When a man and a woman commit their lives together as one before our Lord, it can be an opportunity for great blessing in the fellowship of the Body of Christ. The saints can gather in a home or a park or a building of convenient size in order to encourage the couple and to exhort them and bear one another's burdens together and to be witnesses to their commitment and to celebrate a joyous occasion with gratitude to our Lord. The focus can be on the Lord Jesus Christ, the man and woman to be wed, and the Bride of Christ with whom they belong. Parents of the couple can take part in the reading of scripture and praying and exhorting and encouraging. Others in the fellowship can also serve and participate. There can be music and singing and flowers and beauty and rejoicing.
In the world and among religious systems there are so many traditions associated with weddings. So much money (thousands of dollars), are spent for lavish weddings. Even the not-so-lavish ceremonies can be expensive. For the followers of Jesus there is no requirement to “break the bank” for a wedding! Why are there such worldly, ritualistic traditions surrounding weddings? Why are people convinced that they must have such an expensive, public spectacle? Is it fleshly pride? Do we just not know any better? Is this what it takes to "make a memory"? Perhaps we're desiring to "be all things to all people", with our relatives in mind. So, how should we best be a witness to others as we gather for this wedding?
Usually, by tradition, there is a clergyman who presides. And it’s often the clergyman who is the center of attention when it should be the couple getting married! There is no Biblical requirement for a wedding to be presided over by a clergyman and there’s no requirement for the ceremony to be held in a “church building”. The way the civil government system is set up in this country (in Washington State), a couple must get a marriage license which then must be signed by an agent of the government: a clergyman or a judge. For followers of Jesus who fellowship in house churches without a professional clergy, there must be various ways to comply with Caesar’s law. But at the very least, Caesar’s law could be complied with in front of Caesar’s representative, for example a judge, and then the couple could have their wedding with the Body of Christ.
According to God’s Word, a wedding ceremony is not a “sacrament” or a “means of grace”. It is not a religious ritual that requires a priest/clergyman. A wedding is a public commitment to Jesus Christ and before the witness of his people. It is a family affair. Since, the Bible does not tell followers of Jesus how we should conduct our weddings, we have great freedom. We even have freedom to follow the traditions of the world if we want, as long they don’t violate some other clear teaching of scripture, and as long as our motivations are Love and Truth. But, we also have the freedom to NOT follow the traditions of the world.
I certainly don’t intend to force my
convictions upon my daughters and son and their spouses. But I will advise and
advocate because that’s part of my calling as a father and a member of the Body
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:31-33)
“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” (John 2:1-11)
“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:27-30)
“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:9)