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Paul is Christian. I’m Jewish. When we were planning our wedding, I struggled to find an interfaith ceremony that reflected our shared values and honored both of our faiths. So, I scoured the internet for ideas and put together this interfaith ceremony script. It’s suitable for an interdenominational service, an elopement and/or a second marriage. Feel free to use, share, modify and make it your own. I’m happy to share the love.
The greatest happiness of life is knowing that we are loved, loved for who we are. If there is anything better than being loved, it is in loving another. Today we are here to celebrate such love. And we celebrate that love within the context of marriage.
Marriage is deeper than a commitment. It is a covenant between two people and with God. It is a covenant that says: I love you. I trust you. I will be here for you regardless of the circumstances. I will not leave. It is a sanctuary safe enough to risk loving, to risk living, and risk giving yourself completely to another.
We have gathered together today:
• to celebrate with Jill and Paul the love they have discovered in each other
• to give thanks for that love and the gift of marriage
• to witness and proclaim the joining together of Jill and Paul
• to support their decision to commit themselves to one another for the rest of their lives
• to surround them with our thoughts and prayers, and
• to ask God’s blessing on them so that they may be strengthened for their life together
Gracious God, you are always faithful in your love for us. Look with mercy upon Jill and Paul, who have come to seek your blessing. Shower them with a steadfast love so they may honor the promises they make this day. Amen.
Jill and Paul, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage? If so, answer by saying “I do”
<Both answer “I do.”>
Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?
<Both answer “I will.”>
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then shall I know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Yes, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but each one of you be alone–even as the strings of a lute are alone though the quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not in each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the Cyprus grow not in each other’s shadows.
Jill and Paul, we now come to your vows. May I remind you that saying your vows are one thing but nothing is more challenging than living them day in and day out. What you promise today must be renewed tomorrow and each day that stretches out before you. Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, please turn to each other, join your right hands together and declare your consent.
<Each say “I will.”>
You have declared your consent. May the Lord strengthen this consent and fill you both with his blessings.
The wedding ring is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual bond, which unites two souls in endless love. The perfect circle of a ring symbolizes eternity, while gold is a symbol of all that is pure and holy. As you give these rings to each other, our prayer is that your love will be the same; pure and eternal. Lord, please bless the giving of these rings that they who give them and they who receive them may live in your peace and your favor all the days of their lives. Amen.
Jill, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness (Paul repeats)
I pledge you my love and respect (Paul repeats), my laughter and my tears (Paul repeats)
With all that I am and all that I have, (Paul repeats) I join in covenant with you. (Paul repeats)
<Paul to provide rest of ring vows>
Paul, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness (Jill repeats)
I pledge you my love and respect (Jill repeats), my laughter and my tears (Jill repeats)
With all that I am and all that I have, (Jill repeats) I join in covenant with you. (Jill repeats)
<Jill to provide rest of ring vows>
May those who wear these rings live in love all their days. May the love that has brought you together, continue to grow and enrich your lives. May you continue to meet with courage any problems which may arise to challenge you. May your relationship always be one of love and trust. May the joy you share today be with you always. And may everything you have said and done here today become a living truth in your lives.
Jill and Paul, we have heard your promise to share your lives in marriage. We recognize and respect the covenant you have made here this day before God and each one of us as witnesses. Therefore in the honesty and sincerity of what you have said and done here today and by the power vested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife.
You may now seal your vows with a kiss.
We conclude the ceremony with the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass. The breaking of the glass, like the commitment made today, is irrevocable and permanent. It is always a reminder that even in the happiest times, we must remember there is still much suffering in the world. Marriage can be as fragile as glass and we must treat any marriage with special care. As Paul breaks the glass, I invite you to say, “Mazel Tov” which means “Congratulations and Good Luck!”
May this union between Jill and Paul provide the love and support for each of them to be the persons that God intended. As they now begin their journey together, we pray that God will continually guide their path both individually, and as a couple. Amen.
And they lived happily ever after …