Minister: For every season there is a reason
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
Song: "Enter, Rejoice and Come In"
We are called together here on the age of space, the end of time for an occasion of utmost importance in the lives of ___________ and __________ . They have invited you, the members of their beloved community, to share in their joy, to participate as celebrants in their union.
For them this celebration means that they are going to count on one another, that they are going to treat one another with care, and that they are going to continue to share their lives with each other as partners, as friends and to go on building their future together. This is an expression of the spiritual bond that they experience together. They see their union not as a time of static contentment with each other and the world around them, but as an ongoing process of exploring the fullness of their individual persons and sharing their friendship and love with you, their friends and family.
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspeakable memories?
We who have gathered here thank you for allowing us to share in your joy on this occasion.
Love is not some accident we fall into. Falling in love should be suspect. But if we grow in love, then there is the possibility that our tomorrows will be even more joyous, more tender and caressing, more devoted to life flowing through us; tomorrows more fall of the thrill of life even as each today is better than yesterday. Love has the capacity for that magic. Perhaps only love has such capacity.
Martin Buber implies that people become fully human only when their being is confirmed by another person. Buber writes, "secretly and bashfully (every person) watches for a YES which allows that person to be and which can come only from one human person to another. It is from one (person) to another that the heavenly bread of self-being is passed." Thus it is in loving relationships that we can find out what the meaning of existence is about. Such a state of love does not start with a public ceremony; the union ceremony is only a public ceremony, a community YES to what already exists.
A love that can grow can also protect itself then from myriad blights; the attrition of the workaday world; the many distractions that erode one's commitment.
As the lack of love breeds contempt for the world, you will find your growing love to unite you not merely to one another but in closer bonds with all people, and indeed, to the world of nature from which we all come. When your love is secure, and you are secure in your love, you are then free to see the preciousness of people behind their little masks and to see the sunsets, the star-filled nights, the movement of waves upon the beach with brilliant new perspective.
Let us join in singing "Carry the Light."
Minister: Do you, the members of their beloved community, affirm and support what it is we do here today?
Congregation: Our hope for you is that the love adventure you have begun will be nourished. Our pledge to you as friends is to help you, to the best of our abilities, in its nourishment.
e.e. cummings, dive for dreams
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from Gift from the Sea
e.e. cummings, i carry your heart
Will you say your vows to each other?
I, ________ take you, ________, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I don't yet know, with respect to your integrity, and faith in your love for me, through our years together, and in all that life may bring us, I accept you as my partner in life.
( ________ addresses the same words to ________.)
May these rings be forever a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no giver and no receiver - for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today and may these rings be blessed by the love with which they are given.
As you place this ring on ________ 's finger say after me:
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love.
( ________ addresses the same words to ________.)
________ and ________ have sought and accepted each other joyously. May all that life brings to them strengthen the bond that they have declared today. May all their loved ones, those present and those unable to be present, continue to rejoice in the warmth of the love that has united them. May they be comfort and joy, counsel and strength to each other. And may the home they build shed its peace on them and all who seek its shelter with them. Amen.
Giver of life and love, we give thanks for all the beauty in the world: for its promise and its fulfillment; for all that gives gladness; for the joys of knowledge and of love and of faith. We give thanks for all that binds us to one another; for all the common experiences which make us kin; for the needs which find their highest satisfactions in loving association with others.
Song: Song of the soul
May the love in your hearts give you joy. May the greatness of life bring you peace. And made your days be good, and your lives be long upon the earth. So be it. Will you greet each other with a kiss?