One of the most distinct ways that we know God has a father’s heart and love for His children is through the foundation of marriage. While the book of Genesis did not mention the word ‘marriage’ overtly, God clearly brought the concept into being along with Eve.
Before Eve was created, Adam had already walked daily with God. God knew Adam intimately, even to his spirit. Yet although He was with him daily, God also knew that Adam yearned for a counterpart with whom he could share life together on an equivalent level. Furthermore, God knew that Adam hankered to have someone to share his heritage with.
So, out of a heart of love, God created Eve. And so that Adam and Eve could be one, He joined them together through a part of the first man.
Through this, we can see clearly that the coming together of a man and woman as one mattered greatly to God. God cares about marriages and families, and He wants to be a part of that area of our life. Additionally, we also know that this concern of God comes of His compassion for men and a heart of love for His children. Understanding this would lead us to honour God in this area of our lives.
For a Christian, marriage is more than a contract. It is founded on the same nature of covenant established between God and man. Last Sunday, on the 26th of April 2015, the church of Kajang Assembly of God dedicated its service for a marriage vow renewal commemoration. A total of 9 couples honoured God by renewing their marriage vows in front of Him and the church as their witness.
Marriage vow renewal ceremonies are a way for married couples to renew their commitment to each other. It is also a way to demonstrate that the vows they took are still considered sacred. Often, Christian couples may have married when they were still non-Christians.
For many of the couples renewing their marriage vows at KAOG that day, this was an answered prayer. It was an occasion to have the Christian marriage that they had wanted for years but did not have originally. For the first time, they had an opportunity to make their marriage special by consecrating their vows before God.
It was a blessed day as the whole church took on a celebratory atmosphere. ‘We are very touched and grateful that the church would do this for us,’ sister Angie Law, one of the participator said. ’They put so much effort into it.’
The ceremony was an offshoot of the church’s Marriage Course that had been initiated a couple of years ago. ‘Even if you think there’s no problems in your marriage and don’t need to go for this course, my advice is still to go,’ brother Law advised.
‘There were actually a lot of things that we learned in this course. I didn’t want this vow renewal to be something that we do just for the sake of it. The course helped us to understand each other better and the decision to renew our vows were made collectively.’
The nine couples ranged from being 15 years of marriage to a whole 42 years of marriage, a testament of their faithfulness to each other. Pastor Calvin Lee shared a short message about the importance and significance of the Christian marriage, especially in relation to the current cultural environment and situation.
He shared that the 9 couples’ renewal of marriage vows is a very momentous thing. ‘As Christians, we believe that marriage is a gift from God and the very best relationship in which to share love and the blessing of family life. In a time in which marriage seems to be increasingly difficult and valued less – we hear of statistics of broken families and divorces that are happening all over the world – faithfulness in marriage is a very significant thing.
‘Therefore, it is important that Christians ought to be able to publicly announce their commitment to marriage as an exciting place. It is where they may share the most intimate and deepest bond of love, friendship and adventure of life together.’
‘Marriage, though a private place, has a public significance. It is so important that we are able to pass on to our children our belief in marriage for the future,’ he conveyed. ‘Marriage is not a contract, but rather it’s a covenant.’
Ephesians 5 teaches us that the Christian family model is based on a representation of Christ-likeness. Paul aims to show us in this chapter that the union between a man and his wife is a model of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
‘It is that significant,’ communicated Pastor Calvin. ‘When we talk about the relationship between Christ and the Church, that is the model for the relationship between a man and his wife. It is not just we come together as partners, call ourselves husband and wife, and that’s it.’
In the Biblical sense, Paul was also quoting from Scripture in the Book of Genesis Chapter 2:24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. In a Christian marriage, the couple would take two separate lighted candles, use them to light one candle, and then blow off the flame from the separate candles. What does this symbolize? No more separate lives, but now two shall become one.
‘That is the kind of unity, the kind of bond, when we talk about being joined together in a marriage in the Christian sense. In other words, the covenant involved in leaving your father and mother and holding fast to your spouse and becoming one flesh, is a portrayal of this covenant between Christ and His Church itself’.
‘I would like to thank the church for all these years and also to the Lord for being in the center of our marriage,’ shared sis Hui Ming who went through a tough period in her health. ‘Eventhough we didn’t go through a Christian marriage (previously) but God was there and He helped us through. If it’s not for God and Christian friends.. Thank God for the support and the people He brought along the way.’
Brother Kenny Ong who shares 42 years of marriage with Sister Peggy Ong conveyed that to him his marriage is very important. ‘Being a Christian, if you don’t go through the Christian way in our marriage vow, I feel that our marriage is not complete. So I very eagerly wanted this in my heart for us to go and have the marriage vow.’
Besides the renewal of marriage vows, there was also an exchange of wedding rings. This was to demonstrate the pledge of commitment between the couples. Many non-Christian relatives and friends of the couples were also invited for the event. One relative thanked the church and her relatives for the invitation, ‘I am glad that I attended such a lovely and meaningful event. Thanks for inviting us.’
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