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Significant Practices

Describe one Significant Practice (Marriage Ceremony) within


Christianity
- MARRIAGE: Being sanctioned by God, it is a rite of passage which
instigates a union and holy bond between a man and a woman in a
faithful relationship and companionship for life
Characteristi
c

Explanation

The Time

The couple are required to be over the age of 18 years.

The Place

The wedding ceremony takes place in the Church. (anywhere


for protestants, Pentecostals, low anglican)

The
Participants

The rite of marriage is a public ceremony- the couple are


required to make their vows in public. Also present are 2
witnesses, families and friends and a priest or minister.

The Charter

Orthodox, Roman Catholic and some Protestant Christians


regard marriage as a sacrament this means that it is a
special means by which God acts in peoples lives.

The Set Form

The religious ceremony involves many symbols and actions


such as : opening song, bridal procession, giving the bride
away, readings from the bible, etc. This can vary with each
Christian denomination.

The Symbols

The use of symbols will vary with different Christian


denominations. Some which are common include:
Recitation of marriage vows
Exchange of rings
Readings from scripture

The
Transformatio
n

Drinking from the cup of wine


Joining hands while the marriage vows are made
Signing the marriage contract
Saying of prayers
The bride wearing a veil and wearing white

Prior to marriage this couple were single and from 2 separate


families. Marriage unites these two people together in love,
forming a new family unit in which husband and wife are
responsible for one another and for their children.

Main Parts of the Ceremony (in order)


1. GATHERING: of the community a public act requiring witnesses and
prayerful support
2. BRIDE BEING GIVEN AWAY (not orthodox): bride joining the husband to
be she is walked into the church on the arm of her father, whom gives her
away to the groom
3. SCRIPTURE READINGS/PREACHING: as the basis of the Christian
Understanding of marriage and instructions from the priest/minister about
the significance marriage in the Christian life
4. QUESTIONS: are asked of each couple regarding consent free will and
legality of the union
5. VOWS: the couple could answer questions or make statements about their
willingness to be joined together in marriage
6. DECLARATION: of marriage status the priest/minister makes a
declaration of their married state
7. RINGS: are exchanged as a sign of their union, rings are blessed and put
on the fingers of the bride and groom
8. SIGNING OF THE REGISTER: a legal requirement for both church and state
records, requiring witnesses
9. PRAYER OF BLESSING (candlelight): Gods blessing and prayerful support
f the gathered Christian community is sought

Demonstrate how the chosen practice expresses the beliefs of


Christianity (pg 84-86 white booklet) (slides 17-24)
Beliefs
- GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF MARRIAGE: he made them male and female and
wrote marriage into human nature, In the beginning, at the time of
creation, God made them male and female as the Scripture says.
(Mk 10:6)
- SACRAMENT: Christ made marriage a sacrament and gave it the

properties we have considered (Catholics, High Anglican, orthodox) a


sacred ritual through which believers participate in the spiritual reality
they participate in
-

COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND THE COUPLE: this is why in some


denominations the marriage must take place in the church on holy ground
however for Protestants and Pentecostals anywhere is fine because of

Symbols

omnipresence, it will be the sacred portion of the land for the


priests (Eze 43:4)
MAN & A WOMAN: marriage can only be between a man and a woman,
male and female (Gen 1: 27)the two individuals become one, for
this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to
his wife and the two will become one flesh . So they are no longer
two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man
separate (Mk 10:6-9)
MONOGAMEOUS: meaning sexual love is to be only shared with your
spouse The Solemnisation of Marriage (Anglican Church)
REFLECTS THE COVENANT BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CHURCH: the
church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant
between Christ and the Church, husbands love your wives just as
Christ loved the Church (Eph 5: 25)
INDISSOLUBILITY/PERMANENCY: just as Christ is united forever,
indissolubly to his church, I am with you always, to the close of the
age (Mt 28:20), so Christian marriage is forever, till death do us part
OPENESS TO LIFE/PROCREATION: God gave the gift of creating life for
procreation, within the gift of marriage, it is the only stable place to have
children, go forth and multiply (Gen 1:28)
CORE TEACHING LOVE: is integral in the Christian tradition through
marriage the couple achieve agape (self giving love) and eros (lust) faith
hope and love and the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:1)
love one another as I have loved you (Jn 13: 33-35)

Beliefs

Bride Being Given Away (not orthodox)


- CHRIST & THE CHURCH: the symbolic
- ACTION: The bride joining the husband to
practice reflects the key belief of unity which
be she is walked into the church on the
exists between Jesus as Christians as
arm of her father, whom gives her away
emphasised, Christ Jesus throughout all
to the groomthis symbolises the
generations, forever and ever! (Eph
breaking of past times
3:21)
- UNITO CARO: the couples are leaving their - MAN & WOMAN: the breaking of past ties
parents to cling to a new life and thus
while establishing the forever lasting union of
become one
the couple, for this reason a man will
leave his father and mother and be
united to his wife and the two will
become one flesh .(Mk 10:6-9)
Scripture Readings
- LOVE: the scripture readings will reflect the
- CENTRAL BELIEFS: couple can choose
importance of this core ethical teaching in
their own readings or can be given a set
marriage and love, love is patient, love is
to choose from to ensure that the
kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,
central Christian beliefs about marriage
it is not proudLove never fails (1 Cor
are the focus.
13: 4-8)
- PRIEST/MINISTER: as the basis of the
Christian understanding of marriage and
instructions from the priest/minister
about the significance of marriage in the

Christian life
- FOCUS: on marriage as a life-long, sacred
commitment, instituted by God, and the
faithfulness and love that are required
to make the marriage work faith hope
and love and the greatest of these is
love (1 Cor 13:1) love one another
as I have loved you (Jn 13: 33-35)
Exchanging of Vows
- COVENANT BETWEEN GOD & THE COUPLE:
- VOWS: the couple answer questions or
they are a symbolic covenant of Gods
make statements about their willingness
unconditional and unending love for his
to be joined together in marriage
people, God is love (Jn 4:16) thus
- LIFE LONG COMMITMENT: affirm the
Therefore what God has joined together,
Christian belief that marriage is a lifelet no man separate (Mk 10:6-9)
long commitment.
- LOVE: the words are symbolic of the couples
love (agape), to have and to hold from
this day forward, for better for worse, in
sickness and in health(Anglican
common book of prayer)
- MONOGAMEOUS: the vows recognise the
total fidelity the bride and groom have for one
another
Exchanging or Rings
- COVENANT BETWEEN CHRIST/GOD AND
- RINGS: are exchanged, as a sign of union,
THE CHURCH: it is a tangible physical
rings are blessed and put on the fingers
example for their love of each other and God
of the bride and groom
e.g. in the Coptic Orthodox church
- SIGN: wedding rings are an outward and
wedding rings are tied together by a red
visible sign of an inward spiritual grace,
ribbon, signifying the unbreakable bond
signifying to all the uniting of this man
between Christ (red = Christs blood)
and this woman in marriage
and the couple
- REPRSENTS: eternity, continuity, divinity - PERMENANCY/INSOLLUBILITY: epitomises
- ORTHODOX: the rings are exchanged
the unbreakable connection between the
three times on the fingers linking it to
individual and Christ, I am with you
the covenant and trinity of God
always, until the end of time (Mt
28:20) till death do us part (Anglican
book of prayers)(Rm 7: 1-3)
- LOVE & FIDELITY: the loves are a symbol of
love and fidelity, never ending love due to the
circular shape
Candlelight Blessing (orthodox, catholic, - GOD THE AUTHOR OF MARRIAGE: the ever
Anglican)
present light of the flame symbolises Gods
- TWO CANDLES INTO ONE: the two
prescience reminds us that marriage is a
separate candles symbolise the separate
gift from God
lives and separate family lighting the - PRESCENCE OF CHRIST: remind that Christ is
forever present in the sacrament and he is
centre candle represents the joining
illumination for the couple who shall not walk

together of the your lives and families


so they are no longer two but one (Mk
10:8)
- BLESSING FROM GOD: the practice
represents the blessings from God as he
approves the couples love and union,
while Christians are called to show a
relationship of love where spouses learn
to administer sacrifices in their forever
lasting bond with each other and God

in darkness but will have the light of life

Analyse the significance of this practice for both the individual


and the Christian community
Individual
- ELEVATES THE MUNDANE TO SUPERNATURAL: Every aspect of the
couples relationship is meant to reflect the love Christ has for his church, so
that even the most mundane events of life, the love the couple has for each
other deepens their relationship with God.
- STRUCTURES THE LIVES OF THE COUPLE: Prior to marriage they are both
single with responsibility just for themselves. Now married they share the
same home and they have ongoing responsibility for each other and for their
children.
- A WAY OF HOLINESS: Marriage is a sacred and lifelong union of a man and
a woman who give themselves to each other in trust and love. Their
relationship should reflect the everlasting love that God has for the Church
through Christ. Through marriage, the couple express their love and service
of God through their love and service of each other.
- SACRAFICIAL LOVE: it provides a model of help and comfort in times of
hardship and adversity
- PROCREATION: as it is a unitive and procreative relationship it is the right
for sexual relations , be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1: 28)

Community
- IDENTIFICATION WITHIN THE COMMUNITY: For example, a couple who
are married in a Catholic Church are likely to have their children baptised in
the Catholic Church.
- STREHTHENS/BUILDS THE COMMUNITY OF BELIVERS: by bringing new
members into it as the fruit of human married love
- COMMUNITY SUPPORT COUPLE: in their marriage by giving them good
examples, praying for them, supporting them materially and emotionally
when needed the couple realise they are not alone they have the whole
parish/community journeying with them supporting them along the way
- GOOD ORDER OF SOCIETY: as a result of the formation of the family unit
e.g. the greatest empire the world has known (the Roman)
destroyed itself and imploaded and the first signs of its

disintegration were the breakup of families and the tenuous nature


of "marriage" relationships.
GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD/STRENGTHEN FAITH OF
COMMUNITY: John tells us that "god is love" and since we cannot see God
our only understanding is to look at the expressions of love and the most
authentic expression is that of spouses for each other.

Symbols

Individuals/Community

Bride Being Given


Individuals
- UNITO CARO: this practice impacts
Away (not
on the married couple as the legal
Orthodox)
notion of unito caro (one flesh)
occurs where the couple leaves
their parents to begin a new life
together as one

Community

Scripture
Readings

Community

Exchanging of
Vows

Exchanging or

Individuals

- A WAY OF HOLINESS: their


- DEEPENS UNDERSTANDING OF
relationship should reflect the
BELIEFS/MARRIAGE: is
everlasting love that God has for
considered an act of worship by
the Church through Christ. This
not only the married couple, but
couple are reminded that through
the congregation at large. The
this love they are living a holy life
community benefits from the
- PROCREATION: as it is a unitive
significance placed on marriage as
and procreative relationship it is
the beliefs of Christianity are seen
the right for sexual relations, the
through the scripture readings
scripture readings reflect this be
fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:
28)

Individuals
- MONOGAMEOUS: the vows
recognise the total fidelity the
bride and groom have for one
another
- ELEVATES THE MUNDANE TO
SUPERNATURAL: the most
mundane events of life, the love
the couple has for each other
deepens their relationship with
God. The vows transcend the
mundane events in life to
supernatural
Individual

Community
- COMMUNITY SUPPORT COUPLE:
the community are made aware of
their devotion in the vows they
assist in their marriage by giving
them good examples, praying for
them, supporting them materially
and emotionally when needed

Community

Rings

- REMINDS A COUPLE OF THEIR


LOVE: in their everyday lives

- MARITAL STATUS: the wearing of


a ring within the community
allows other people to be aware of
an individuals marital status and
their eternal commitment to God

Candlelight
Individuals
Community
Blessing
- STRUCTURES THE LIVES OF THE - STREHTHENS/BUILDS THE
(orthodox,
COUPLE: Prior to marriage they
COMMUNITY OF BELIVERS: by
catholic, Anglican)
are both single with responsibility
bringing new members into it as
just for themselves. Now married
the fruit of human married love
GOOD
ORDER OF SOCIETY: as a
they share the same home and
result of the formation of the
they have ongoing responsibility
family unit
for each other and for their
children.
- PROCREATION: as it is a unitive
and procreative relationship it is
the right for sexual relations be
fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:
28)