I had seen a sand ceremony done one time before at a wedding I attended. This was the first time I had conducted one. It is a pretty cool idea. Some couples use this in place of the unity candle as it has something of a similar meaning. By the way, as someone who has conducted lots of weddings, if something is going to go wrong in the wedding ceremony, it will usually be with the unity candle, a child, or the sound system.
I digress. The sand ceremony has nothing to do with the beach, building sand castles, getting sand in your shoe, or throwing sand at people passing by. After the exchange of rings, there were three slim glass containers with three different colors of sand in them. There was a larger glass container in the middle. I started the sand ceremony by pouring the dark color sand into the larger container while explaining that this sand represented God as the foundation for the marriage. He is the rock of the marriage as they lean on Him. Then the couple took turns pouring their sand into the larger container representing their lives being bound together. It shows how their lives- once separate- are now becoming intertwined as one. Just as it would be impossible to separate these sands once poured, their union shall make them inseparable as well. Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Then, they can take this home as a reminder of their lives being intertwined together, no longer two but one, built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
If you happen to notice that there is a dark color and the other two are the same, you are very perceptive. The bride and a bridesmaid did some quick maneuvering during the ceremony and got some beach sand in her container while I was explaining to provide the different color.
If you notice one container is not all the way empty it is because the pastor (that would be me) got nervous that there would not be enough room for all the sand and stopped pouring; oops.
There are different ways to do the sand ceremony with different colors and containers. I love the symbolism that this represents. In marriage, the two become one. That's the picture here. They are to become one in purpose, goals, love, and commitment. The best way to do that is to build the home on Jesus Christ. Then you share a common purpose of glorifying God by having a great commitment to the great commandment (Mark 12: 29-31) and great commission (Matthew 28: 18-20). Also, you have something to put in your home from the wedding to symbolize this commitment.
I'm so glad Laura and I are married. We tell each other that very often. A number of people told us that the first year of marriage would be the hardest. After the first year, we looked at each other and said, "Woohoo! If that's the worst, we have some really happy years ahead because this first year was a blast." I love sharing with couples that marriage can be really fun and full of love and adventure. There are problems and difficulties but they are far outweighed by the joys. We have found that the closer to are to Christ, the more loving, patient, kind, and forgiving we are with each other. When our relationship with Christ gets a bit stagnant and stale, we tend to be more critical, impatient, and argumentative. I like to picture marriage as a triangle. God is the top of the triangle and the two spouses on the sides. As they move closer to God they will automatically move closer to each other. As they slide away from God, the distance between them gets larger. If I did your wedding, you probably remember that part.
Loving the abundant married life
3 things I thank God for today
1. A happy and joy-filled marriage (due to a wonderful wife)
2. Sand ceremonies
3. Fried shrimp available at the wedding reception