Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I wish we had this rule...

Within the Orthodox Church, a number of canons safeguard the sacrament: the marriage must be celebrated in a Church – not outdoor, not in a barn, not in an imaginary romantic setting. It belongs in the Church because it is indeed a sacrament – a means by which God becomes present and we participate in His grace. The couple is also required to have counseling beforehand and to make their confessions before a priest as they prepare to receive one of the Holy Sacraments. One prays that such actions add to the sobriety of the occasion and draw attention towards God and away from the manifold distractions of our silly world.

Given how nearly every Pastor I know detests weddings, precisely because of the silly things and distractions of the world that find their way into them, I know of not a few who wish we had a canon or rule that we could cite to say to some couple who wished to pledge their love freely with spontaneously chosen words while standing out in a meadow filled with wild flowers:  No way, Jose!

But, because we may have a Pastor who makes his own rule or a parish here and there who will back him up (until the wrong family decides to disagree with him), we are stuck without the kind of authority to say, "The Church does not do this."  Period.

You may quibble with the sacramental theology used to justify why in the Church only and what needs to be done by the couple to prepare for marriage, but the sentiment of this canon is spot on (in my book).  Though you who are of a more romantic bent and who see weddings as fairy tale affairs of the heart between two people in lust with each other are free to disagree...


Anonymous said...

"nearly every pastor I know detests
weddings because...of the trivia"

It is time for an attitude adjustment
which focuses on the joy you have
to help a couple make their marriage
a success under Christ's blessings.

The WEDDING may last 20-30 minutes,
but the MARRIAGE lasts a lifetime.
The Key is premarital counseling
based on the Biblical texts. Most
couples appreciate 3 to 4 sessions
with their pastor preparing for

Anonymous said...

"two people with lust in their
hearts" All couples begin with a
little "eros" as part of their
physical attraction to each other.
However the Christian couple will
with the help of the Holy Spirit
develop "agape" in their relationship
and mature in Christ.

Larry, you would not be here if your
parents did not have a little eros
many, many years ago.

Colleen Oakes said...

I would have to politely disagree with you on this. As a wedding vendor, I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of marriages in many, nay different places. Living in Colorado, there are ton of weddings in the mountains - including the weddings of a couple pastors. It's nice to have it in a church, but not every church can have a wedding (or fit the guests). I would say what matters is the couple's mindset and heart, and that the pastor has done a lot of premarital counseling, praying and spiritual guidance with the couple. There are many Godly marriages that have been sealed inside and outside the church.

Pastor Peters said...

I love the counseling but not the wedding. In Tennessee the premarital is required or you pay triple the price for the marriage license. And it is a minimum of 6-8 hours.