As I’ve pointed out before, Lutherans treat a wedding as a matter of worship.
First yea, it really gets under my skin having five comedians (the Big Bang Wedding between Howard and Bernadette) claiming that they’re “ordained” ministers. The state designates those who can marry, such as county clerks, judges etc, they’re certainly not “ordained”, the state sets the requirements. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it’s not enough to be ordained, you have to be the pastor of an active church.
Yes, people can be designated by the state to perform a one-time marriage ceremony and I think there are states that can license you to regularly perform weddings. That does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that you’re “ordained”. The United States military requires chaplains to have a Masters of Divinity Degree, that chaplains are properly examined and ordained by a recognized religious organization and also requires further training. I would say that this is the best description of being “ordained”, you sure as heck don’t do it on line for one wedding ceremony.
Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, what I’m really twisted about is the trivial, sentimental, “it’s all about me” wedding ceremony. As I said, Lutherans hold weddings to be a worship service. It is a serious, albeit joyous, occasion, and needs to be treated seriously. Why on earth would you want to start something as serious and sacred as marriage with something as trivial as what was on television?
We don’t treat marriage very seriously, it’s a convenience, it’s social convention, it’s a reason to have fun time. But it’s really not a commitment. Sorry ladies, but for too many of you it’s just a time where you’re the center of attention, and the fun and the party is all about you. Afterwards, well… I’ve had my own experiences. I try and I am going to be redoubling that effort, to insist that anyone I marry has a significant amount of counseling. I went to some time and expense to get trained in a comprehensive program to let people analyse a lot of their interpersonal relationships and to deal with them as we do counseling. I want them to start out in their marriage with as much as possible on the table between the two. I don’t want to hear 2, 3, 5 however many years down the road: “well we just couldn’t work it out…” I want it to get worked out before the marriage. My goal is to marry a man and a woman who go into marriage with their eyes wide open and to have that marriage last a life time. I’m going to do all that I can to make sure it doesn’t end in divorce.
ESV Mark 10:8 and they shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” … 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her,”
Divorce is not acceptable to God. Yes it happens and He certainly provides in the cases when an unbelieving spouse wants a divorce or simply walks away. And divorce is not the unforgivable sin. But as a Christian pastor who only wants to marry two people who are in Christ, who are married in Christian worship, who take solemn vows before God to stay married “…so long as you both shall live?” You just made a solemn vow, for those who want to get married, you should seriously consider what you are doing when you are taking that vow before God.
Save all the sentimental, dancing around, food, decorations, trivial stuff etc for the reception. I promise I will, probably, show up. But I won’t stay long so you can do some of the crazy stuff. But in that sanctuary, before that altar and a minister of the Gospel, your family and friends, it is serious business. It is done in formal dress, in a formal environment, before God in order to emphasize the solemnity of the occasion. We all need to treat it that way and understand what we say and do. I’m sure the Big Bang stuff is all cute and fun, but marriage, from the start, should be about that relationship that Jesus lives before us. Jesus’ example is about His being the bridegroom and the church being the bride. He has sacrificed all for His bride and protected and served her, how could the bride, the church, not do as much as it can. We take that relationship of Christ and His Church as our example as husband and wife and live that in the strength and faith that the Holy Spirit gives us to live as one-flesh.
I know someone’s going to fuss, “oh it’s just television”, yea but. This is what people take seriously the absolute trivializing of marriage, and be honest, that’s where too many people are today. So let’s knock off the stupid stuff about being a “Reverend”, it’s a lot of hard work, time and education. Believe me. As much as you trivialize the Ministry of Christ’s Church and the institution of marriage, what really should we take seriously anymore?