MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT SUNDAY MUSIC & WORSHIP RESOURCES
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Michelle Riley Jones, Lectionary Team Liturgist
Worship Planning Notes
Nothing so closely models the union Christ seeks to have with us than his institution of marriage. The daily act of becoming one with Christ parallels the daily act of husbands and wives growing in oneness with each other.
In this worship service, in lieu of having a vow renewal (some couples may prefer a more private time/environment for this) the Married Couples’ Litany (see 1.c) provides an option for couples to remember and renew their commitment to each other and to God.
All married couples can enter in a procession during the service; the pastoral team and their spouses can lead the procession. All of the couples should be seated in the same area on this Sunday or whenever you elect to hold the ceremony.
Wives can wear cream or white; husbands can wear dark suits, white shirts, and ties.
Children from your children’s choir can serve as flower girls and Bible bearers to go before the processional of couples.
Have couples who have been married 25 years or more seated on the first seat of the designated area for couples and give them a certificate, flowers, or some other remembrance.
1. Invocation, Litany, or Congregational Reading Prelude or Processional Music Couples can process in during this music.
(a) Love. By John Stoddart. This selection is a piano solo.
(b) Meditation (Thais). By Jules Massenet. Arr. by Arpad Pejsik. This selection is for cello and piano.
Litany (c) Married Couples’ Litany. The married couples in the congregation should be seated in one section. For the litany,
they are to stand together where they are seated and recite the litany.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man (Genesis 2:18, 21, 22, 23a).The man said:
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, and the Head of Christ is God … he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man (1 Corinthians 11:3a, 7).
(Say husband’s name here), how handsome you are, my love! Oh, how
charming! My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. His arms are rods of gold. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. This is my lover, this is my friend (Song of Solomon 1:17, 5:10, 14-16).
(Say wife’s name here), how beautiful you are, my darling. Oh, how
beautiful! Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. Other queens there may be but my dove, my perfect one, is unique. Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hands. Your neck is like an ivory tower, your eyes are the pools of Heshbon. Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry (Song of Solomon 1:16; 2:2, 6:9, 7:1, 4-5).
Place her, place him, like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it should be utterly scorned(Song of Solomon 8:6-7).
In the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God (1 Corinthians 11: 8-9, 11-12).
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Ephesians 4:31-32; Proverbs 3:5-6).
Come with me from Lebanon, my bride. You have stolen my heart, my bride (Song of Solomon 4:8).
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. [You are] no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate what God has joined together” (John 13:34; Matthew 19:6).
My lover is mine and I am his/hers. As for [our] house, we will serve the Lord (Song of Solomon 2:16; Joshua 24:15).
2. Hymns or Anthems
(a) We Gather Together. Netherlands Folk Hymn. Tune, (Kremser) by Edward Kremser
(b) Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. By Charles Wesley. Tune, (Beecher) by John Zundel
(c) O Perfect Love. By Dorothy F. Gurney. Tune, (O Perfect Love) by Joseph Barnby
(d) We Have Come into This House. Text and Tune, (Worship Him) by Bruce Ballinger
3. Spirituals or Traditional Songs
(a) Seek the Lord. By Glenn Jones. Spiritual. This spiritual is for SATB with soprano solo.
(b) I Know the Lord Has Laid His Hands on Me. Spiritual
(c) Let Us Break Bread Together. Spiritual. This spiritual could be done as a duet for male and female voices. It is also suitable as a prayer invitation for couples.
4. Gospel Songs for Choirs, Ensembles, or Praise Teams
(a) Jesus Is a Love Song. By Twinkie Clark-Terrell
(b) Lord You Are Awesome. By Cedric Berry and Devaughn Murphy
(c) We Sing Your Praises. By Judith Christie-McAllister
(d) We Lift Our Hands. By Leonard Scott
(e) My Tribute. By Andraé Crouch
(f) Come and Let Us Worship. By Richard Smallwood
5. Liturgical Dance Music
Love U with the Rest of My Life. By Fred Hammond
(a) Striving after God. By Michaelangelo. Arr. by Undine Smith-Moore. For SATB
(b) Let’s Have a Union. By Salone Clarey. For SATB a capella
7. Modern Songs
(a) We Wait. By Wesley Tuttle
(b) Pour My Love on You. By Juanita Bynum
8. Offertory Song or Instrumental
(a) Still in Love. By Kirk Franklin
(b) When God Gave Me You. By T. D. Jakes and Darin Whittington
(c) We Magnify Your Name. By Richard Smallwood
9. Song or Instrumental for the Period of Prayer
(a) The Lord’s Prayer. By Albert Hay Malotte
(for soprano voice)
(for tenor voice)
(b) Make Us One. By Phillip Bailey
(c) More of Thee. By Tammi Haddon
(d) Lord, I Lift Her to Thee. By T. D. Jakes, Donald Lawrence, and Daniel Weatherspoon
(e) God Can. By Shawn Allen and James Fortune
(f) Family. By Donald Lawrence
(g) My Soul Seeks to Please Him. Traditional. This selection could be used as a prayer response.
(h) Saviour Like a Shepherd Lead Us. By Dorothy A. Thrupp. Tune, (Bradbury) by William B. Bradbury
10. Sermonic Selection
(a) Because You Loved Me. By Diane Warren. This is an instrumental gospel arrangement of a pop classic.
(b) The Things We Do. By Robin Scoffield and Keith Thomas
(c) This Love Won’t Fail. By Raina Bundy and Skip Scarborough
11. Invitational Song
(a) Jesus Is Love. By Lionel Ritchie
(b) So Easy to Love You. By Donald Clay and Michael Grungor
(c) We Need You Lord. By Jonathan Butler
12. Benediction Song or Instrumental (a) May the Lord God Be with You. By Terry Baker and Simeon Baker
(b) Falling in Love with Jesus. By Jonathan Butler. This would also be a nice processional song for couples.
(c) Lord, Make Me/Us More Holy. Spiritual
(d) Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. By Johann Sebastian Bach. Arr. By Myra Hess. This selection can be a piano solo and is also appropriate for processional or recessional.
13. Audio Visual Suggestions
(a) Record and display video footage of the weddings of some of the members of your congregation.
Display wedding pictures of members in a highly visible area, such as the church foyer. Include pictures of your pastor and ministers as well. Identify each person in the photo and include dates of marriages.
14. Other Recommendations
(a) Either during or following the morning worship service, hold a special communion service for married couples.
(b) Congregation and clergy can surround the couple in a prayer circle during the Period of Prayer or near the end of the service.
(c) Honor members of your extended family, church family, or community whose marriages have had an impact on your life. Write a note of appreciation to persons whose marriages have inspired you. Send those notes out in March.
(d) Donate books on strengthening marriage or devotionals related to marriage to community organizations.
(e) Organize babysitting services and child care activities for couples on this day or at some point during the month of March. Announce or print in your order of worship the names of persons who are generously donating their services as a gift to couples in the congregation.
(f) Organize a fundraiser, a dance, walkathon, bake sale, etc., to purchase marriage education books and tapes and donate them to a community organization or to the congregation library.
(g) Create a “Ten Most Affordable (or Most Romantic, or Most Creative) Marriage Dates” Contest for your church and neighboring community. Send the winning list to media—radio, TV, newspapers, websites, and community organizations that have newsletters. Ask radio stations to promote a similar contest. Keep the focus on marriage dates. The contest should have persons send in information about their “Most Affordable, or Creative, or Romantic Marriage Date.”
(h) Encourage your pastor to incorporate the renewal of wedding vows into the liturgy for all married couples in attendance. Inform members and invite guests 2-3 weeks in advance.
(i) Share different marriage customs with the congregation by having couples from different ethnic backgrounds explain customs unique to their heritage. Highlight them in your church bulletin or place them on screens throughout the worship service.
(j) Organize “couple” events such as bake sales, garage/yard sales, and car washes to raise money for charities—all in celebration of Marriage Enrichment.
(k) Organize a couples bowling, skating party, picnic, or some other event that will allow the married couples in your church to come together. These events could precede or follow the Marriage Enrichment Service.
Cites and Additional Information for Music and Material Listed
1. Invocation, Litany or Congregational Reading Prelude or Processional Music
(a) Love. By John Stoddart. This selection is a piano solo.
Sweet. Upper Marlboro, MD: Urban Junction East Music, 2005.
(b) Meditation (Thais). By Jules Massenet. Arr. By Arpad Pejsik. This selection is for cello and piano.
Published by Editio Musica Budapest
1300 64th Street
Emeryville, CA 94608