God and His will. But Satan’s pride and fall became a threat to this oneness. The most beautiful angel of God’s creation decided that he did not need God. Since then Satan has challenged God’s will and purposes continually.

The creation of the earth and Adam and Eve was not just an afterthought of God’s, but a response to Satan’s challenge. It demonstrated to all of creation, that only complete dependence on God results in true life. Adam and Eve, and every person who followed, has a tremendous stake in God’s plan and purpose for man.

In this context, God gives three mandates for Christian marriage: to reflect, reign, and reproduce. And, because of the importance of these purposes, Satan works hard to keep Christians from accomplishing them.  Let’s look further at these purposes.

1.  Reflect God’s Image

Christian marriages are to reflect God’s image:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

Notice the emphasis on “image” and “likeness.”  God creates “them” as a unit to reflect Him. It takes both a man and woman, in oneness, to truly reflect His image.  When we criticize our spouse, or foster division and competition, we are actually reflecting the disunity of Satan and dishonoring God.  On the other hand, when we recognize our purpose is to reflect the image of God, we are convicted by Holy Spirit when we don’t meet that standard and protected from hardening our hearts toward one another.

2. Reproduce Children in God’s Likeness

God’s second purpose for marriage is to reproduce:

       God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”  Genesis 1:28a

God wants married couples to reproduce children – in His “likeness.” Couples who are competitive, angry and divided, are not fully able to nurture children in God’s image. Why? In order to teach children the principles of agape love, godly discipline, and good morals, it must first be modeled by parents. Words are not enough! As parents puts aside their innate selfishness and trust God to meet their needs, petty disagreements fade in comparison to their love for their children.  The Christian couple who does not have children can fulfill this purpose by making others disciples of Jesus Christ.

3.   Reign in Spiritual Warfare

The third purpose for marriage is to reign:

       God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in  number; fill the earth and subdue it.”  Genesis 1:28a

We are to be stewards of the physical resources entrusted to us and we must do our share in the spiritual realm.  A spiritual battle goes on in every heart. Only as couples come together in unity and oneness will the enemy of our souls be defeated. Just as the Godhead represents perfect unity and is a force for God’s will in His universe, the Christian couple is to pray and discern God’s will in all situations.

Two Becoming One

To accomplish God’s purposes for your marriage – to reflect, reproduce and reign together – you must be at one with your spouse and with God. Oneness happens as a result of believing that God has uniquely placed you together in agreement with God’s will and with each other. The practical results are cooperation, unity and encouragement.

In Ephesians 6:12, we learn, “… our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the…spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 

Practically, our struggle is not against our spouse but against Satan who wants us to believe that our spouse is the problem. We must learn to keep our eyes on Jesus the Christ and not on people.

If you are a Christian couple considering marriage, or who have been married for a while, or whose marriage is in trouble, God can make the most out of your situation.  Just turn to His Word and follow His plan for your marriage.

Vow Exchange 

(To Be Included In With The Ring Exchange)

 

Unity Candle, Veil, Cord and the 13 Wedding Coins

 

The candle, veil, cord, and Arras are four traditions routinely witnessed during a Filipino wedding. 

Filipinos feel strongly about their heritage and actively incorporate their traditions into their weddings.  


The Unity Candle 

Attended by: Mr. Mike Whitters and Shirley McClaine 

Due to weather conditions, the Unity Candle lighting might have to take place indoors.

On both sides of the unity candle are a long stemmed candle. Two representatives shall light the outside candles.

When it comes time for the wedding couple to light their center unity candle, the couple will light it with the candles that were lit by their representatives.

Will Mr. Mike Whitters and Shirley McClaine please step forward and light the two outside candles. 

After the two outside candles are lit; Steve and Christine will both take each candle and light the center candle together upon request. 

For every human there is a light that rises out of us. When two souls unite their light flows together and forms a single, brighter light. Human light is an extension of spiritual light.

Steve and Christine, when you look at one another see the divine beings that you are, never cease to wonder and be amazed at the power and purpose of love.

In committing to one another you kindle one another’s light and you spark the divine within them. Nurture and tend to that flame in your partner and never forget the existence of light within yourselves.

Steve and Christine, take these candles now

and light the center candle representing the Divine Source. As you do so, you symbolically enter the sacred trust to honor the divine.

Now bring your flames together, symbolizing the new and greater flames of your marriage, and recognize that just as your union is now made stronger by your strength, you as individuals are also strengthened by the union.

(Candles are then returned to holders)

The Vail

Attended by: Sheree Guru and Joe Majia 

The veil sponsors usually consist of one man and one woman - perhaps one from each side of the family. During a specific point in the ceremony, the veil sponsors carefully pin a large veil on top of the bride’s head and onto the shoulder of the groom. The veil symbolizes unity and that the couple shall be “clothed as one.”

Will Sheree Guru and Mr. Joe Majia please step forward and pin the Vail on this one couple.

The Cord

Attended by: Cindy Beer Linda Meyers

Another set of sponsors are called the cord sponsors. After the veil is placed on both the bride and groom, the cord sponsors place a white cord loosely around the necks of the couple in a “figure eight” configuration. The cord symbolizes the lifelong bond or tie between the bride and groom.

Will Cindy Beer and Linda Meyers please step forward and place the Cord around the couple.

May your Father above, and the Lord of Lords, and the Holy Spirit comfort you both; and give you love and peace forever now that you are bound together. 

Will the sponsors of the Veil and Cord, now please reverse this bondage symbolically.

The 13 14 Coins

Attended to by: Danny Meyers

Another strongly-held tradition is the Arras which translated into Spanish means “earnest money.” The Reverend will drop coins onto the hands of both Steve and Christine symbolizing a life of fidelity and wealth.

The following ceremony is called the 13 Coins, named after the 13 Apostles and for Jesus. Jesus actually makes up the 14th coin.

Jesus chose his closest followers very carefully.  He needed people he could trust to send out His message and to continue the work when He was no longer around to lead the nascent Christian movement.  The word "disciple" refers to a "learner" or "follower".  The word "apostle" refers to "one who is sent out". While Jesus was on earth, the twelve were called disciples.  The twelve disciples followed Jesus, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. 

After Jesus' resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out (Matthew 28: 18-20; Acts 1:8) to be his witnesses. 

They were then referred to as "The Twelve Apostles". 

Will Mr. Danny Meyers please come forward with the 13 coins and assist me with this ceremony.

Steve and Christine, will you please hold out your hands together so that you’ll both feel each coin drop into your hands.  As each coin drops; keep them as a reminder of this day; your future fidelity, and wealth with each other. 

These are the names of the Apostles


1. Andrew.

2. Bartholomew (Nathaniel)

3. James

4. James, The Lessor 

5. John.

6. Judas Iscariot,

7. Matthew

8. Matthias (Acts 1:12-26          (Very Good Reading)) After Judas killed himself in the field Akeldama (Field of Blood), the remaining 11 Apostles drew lots and picked Matthias as Judas' replacement. 

9. Philip.

10. Simon (called Peter). 

11. Simon the Patriot,

12. Thaddaeus, and

13. Thomas.

14.  This 14th coin represents Jesus, who was also an Apostle.  

May God bless your both.  

 Communion

Both Steve and Christine take communion together as a sign of God’s love for each another. 

The earliest written books of Christian scripture are the letters, or epistles, of Saint Paul, the apostle to the gentiles. In his first letter to the church he had founded in Corinth, usually attributed to Paul's two-year stay in Ephesus (between 53 and 57 AD) Paul described the Last Supper:

23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

The body of the Lord Jesus

The Blood of the Lord Jesus.

                                                   Blessing With Holy Oil 

FRANKINCENSE & MYRRH ANOINTING OIL 

In temple days, sweet incense containing Frankincense was placed on the Inner Altar of the Tabernacle and burned morning and evening. It speaks of Intercession.  

Myrrh, used as a burial spice and in purification rites, was a primary ingredient of the Holy Anointing Oil. It speaks of suffering and death, but our total deliverance in the atoning work of Jesus.

 

Frankincense & Myrrh, two of the three prophetic gifts given to Jesus at His birth, represent His role as Priest and Prophet, signifying all that Jesus would do and continues to do on our behalf. 

In the name of your Father in Heaven, Jesus the Christ of Bethlehem, and of the Holy Spirit, I ask their blessings upon you.

Ring Exchange

Now, we come to the sacred and joyous moment of what this day signifies.


It is in speaking these vows that you lay the foundation for the rest of your shared life together.

Do you both understand and accept the seriousness and responsibility of the vows you are about to make?

 Steve and Christine: Yes we do.

Do you have rings to give to one another?

Steve and Christine: Yes we do.

May I have the rings, please.

Your rings are a symbol of perfection, of wholeness and peace.

They will sit quietly upon your fingers reminding you of the power of your love
and the vows you make here today.


And just as they have no points of weakness, may your union be strong,
and may you be blessed with joy as you journey through life together, surrounded by the circle of your love.

FOR STEVE

Steve, Do you take Christine as your wife and equal, lover and best friend, keeping yourself only unto her for as long as you both shall live?

Steve: Yes, I do.

Please repeat after me.


                          I choose you, Christine to be my lifelong partner,

Lover and best friend.

I promise to always be faithful and true,

To laugh with you in joy

And comfort you in sorrow.

Wherever our path leads us, it takes us together.

I will encourage and support you,

Honor you and love you.

I will respect our differences

And do my part

To work through our challenges.

With purity of heart

And love in my soul,

I stand before you now

As your lifelong partner.

As a sign of my love

I give you this ring

With the promise that I will love you and keep my heart open to you all the days of my life.

FOR CHRISTINE

Christine, Do you take Steve as your husband and equal, lover and best friend, keeping yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?

ChristineYes, I do.

Christine, please repeat after me.

I choose you, Steve, to be my lifelong partner,

Lover and best friend.

I promise to always be faithful and true,

To laugh with you in joy

And comfort you in sorrow.

Wherever our path leads us, it takes us together.

I will encourage and support you,

Honor you and love you.

I will respect our differences

And do my part

To work through our challenges.

With purity of heart

And love in my soul,

I stand before you now

As your lifelong partner.

As a sign of my love I give you this ring with the promise that I will love you and keep my heart open to you all the days of my life.

Final Blessing

 Steve and Christine:

You have joined yourselves to one another this 9th day of October, 2013.

 By your solemn vows,
And by the giving and receiving of rings.

Go into the world now and fulfill your lives.
Hold fast to your ideals.
Give to each other experiences of joy.
Challenge each other that you may grow
And always love one another with understanding.

May the love you hold for each other now sealed in marriage continue to mature, that your life together may be a source of strength and inspiration to others

                                               Pronouncement of Marriage

In as much as you have presented yourselves here and exchanged vows and rings as the symbols of your relationship; and by the power that is vested in me by the State of California and by the power of your love, I do so proclaim that you are now husband and wife.

Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.

You May Kiss the Bride

Steve, if so intended and desired, you may kiss the beautiful Bride!

Presentation of the Bride and Groom 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure to present to you for the first time,

     Mr. and Mrs. Steve and Christine Whitters.