Wedding on the Sabbath?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Jeff_Bartel, Mar 10, 2005.

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  1. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    I have a good friend who is coming into town to get married. He asked me to help him transition from the cerimony portion of the wedding, to the reception portion. This would include some work it sounds like. The only problem is that it is going to take place on the Sabbath. I am a pretty strict Sabbaterian, but this seems questionable at best. I'll quote the Directory for Publik Worship on marraige:

    "After the purpose or contract of marriage hath been thus published, the marriage is not to be long deferred. Therefore the minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing being objected to hinder it, is publickly to solemnize it in the place appointed by authority for publick worship, before a competent number of credible witnesses, at some convenient hour of the day, at any time of the year, except on a day of publick humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord's day."

    They advise that this is not to be done on the Lord's day, but don't seem to strictly forbid it. I need to decide if I can consciously help him or not. What are your thoughts?
  2. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    It is probably "advised" only due to certain circumstances that might arise. I was married on Sunday afternoon immediately following services (needless to say, I was getting ready and hubby got shipped off to church), if I had to do it again, I might do it differently (I might have even just up and eloped...the pastor would have "eloped" us :) )
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I was wed on the Lords day. If I had to do it again, I would choose another day.
  4. doulosChristou

    doulosChristou Puritan Board Freshman

    If I were a strict Sabbatarian, I would not schedule a wedding or a funeral on the Lord's day on the principle that it would put florists, hair-dressers, caterers, and so forth to work. If I were in your particular situation, Jeff, I would probably make an exception for your friend and graciously lend a helping hand. It would be an act of charity.
  5. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    :ditto: unless the particular circumstances of the exception are such that Sabbath-keeping because impossible.
  6. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks for the advise. I guess that is what it boils down to: if this would be considered an "act of necessity or mercy."
  7. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    It's neither necessity or mercy.
  8. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    For me it was both necessary and merciful ;-)

    A marriage is a religious function, like a church service. Last Sunday I helped some of the young men put the chairs way; we rent an Odd Fellows Hall, and there's quite a bit of work necessary to worship there.

    Remember what the kind of work is that is prohibited!
  9. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    That reminds me, at the last wedding I was in, our pastor said that the wedding was "a worship service." Can a wedding be considered as such?
  10. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    You're comparing a marriage to a church service? Are the sacraments distributed in a marriage ceremony?

    WCF ch 21

    II. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone; [3] not to angels, saints, or any other creature:[4] and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.[5]

    VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,[38] but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.[39]

    What is elevated on the day of marriage? The bride and groom.

    PS: Wanna trade some cigars for some honey?

    [Edited on 3-11-2005 by Scott Bushey]
  11. doulosChristou

    doulosChristou Puritan Board Freshman

    That subject is still debated. John Frame, in writing about applying the distinction between "elements" and "circumstances," lists the questions:

    "Even granting the legitimacy of the distinction between elements and circumstances, applying it is not easy. Is song in worship an element, as John Murray taught, or is it a "form" or "circumstance," a way of praying and teaching? Is instrumental music an element (as the covenanter tradition holds) or a circumstance (helping the congregation to sing in a decent and orderly way)? Is a marriage essentially a taking of vows and therefore a proper element of worship, or is it part of a broad group of activities that should be excluded from worship because it is not prescribed? All these questions have been disputed among those who have accepted the distinction between elements and circumstances. But how can these questions be answered? What biblical data is actually relevant to their resolution? Or do these questions require a kind of extra-biblical insight, an Aristotelian philosophical ability to distinguish precisely between substance and accident? In any case, these concepts, intended to enable us to make precise judgments about what belongs in worship, may actually contribute more confusion than they alleviate."

    It is interesting that Calvin performed marriages as part of his Lord's Day worship services in Geneva (Horton Davies, Worship of the English Puritans [SDG, 1997], 263). In1556, a first "entirely Puritan prayer-book" was published with the title "The Forme of Prayer and Ministrations of the Sacraments, etc., used in the English Congregation at Geneva: and approved by the famous and godly learned man, Iohn Caluyn [i.e., John Calvin]" (Ibid., 116). In this book, the order of a Marriage Service is proposed in which the marriage is to be performed in the presence of the congregation (Ibid., 121). The service includes prayers, exhortation and the singing of Psalm 128.

    On a side note, most of the Puritans sharply condemned the use of the wedding ring in marriage since there was no explicit warrant for it in Scripture. It was considered an additional extra-Biblical covenantal sign and thus explicitly forbidden. :eek:
  12. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Interesting Greg!
  13. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks Greg.
  14. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    Are all lawful oaths and vows "a part of religious worship" that they ought to be conducted before the congregation?
  15. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Marriage is common to all mankind and is not the exclusive domain of Christians. Christians are to marry in the Lord and thus it is ideal that their marriages should be "solemnized" by a lawful minister. The church is rightfully involved in the marriage process for believers. But a marriage ceremony is not a sacrament and not an official worship service, though it may have elements of worship in it.

    A lawful oath is described by the Confession as an element of worship, but lawful oaths are part of the workings of the judicial system too and few would argue that a court proceeding constitutes a worship service just because an oath is included. Moreover, justices of the peace are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, precisely, as the Puritans argued, because marriage ceremonies are fundamentally a civil service, and not a religious event (though, again, the bene esse of a marriage ceremony will include religious elements).

    To argue that marriage ceremonies are fundamentally religious worship services is to delegitimize any marriage ceremony performed outside the church and to exalt the same to sacramental status as does the Roman Catholic Church.

    Thus, weddings may be conducted on the Lord's Day, but it is not necessary and not ideal. The wedding feast at Cana ought to be instructive as to why.
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