The Covenant of Holy Union
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
This is it, a moment packed with anticipation , when standing before God and this group of friends and relatives, _________________ and ____________________ pledge themselves to one another in the covenant of Holy Union.
This covenant ceremony celebrates the love of these two women/men. Some people would deny their right to celebrate their love, some people would deny their very right to love at all. We are here to affirm that love and commitment and to share our support of their decision to build a life together.
In this time, they will make promises to one another before God and you, about the lifetime they will spend together. ___________________ and __________________ are here today because ___________________ and ___________________ have asked them to bear witness to their love; realizing the promises they make intend a life and a lifetime; realizing the difficulties they face as well as the joys. This Holy Union sanctifies their love for one another. Your support and sharing of their love and life will make their journey together easier and certainly much fuller. We hope that those of you who are in covenant relationship will take this occasion to renew your own vows.
Therefore, we pray, Gracious God, may your spirit inform and inspire this celebration of Holy Union and always guide the two who are joining their lives and all of us who witness this event. Amen.
______________________ and ______________________ are asked to confess their pasts, that the past may be put behind them and that they may enter a new life together.
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
READING OF SCRIPTURE from Ruth 1:16-17
The Ruth said to Naomi, "Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, there will I be buried. May God do to me and more also if even death parts me from you."
AVOWAL OF INTENT
THE QUESTIONS Do you, __________________ before God and this company, proclaim your love for ______________________? If so, say "I do."
Do you find within you a special love for one another that convinces you that this is your lifemate? If so, say "I do."
Do you seek to live with _________________ in a union that is holy and based upon mutual love, trust and understanding? If so, say "I do."
THE BLESSING OF THE FAMILIES
Who give their blessing to this union and in the giving say an enthusiastic "Yes, we do!" to this new relationship?
Repeat after me: I take you ___________________ to be my spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. Because of my declared love, this is my solemn vow.
BLESSING AND EXCHANGE OF RINGS
These rings are the symbols ___________________ and _________________ bring as evidence of the vows they have just taken.
May I have the rings, please? These rings mark the beginning of a life journey together filled with wonder, surprises, laughter, tears, celebration, grief, and joy. May these rings be a sign to you of the continuing love you have pledged to one another today.
_________________, in joining my life with yours, I give you this ring as a symbol of my enduring love and commitment.
READING OF SCRIPTURE 1 Corinthians 13
WORDS OF ADMONITION OF ADVISE
This is a holy covenant between two persons who love each other. _____________________ and _____________________, your union is one of the most sacred and most treasured parts of your life. It is a celebration of the mystery and wonder that deep love brings to living. It is also a recognition, however, that love and relationships are not always easy and that along with tenderness, newness, and joy in this holy bonding, this union must overcome many forces that might destroy it. Love is dynamic and will fly away from a relationship that has become static and unbending. When love lives, as it does here today, it reflects the deepest and moist tender secrets of the universe.
I charge you, _____________________ and _____________________, with the responsibility to keep alive, to grow, to change, to maintain the capacity for wonder, for spontaneity, for humour; to remain flexible, warm, and sensitive. Give fully to each other, no matter what demands are made upon your day.
I charge you to nurture each other to fullness and wholeness, realizing that each of you will need at times to bring strength and support and worth to the other. To do this with the blessing of God requires that you honour the divine in each other and in yourselves. And I charge you, as you grow to love each other more deeply, to discover out of this love, a love for all of creation in which the mystery of your love has happened.
PRAYERS OF CONSECRATION
ADMINISTRATION OF COMMUNION
SIGNING OF THE DOCUMENTS
O God, we pray that this couple and all who are gathered here will grow in the understanding and experience of love. As _____________________ and _____________________ become bound closer to each other, may they also ever be more surely themselves, and in being themselves, they grow to love each other more and more. To your tender and watchful care we here commit _____________________ and _____________________ in health and sickness, in abundance and want, in life and death, abide with them that they shall never withdraw from you. In the name of God who loves and liberates us. Amen.
You have now publicly shared your love for and special commitment to one another. Explore this love well with deep reverence. Explore it with joy and hope and perseverance. By the authority vested in me by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, I now pronounce you joined in Holy Union, according to the Spirit and in accord with the human law of love.
Today is a new beginning in the lives of _____________________ and _____________________. May God's peace and love go with them as they continue life's journey. Amen.