United Methodist Marriage Rituals

For Valentine’s day, here is what my church’s ritual says about the institution of marriage. First, from the contemporary language service.

Friends, we are gathered together in the sight of God to witness and bless the joining together of [Name] and [Name] in Christian marriage. The covenant of marriage was established by God, who created us male and female for each other. With his presence and power Jesus graced a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and in his sacrificial love gave us the example for the love of husband and wife. – Rite I

And then from the older service, inherited from our predecessor denominations and based more closely on the Book of Common Prayer.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God, and signifying unto us the mystical union which exists between Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It is therefore not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly, and in the fear of God.
– Rite II