This Christmas Sunday I had the privilege of blessing a family member’s replacement wedding ring. They didn’t want to do a “renewal of wedding vows,” which was perfectly fine with me for reasons I suppose I should jot down on this blog one of these days. The actual prayers for blessing a wedding ring can be found in various sources. I used the book A Manual for Priests of the American Church by Earle H. Maddux, and “translated” it from traditional to contemporary English. But then I added one of that book’s prayers from the wedding ceremony and a third prayer “for families” from Jeremy Taylor’s book Holy Living. This brief ceremony still needed an introduction of sorts, so I wrote the opening exhortation myself, though its first paragraph is basically lifted from the classic Prayerbook introduction to the wedding ceremony.
The Blessing of a New Wedding Ring
After (or in place of) the Prayers of the People, the Priest stands and addresses the people.
Dearly beloved, Holy Matrimony is an honorable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency (in the Garden of Eden before the Fall) signifying unto us the mystical union between Christ and Church. Christ adorned and beautified marriage with his presence and first miracle in Cana of Galilee. St. Paul commends marriage as to be kept honorable among all.
It has been custom for several centuries that the man bestow upon the woman a ring during the marriage ceremony, saying: “With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.” This is no simple token but a living symbol that communicates nothing less than total commitment between the husband and wife spiritually and physically, internally and externally.
The very shape of a ring – the circle – also plays a part, for the world has, since time immemorial, been portrayed as a circle or a sphere. Therefore the ring is a reminder of creation: the original creation which culminated in the wedding of Adam and Eve, and the New Creation which culminates in the wedding of Christ and his Church. But not least of all, the wedding ring is also a reminder of a particular creation: the union of one man and one woman.
We are gathered here now to celebrate marriage – particularly of N. and M., to bless their new wedding ring, to bless their marriage of # years, and to bless all families represented here.
The husband and wife come forward with the wedding band to be blessed.
Priest Our help is in the name of the Lord.
People The maker of heaven and earth.
Priest O Lord, hear my prayer.
People And let my cry come to you.
Priest The Lord be with you.
People And with your spirit.
Priest Let us pray:
Bless+, O Lord, this Ring, that he who gives it and she who wears it may abide in your peace, and continue in your favor, unto their life’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless+, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace; that you may so live together in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary in families: We commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, and godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The service continues with the Peace.