It was interesting going to a Christian wedding with a mixed bunch of people (some who would prefess a faith in Jesus and others who wouldn’t). It made me wonder what other people make of Christian weddings.
I always find Christian weddings special. It’s not just a spoken commitment with a bit of ritual wrapped around it. The parts of the typical English wedding ceremony are all very meaningful to Christians; from the opening words of the vicar, the songs, the ceremony itself, the prayers, through to the final blessing at the end.
The marriage is centered on the vows and the commitments made in them, and it usually marks a very deep change in the couple’s status. Often they have abstained from sex before marriage, and probably haven’t lived together. And, of course, there is the real sense of celebration of the bride and groom as individuals, and as a newly formed couple.
Whereas, admittedly not all of them, but most church weddings of non-Christian people, I find a bit false. It’s odd to hear people speaking and singing things that they don’t necessarily believe, and I find it odd when the party afterwards is made more important than the marriage itself. This is not a sensation that has been exclusive to my Christian life. I went to a church wedding of some friends even before I started finding out about God and it just felt awkward.
Yet I find myself wondering what other people make of it all. Do people who don’t follow the Christian faith find Weddings of believers different to weddings of non-believers? Does it seem “special” to them? Does it seem more meaningful? I wonder what our worship looks like from the outside?
Of course, I don’t wish to devalue the marriage of people who don’t follow Christ. The commitment of marriage is incredibly special and I support it, uphold it, and respect it however it is done. I would much rather people get married, if it’s the right thing for them to do, than not get married!
But as a little windows into the lives and rituals of believers, I wonder how these ceremonies look and feel to others, what effect it has on them, and what we might be able to learn from their experiences.