Music: Stu Manderson does Paul Kelly. ” We have gathered here together”
Bridal Party: Grace and Gabriella, Dennis and Tonn bring elements : Wash bowl and towel, Jug and Soap into the centre of the circle and put on tree stump.
Finn’s Family and Esther’s Family enter from opposite sides of the circle.
Welcome. We have come together in the presence of God to witness the marriage of Esther and Finn and to bless them as we share in their joy.
My name is Marcus Curnow, I am a Convenor of Seeds Footscray, a faith community which has emerged out of the life of Urban Seed and the Seeds Network. We have journeyed with them through the Seeds group here in Long Gully as Finn and Esther have met, courted and come to this point today.
Acknowledgement of Country
At the beginning of this ceremony Finn and Esther wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place, the peoples of the DjaDjaWurrung, their elders and families who have lived long and well on this land. May our worship, service and the vows made today be work for reconciliation between people, God and the land upon which we stand.
Further Welcome/ Confession
Today Esther and Finn want us to be aware of our emotions. What it is that each of us feel and bring to this place and celebration today.
Perhaps goodwill, a sense of connection with this couple and their community/s, excited hopes for them, a desire to let go, to enjoy and celebrate. I’ve heard Outdoor Ed people know how to party!
Or perhaps feelings that are more difficult. Weddings can raise fears and expectations, painful memories of people who have died or are not here, reminders of relationships that have failed or that remain un-reconciled.
Whatever we feel, whatever the state of relationships, let us bring together with Finn and Esther the good and the bad; our hopes, as well as our fears for their future.
We are going to take a moment to gather our thoughts and appreciate the silence and the sounds of the bush around us. Marriage is a covenant that connects us to the core of what it means to be human, the generations and the forces of creation
God, As we come together, let us bring to this circle our honest selves and journeys for the circle is created, redeemed and sustained by God who journeys, who forgives us. We are sustained not simply by our own promises but your fidelity and gracious hospitality to us which works to reconcile as you join us in the fullness of our humanity and celebrates with us today. May we know your peace. Amen.
Song : The Servant Song Tanya and Stu Manderson, Alisdair Turnbull, Sam the Banjo Man.
Readings: John 13 paraphrased by Alisdair Turnbull
Reflection: Marcus Curnow
Why ever would you want to wash each others feet on your wedding day? At best is awkward, at worst it’s disgusting? Why ruin the image of prince and princess for a day? You don’t see much foot washing in the wedding magazines!
Well the wedding industry and their glossy magazines give us one vision of what it means to be fully human but Christians believe if we want to know what it means to be fully human we must look to God who comes to us as a persecuted Jewish child. A God who suffers, who does the servants work of washing feet. Jesus shows us that we find life when we give it away. And that is what you are doing today, whilst you maintain your own individuality, there is a death of sorts as you give parts of yourself away in order to serve each other. And so Finn and Esther are washing each others feet today for four reasons.
It is a symbol of their desire to serve each other in mutual submission.
As a couple I think you know something of this mutual submission. You each have a gentleness and vulnerability about your character that many of us admire greatly and is a great strength. I have been impressed by the way you have been careful, full of care for each other through the stressful process of getting married. ….. You have differences. Each leads in different ways. This is important. Service doesn’t mean being weak, or to vacillate to the other. In fact you have each grown stronger and so has your relationship through serving each other through some difficult times and issues together over the past year. In being strong for each other in your areas of strength, even through conflict, you serve your relationship.
It is a symbol of their desire to serve and be served by you their community of family and friends.
We learn much about service from the families we grow up in and you are privileged to have come from strong families who have taught you much about what service is. In a land of dusty roads foot washing was a common domestic courtesy in Jesus day and hospitality is paramount in the Seeds tradition. You have much to draw from this source. Having had time away from family and friends in Bendigo, you have had to think hard to know what it is you most value……continue to make community a strong part of your marriage.
It is a symbol of their desire to serve those who are often considered least in our world.
At the last supper before giving his life away at the cross Jesus washes the feet of his diverse followers who he knows will betray him and let him down. It is a sign that love is ultimate and will rise again in the face of other forms of violent power. It reminds us of the need to prioritise and serve, and to be served, by those who are broken and crucified in our world today. Like marriage this kind of service can be costly but in it we find life. You have both “wet your feet” in this area, through your experience of living with the Seeds mob in Long Gully Your work with Urban Seed and camping groups. I know you share hopes of future travel together and sharing your many gifts in this regard.
It is a symbol of their desire to serve all of creation.
Finn and Esther desperately wanted an outdoor wedding for what it says about how they feel about creation. Marriage creates a household in which children may be raised, connecting us with the generations. Sex and Food are an essential part of the marriage household and both connect us with the forces of creation. Get into it! Households need food, food requires farms and farms need the wilderness. There is a profound connection between domestic happiness and the wild forces of nature. Any culture, or economy that fails to respect the mystery and sanctity of wilderness; any religion that forbids its prophets go to the wilderness loses the chance of renewal and is ultimately doomed.
Esther and Finn are Outdoor Ed people. Whilst there will be much to learn about household and giving your life away through serving each other, let me reassure you and other Outdoor Ed people here today that “settling down” does not mean being domesticated. I know that for Finn, hurtling down a mountain on a bicycle is a spiritual thing. Let me tell you, what you do here today is a much wilder thing. It involves more sweat and tears, more hard work, more risk. Marriage as an extreme sport bears witness to the fact that The Creator’s love cannot ultimately be confined to any religious box, any temple or any household. May your marriage rest and rejoice in the wild, expansive, never ending love of God. Amen.
Declaration of Intent
To Finn and Esther:
Having heard the nature of love and the call to live your life in this way. Of your own free will, understanding the responsibility and commitment it invites, will you choose to belong to each other in the vocation of marriage?
Gerhard and Jill, Jaap and Mieke you have raised Finn and Esther through the love and support of your own marriages and relationships. Daniel, Gabi, Kate, Jake & Tonn , you have grown up alongside them. Having heard their intentions, will you bless this marriage and supportively share in its joys and challenges as they embark on this journey together?
Friends and other family, you are witnesses to these vows and have an integral role to play in Esther and Finn’s well-being. Will you be their community of faith, hope and love, will you encourage and support them in their personal lives and union together?
Promises and Symbols
Today I will marry my friend.
The one I will live with, dream with and love.
I take you to be my husband/ wife
I take you with all your faults and strengths as I offer myself to you with all my faults and strengths.
Together we will build a home that is compassionate to all, full of respect and honour for others and each other.
May this community witness our love for each other.
From this day forward I will cherish you
I will look with joy down the path of our tomorrows
When our love is simple and when it is an effort
Knowing we will walk it together side by side.
Marcus: A ring is a never ending circle, a reminder of the everlasting fidelity that is the love of God, the eternal dance of love which is the Trinity, encircling us all, creating and sustaining the connections that bring us life.
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you.
What image of love shall we use to capture and celebrate the significance of the commitment Esther and Finn are making. Jesus Christ offered us an image of love grounded in self giving service. In a confronting demonstration of this serving love, Christ washed the feet of his followers at their final meal, and told them to do likewise.
As part of their covenanting with each other, Finn and Esther will follow the example and command of Christ by washing each others feet.
Blessing and Pronouncement: Esther and Finn today in accord with the laws of this land, in the presence of God and your community of family and friends you have sworn solemn vows, given rings and washed each others feet. In the name of the God of Sarah and of Abraham of the Son, born of Mary, who washes our feet and the Spirit, who broods over us and this place as a mother over her children as at the creation of all things. I pronounce you to be husband and wife.
Kiss: Esther You may kiss the groom.
Celtic Circle Blessing: Marcus Curnow
In the Celtic tradition the congregation circle the bride and groom as a means of blessing. (Congregation form circle around the couple. All say “Circle them Lord”, various voices give the blessings.)
Circle them Lord: with protection
Any individual may name something they wish to be kept without
Circle them Lord : with peace
Any individual may name something they wish to be kept within
Other Symbols: Sand from Mornington Peninsula, Soil from Ipswich, Seeds from Seeds Bendigo Mob….
Circle them Lord:
May the Spirit of Truth, who dwells in your heart, protect you this day and circle you, and fill your heart with peace, joy and love
A m e n
Announcement of Couple