Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Affirmation of Community

One of the defining characteristics that makes a Christian Marriage unique from all other relationships is the prominent role of the community. There is no getting around this. A Christian Marriage involves much more than the declaration of love between two people. Those family and friends that gather to witness the exchanging of vows are not mere passive bystanders; rather, they are active participants in the covenant being created.

In the picture above Carol and I are sort of awkwardly looking in the direction of our friends and family. The picture was taken during the Affirmation of Community (otherwise known as Congregational Blessing). Here, the congregation has an opportunity to make a communal covenant with the couple. It's essentially a vow that the community makes with the soon to be husband and wife. Here are the words addressed to the congregation:

"The new relationship between Ric and Carol has created many changes as each of them takes on the concerns, involvements, and family of the other. They are both excited in the broadening of their lives, and at the same time, they have realized it requires adjustments and accommodations in their other relationship and interests. Will you as their families and friends now support them in their new commitment and relationship? Will you give help, guidance, and encouragement as you are able? Will you respect their independence, honor their decisions, forgive their failures, and rejoice in their successes? Will you love them as your son and daughter, as your brother and sister, and as your friends? If so, respond together: 'We Will.'"

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