Focusing Your Ceremony Heavenward       

In biblical covenants, symbolic actions were often used to demonstrate the significance of the event. When Joshua made a covenant he placed a stone under an oak tree so that all the people would see it and remember. Sometimes, sacrifices were offered as a symbol of a covenant (Exodus 24:5-8) or salt was used in a ritual to convey specific meaning.

Symbols that are carefully chosen can continue to carry significant meaning for your entire marriage. Something as simple as the stone I found this morning might be all you need to remind you of your commitment to God and each other. Or you might, like a friend of mine, choose a lump of coal as a symbol of God’s grace -  as the coal is turned into a diamond, so too is your marriage with God’s help.

Consider your vows. Your vows too are symbols of something greater. Vows may be personal but not necessarily private - they involve the whole community. Marriage unites families; consequently, faithfulness to your promises will effect the entire family community. Hence, the church asks that you “utter aloud before God and these witnesses,” as an underscoring of the public nature of the event. 

The social aspects of the promise cannot be ignored. Perhaps a simple symbolic gesture might be to include your guests to attest to your vows with a verbal response. You might even include a declaration that your guests sign at the end of the ceremony as witnesses to your promises. This simple act will forever remind you of the accountability you have to each other, family and community.

Emphasize worship. God is the primary witness to our covenant promise to each other. Of course, God is the ultimate example of covenant loyalty. Therefore, although our society says this is the bride’s day, in reality it is really God’s day. It is God who is honored when a man and woman commit themselves to loyalty and purity in their new life together. Simply translated, a wedding ceremony is in fact a worship ceremony.

The most important consideration therefore, should be to examine every element of our ceremony to assure that it does not trivialize the significance of the covenant promise, relationship, or the worship. Music is one of the most powerful elements in worship. It can bring us to our feet or take us down on our knees. When choosing music for your ceremony, the overall sentiment should be one that represents or demonstrates Christ-like compassion and enduring love in a way that is appropriate and leads people to worship.

This does not mean that secular music cannot ever be chosen. There is plenty of poetry and other creative expression within the Bible that doesn’t directly mention Christ. But it does express the attitude of Christ’s love and loyalty - that is the key. If there is a secular song that is significant to the two of you that creatively symbolizes such expression, then use it.

Sacred Symbols from the Bible and Christian Tradition

Ecclesiastes 4:12 illustrates that Christian marriage is about more than the union of one man and woman. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” This passage teaches us that God performs a miracle in marriage, uniting us together with Him as one. The simple act of the bride and groom braiding a cord of three strands can be a sacred symbol of that union created on your wedding day. You may choose to incorporate a specific color for each strand. A gold strand can represent God at the center of your marriage. A purple strand may represent the groom -- the majesty of God as head over the husband. A white strand may represent the bride, as in the purity of the bride of Christ.