The Sweet Christian Bride

Requesting A Homily

by admin on February 12, 2013 in Ceremony Traditions, Scripture, Sermon with 1 Comment

One of the most engaging and distinctive parts of a wedding is the homily, a short sermon on marriage.  It is an opportunity for the pastor to preach the Gospel, to teach on Biblical marriage, and to share about the bride and groom.  Conversely, if not done well, the homily is a prime opportunity for snoozes among the crowd.

With many officiants, you can request a length and topic for your homily.  Usually your pastor is someone whom you have a close relationship with and does not function like a “pre-packaged” vendor.  They are shepherds who are serving you and the Kingdom of God by officiating your wedding.  Almost always, they will work with you to make the sermon distinct to you and your fiancé.

Chris’ dad officiated our wedding.  As a reverend, he had done many weddings before us, but he was no less inclined to serve us in a way that was specific to Chris and me.  He met with us about the ceremony several times in order to get a sense of what we were hoping for and to share with us the significance of each aspect of a Christian wedding ceremony.  Because he was an expert in weddings and Chris and I were experts in us, our conversations were a give-and-take of learning from each other in order to create the perfect wedding ceremony for us.

From a practical perspective, we were under time restrictions.  We had contracted with our location a maximum amount of time in which we could use their facility, so our ceremony had to be fairly short in order to keep the whole affair under that time limit.  This, of course, meant the homily had to be even shorter.  We asked Chris’ dad to work within a ten minute time frame, and he did.

From a personal perspective, we shared with him the Scripture passages that had significantly shaped our relationship and had directed our vision of marriage.

We told him that Genesis 2:24 had had a particularly profound impact on us during our engagement since we were actually going through the process of leaving and cleaving.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 had kept us, two people who were so different, from tiring of the process of sharpening each other; though our differences created friction, they always spurred growth in us which proved again and again that two is better than one.  And knowing that God was our third strand gave us courage, confidence, and hope that we would be an unbreakable cord.

We told him how Ephesians 5:21-33 was the description of the marriage that we wanted because of how dependent it was on Christ’s love and on partnership.

Lastly, we told him how we had memorized the book of 1 John together during our engagement.  As we were learning what love was and trying to move in that direction, the passage 1 John 4:16-19 had gained tremendous significance, and even nostalgia, for us.

Knowing which verses God had been using to speak to Chris and me, and knowing the time-frame we had for our ceremony, Chris’ dad was able to give a homily that blessed us by how personal it was and by how respectful of our time it was.  It ministered to our guests as well by painting a picture of how God’s love had worked and would continue to work in Chris and my relationship.

A pastor has the great challenge of giving a teaching that is personal to the bride and groom without being so personal that it excludes the guests from their relationship, while also celebrating the greater importance of Christ.  The wedding is not primarily about the bride’s and groom’s love for each other, but rather about Christ’s love for the bride, the groom, and all who are there.

If you are using the required pastor for the church you have rented, or if your denomination requires a more liturgical ceremony, you might not have such flexibility, but it’s worth asking about.  Share with your pastor what is meaningful to you, and see how that can fit into their strengths.

Work together.  Certainly listen to your pastor’s ideas and concerns, and do not ask him or her to do anything that he or she can’t do to the glory of God.  Within those boundaries, however, make sure that you and your fiancé are heard and celebrated.

No matter how great at preaching your pastor is, the wedding experience will be the richest for you and your guests if the pastor is teaching something that is meaningful to you.

The homily is the perfect opportunity to glorify God and to share His love by preaching His word and by letting the congregation know your relationship more intimately.


Article was originally published on February 28, 2011.

By Lindsay
  • There are currently 1 Comment.

  • The Sweet Christian Bride
    • elissa says:

      Thank you so much for this helpful blog. My fiance and I are starting Biblical marriage counseling with our pastor on Sunday. I will be mentioning some of the time issues as we will also only have a certain amount of time for our ceremony. God Bless and Take care. In His greatness, Elissa