Civil Union Ceremony of

"This is the day that he Lord has made,
Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118

Welcome friends. ________________________ and _______________________________ are delighted that you're here with them to celebrate with them and to witness the saying of their vows to one another, for you, their families and friends, have loved them and cared for them, and thereby have helped shape their lives.

As we gather to witness this civil union ceremony, we not only celebrate the love that these two have for each other. We also gather to worship God whose very being is love. We come to praise God who, in Jesus Christ, has both loved us and given us a model of all our human loves.

Let us lift our hearts in Praise of God in the words of Psalm 100: "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is He that made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations."

We are gathered here in the sight of God to witness and to celebrate the union of ___________________and___________________. It is not to be entered into lightly, but with certainty, with mutual respect, and with a sense of reverence which includes beauty, honor, and joy.

The essence of this commitment is the acceptance of each other as lover, companion, and friend. A good and balanced relationship is one in which neither person is overpowered nor absorbed by the other, one in which neither person is possessive of the other, one in which both give their love freely and without jealousy. It is, ideally, a sharing of responsibilities, hopes, and dreams. It takes a special effort to grow together, survive hard times, and be loving and unselfish.

It's true that there should be love within our hearts, but the Scriptures tell us of a source of love that transcends human love. Let us listen to the Apostle John describes the divine love which Christ gives us: (John 15) "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing... As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

(Words from Pastor)
 
"Into this union, ________________ and ________________ desire to enter. Let us therefore ask God's blessing.

Almighty and merciful God, we your children praise and thank you for the many gifts of your grace; and this day we especially thank you for the gift of family and friends, and for this union today. We thank you for the joy which ____________________ and ____________________ find in each other, and for the love and trust in which they enter this union. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who reveals your love and grace to us, Amen.

__________________, do you take ______________ to be your partner for life?

I do.

__________________, do you take ______________ to be your partner for life?

I do.


Will the parents please stand?

You, the parents/families of __________________ and ___________________ have a special joy in this occasion, for you more than anyone have bestowed love on them; and your joy is full because you and we are also witnessing the coming together of two families to form new ties. Do you, the parents of _______________ and _________________ promise to love and uphold them in the future as you have in the past?

We do!

Earlier we said that in Jesus Christ, God has both loved us and given us a model, a pattern for all human loves. In our next reading, Colossians 3:12-17, Paul urges us to forgive one another, as we have been forgiven in Christ. Every couple has learned that forgiveness is one of the keys to a happy union: "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ... And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

I, ________________________, take you, _____________________, to be partner for life, and I promise to love you from this day forward, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as life shall last.

I, ________________________, take you, _____________________, to be partner for life, and I promise to love you from this day forward, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as life shall last.
 
(quietly request rings)

O God, bless these rings, symbols of the union that ____________ and ___________ enter today in your presence. May their rings remind them of your encircling love and unending faithfulness so that they may always find joy and peace in one another. Amen.

This ring I give you as a symbol of my faithfulness and love, and as a pledge to honor you with all that I am.

Now that you, ___________________, and you, ________________, have spoken your vows of love and trust to one another in the presence of God and in the presence of your friends and family, I pronounce you partners for life. You may now share a kiss as a newly united couple.

As the flames of your two souls have burned alone during your childhood and adolescence, lighting your way to this moment, now they have begun to burn together and become one flame. To symbolize this new unity and togetherness, I invite you to now light the unity candle.

(Solo sung during unity candle lighting. If desired couple may present a rose to the parents at this time)

May you live in gentleness and peace with all people, knowing always the riches of friendship. May the love which you share today grow throughout your lives. And may the peace of Christ which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, so that your love for each other will flourish and deepen, illuminating your lives and those about you. Amen.

Presentation of the new couple.

Rev. Kirk Moore

Wheaton IL 60189

(630) 204-1436

revkirk.com