Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, August 12, 2013

Solemnization of Marriage - Rector's Rambling for August 11, 2013

Continuing our look at the Pastoral Offices of the Book of Common Prayer, we now look at The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony, better known as Marriage. (p. 300)
Reading through the Marriage rite in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer the first thing one notices is the brevity of the service.  The service parts are the Introduction (Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God…), Declaration of Consent (Wilt thou have this Woman to thy wedded wife…), the Vows (for better for worse, for richer for poorer…), the Giving of the Ring(s), the Prayers, and the Blessing.
If the entire service is done with only the portions in the prayer book the service is about 10 minutes long.  Looking through the Parish Registers one sees several weddings on a single Saturday, and I was told by older parishioners when I first arrived that they remembered weddings here being in the morning, on the half-hour, without music or other trappings, and several on the same day.
The 1928 wedding service is frequently used in movies and TV settings because of its beauty.  Royal Weddings, from the 1662 English Prayer Book, are very similar in content and beauty.
Few weddings now are of this quick, simple variety.  Most are embellished by music, with readings from Scripture (reclaimed from the older liturgies), and most importantly, usually are done in the context of The Holy Communion, for which there are readings provided on page 267.  There is no better way to start married life than with the reception of The Blessed Sacrament.
As I tell folks preparing for marriage, whether you have a 10 minute simple service with cake and punch in the undercroft, or hire the choir for a Solemn High Mass and a reception at a private club, both couples are validly married!  What matters is the “I will”, with the promise and a desire by the man and woman to have the Lord be the center of the couple’s married life until death they do part.