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An Order for the Renewal of Wedding Vows

.by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

* (The husband and wife making their renewal stand before the minister. Children or other relatives may stand to each side as witnesses.)

 

 1.   P: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

      C: And also with you.

 

(The minister reads the following verses from scripture.)

 

 2.   Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits -- who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

 

 3.   Be renewed in the spirit of your minds.

 

 4.  From the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

 

 5.   Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

 

 6.   God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

 

 7.   Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.

 

 8.   Each of you should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

 

 9.   Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old.

 

10.   Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

 

11.   For you, O God, have heard my vows, you have granted me the heritage of those who fear your Name. So will I always sing the praise of your Name, and day by day I will fulfill my vows.

 

(Then the minister continues:)

 

12.   P: Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, as you once gladdened the wedding at Cana with your presence, so also did you gladden the wedding of this couple in years past when you blessed their union. Be present now as ________________ and ________________ come before you to restate their first vows of promise to one another, so that in your favor they may be filled with renewed love and devotion and be brought at the last to the marriage feast which has no end.

      C: Amen

 

(A brief message or homily may be given at this time. Then the minister shall address the couple.)

 

13.   P:  The Lord God in his goodness created us male and female, and by the gift of marriage founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come.  Because of sin, our age-old rebellion, the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of the family can become a burden.  But because God, who established marriage, continues still to bless it with his abundant and ever-present support, we can be sustained in our weariness and have our joy restored.

14.    ________________ and ________________ , is it your intention to seek today the blessing of God upon your marriage and to restate the vows which you once spoke to one another in order to renew your love for the joys and sorrows that the years yet will bring? If so, please answer, “Yes.”

      Husband & Wife (together): Yes.

 

15.   P:  Then let us first give thanks for the years that you have passed together and the blessings which have been bestowed upon your marriage.

 

16.   Let us pray. O God, from whom comes all good things, we honor you and give you thanks that you have brought this man and this woman safely through these (______) years of matrimony with gracious love and faith. We thank you for their many joys and their many triumphs, (the blessings of children), and the prosperities of life. We give you thanks for the comfort, the support and the honor that each has given many times over to the other. Keep them in your steadfast love and bestow on them your peace;  through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

       C: Amen

 

(Addressing the husband, the minister shall say:)

 

17.   P:    ________________, you have taken ________________ to be your wife.  Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health;  and forsaking all others, to be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

      Husband:   I do.

 

(Addressing the wife, the minister shall say:)

 

      P:    ________________, you have taken ________________ to be your husband.  Do you promise to love him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health;  and forsaking all others, to be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?.

     Wife:   I do.

 

(If there are children or relatives standing as witnesses, they may be addressed by the minister:)

 

18.  P:   All of you who have witnessed these promises, will you do everything in your power to support and uphold these two people in their marriage?

     Witnesses:  We will.

 

(Addressing the husband and wife, the minister shall say:)

 

19.  P:  Then restate these vows to one another, as you once did, before God and in the presence of this congregation, for the renewal of your love and marriage.

 

(The husband shall take the right hand of his wife and facing her shall say:)

 

20.   Husband:   I, ________________, take you, ________________ as my wedded wife, 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, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my faithfulness.

 

(Then the wife, in like manner, shall say to her husband:)

 

      Wife:  I, ________________, take you, ________________, as my wedded husband, 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, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my faithfulness.

 

(Addressing the congregation, the minister shall say:)

 

21.  P:   ________________ and ________________, by their promises before God and in our presence, have renewed their faith in one another and are bound as husband and wife.

     C: Blessed be the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and forever.

 

     P: Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

     C: Amen

 

(The husband and wife kneel before the minister for the blessing.)

.

22.  P:   May you dwell in God's presence forever.  May true and constant love preserve you.

     C: Amen

 

23.  P:   Let us pray. Lord God, constant in mercy, great in faithfulness:  With high praise we recall your acts of unfailing love for the human family, for the house of Israel, and for your people the Church.  We bless you for the joy which your servants ________________ and ________________ have found in each other, and pray that you give to us such a sense of your constant love that we may employ all our strength in a life of praise of you, whose work alone holds true and endures forever.

     C: Amen

 

24.  P:  Faithful Lord, source of love, pour down your grace upon ________________ and ________________,  that they may fulfill the vows they have made and renewed this day and reflect your steadfast love in their life-long faithfulness to each other.  As members with them of the body of Christ, use us to support their life together; and from your great store of strength give them power and patience, affection and understanding, courage, and love toward you, toward each other, and toward the world, that they may continue together in mutual growth according to your will in Jesus Christ our Lord.

     C:  Amen

 

(One or both of the following prayers may also be said:)

 

25.  P:   Gracious Father, you bless the family and renew your people.  Enrich husbands and wives, parents and children more and more with your grace, that, strengthening and supporting each other, they may serve those in need and be a sign of the fulfillment of your perfect kingdom;  where, with your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign, one God through all ages.

     C:  Amen

 

26.  P:  Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation, and giver of all grace:  Look with favor upon the world you have made, and for which your Son gave his life, and especially upon this man and this woman whom you make one flesh in Holy Matrimony.  Grant that all married persons who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed.  Grant that in all our relationships we may have such fulfillment of our affections, that, through mutual love and respect, we may enrich the lives of others, and show forth your truth and compassion.  (And finally) grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another, and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven;  where, O Father, with your Son and Holy Spirit, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and forever.

     C:  Amen

 

(Then shall all say together:)

 

27.  C:  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread;  and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;  and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen

 

(Then shall the minister say the benediction:)

 

28.  P:  Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, keep you in his light and truth and love now and forever.

     C:  Amen

 

29.  P:  (To the couple)  Return now to your home renewed in your faith and in your love.

 

(The husband and wife stand and may exchange a sign of affection if they so choose before leaving the chancel.)

 

 

___________________________

COMMENTS ON THE ORDER

 

This order have been compiled by the Rev. T.L. Weitzel from the Lutheran Book of Worship (copyright 1978), the Occasional Services from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (copyright 1962), and the Episcopal Proposed Book of Common Prayer (copyright 1976). Original material and prayers were written by T.L. Weitzel. See "Notes" for detail of sources.

        Parenthetical instructions that read with the permissive verb “may” are to be considered optional parts of the order.

        The wedding vows represented at rubric 22 come from a time when this form was basically universal, and is included with the thought that most renewals will be made by an older generation who would remember them. Other vows from more recent service books and marriage rites may be substituted at the discretion and planning of the minister with the couple. If the couple has a copy of the vows first spoken, these would be best used.

        Either the older form of the Lord’s Prayer or the newer ICET translation may be used at rubric 27.

.

.

NOTES

.

LBW:  Lutheran Book of Worship

BCP:  Draft Proposed Book of Common Prayer

NRSV:  New Revised Standard Version of the Bible

TLW:  The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel

.

* All parenthetical instructions and remarks by TLW.

1. LBW page 202

2. Psalm 103:1-3,4b,5 NRSV

3. Ephesians 4:23 NRSV

4. Mark 10:6-8 NRSV

5. Song of Solomon 8:6a,7a NRSV

6. 1 John 11:16b NRSV

7. Ephesians 5:l,2a NRSV

8. Ephesians 5:33 NRSV

9. Lamentations 5:21 NRSV

10. Psalm 51:10 BCP page 657

11. Psalm 61:5,8 BCP pages 668-69

12. Original TLW

13. LBW page 203

14. Original TLW

15. Original TLW

16. Original TLW

17. BCP page 435

18. BCP page 436

19. Original TLW

20. BCP page 429 and Occasional Services page 86, paraphrased

21. Original TLW and LBW page 203

22. LBW page 204

23. LBW page 204

24. LBW page 204

25. LBW page 204

26. BCP page 430-31. "And finally,” inserted by TLW

27. "Traditional”

28. LBW page 205

29. Original TLW