Here's what I put together and shared for anyone who might find themselves in a similar position some day. Please feel free to borrow all or just parts of it as you see fit.
The Word of God says in Colossians 3, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Whether you’re married or not, I think we’d all agree that holding on to grudges can be so devastating to any relationship, but especially to a marriage. It might seem so cliché and obvious to talk about the “importance of” and “the need for” forgiveness on a day like today, and yet, I think it’s the best piece of advice that anyone could ever give to a Bride and her Groom. That's probably because it’s the one thing we all tend to struggle with the most.
Trust me, those two words of “I Do” that you both said to each other earlier today and before God, mean absolutely nothing unless you are also willing to say the three words “I Forgive You” – and are willing to say them to each other often -- because “true love” means that we are to “forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
And so my prayer for you SAM, and for you RANDY, is this… Almighty, Everlasting God, our Heavenly Father, grant that by Your blessing SAM and RANDY may live together according to Your Word and promises. Strengthen them in faithfulness and love toward each other. Sustain and defend them in all trials and temptations. Help them to live in faith toward You not just as “one flesh” but as part of the “one body” of believers that is Your holy Church. Help them to live in loving sacrifice and service to each other so that they may enjoy Your blessing and gift of marriage.
Lord, we pray that they find all the tasks in life easier because they approach those tasks together. In sickness and in health, may they rely on Your strength rather than their own. In the shadows of doubts and uncertainties, may they find their way through them by the light of Your truth. In loneliness and desperation, may they find joy in You, Your Word, and Your Sacraments. In failures born out of sin, may they always be reminded of Your forgiveness and mercy, freely available to them and to all through repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Christ.
Lord, we are thankful to be gathered at this Wedding Reception to celebrate the love that unites SAM and RANDY in the bond of marriage. Bless this food that we are about to receive -- a sign of Your continuing care for us. May Your blessing be upon SAM and RANDY, their families, their friends, all of us who are gathered here today as well as those who are unable to be with us tonight.
We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!