The article discusses the problems that ministers face, when preparing their speech for a newly married couple. The difficulty is to reach the heart of the listeners and get them to discover the great and mysterious Love that carries everything and lives in all of us.
A first step may be to try to remember experiences of your own life and also to try to let the musicians, artists, novelists, and so on, who express the human conditions of today, influence you in your speechmaking. Their work can help a minister discover new sides of what it means to fall and be in love today.
The next, important step when preparing the speech is to realize that all your own experiences are also to be found in others. It means that when we as preachers talk to ourselves, we also automatically reach others.
A third step is the important hermeneutical question: what needs to be said today to a newly married couple, if you want to be faithful to the biblical view of the marriage?
The speech should be brief and personal, kept in a warm tone and addressed both to the couple and to their guests. The words must be relevant to the couple’s situation, but also invite and enclose the congregation. They share the joy, but they also share all the thoughts about the unknown future. The simple prayer that the newly married shall be able to stay together and share trust and confidence is a common prayer.
It is important to remember that only about two couples out of ten have a deeper relation to the Christian faith. Most of those choosing a church wedding are directed by tradition, by parental wishes, and so on. So, the minister’s speech is therefore a kind of marginal homiletics, which makes great demands upon the preacher. A minister must work hard to find the right words for an open, warm and understandable way of preaching about the difficult thing which it is to live together in joy and sorrow in a world where God is the source of, and Christ is the pattern of, love.
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