The following is a Scriptural Litany (responsive reading) that I assembled, to celebrate the gift of marriage and the blessings that God has given through their marriages. Since this was a gathering of three generations, I wanted to help us to think about passing that legacy of longevity and faithfulness in marriage down to the next generation. The Litany therefore has the following teaching elements from the Bible: God's purposes in creating marriage and the blessings He intended it to give; the importance of faith in house and home, and the blessing of godly children; God's call to the older generations to pass on the faith to future generations; a confession of our sin and failings to be faithful and obedient to God; and the blessings of finding a godly spouse. The inspiration for this litany came from an excellent suggestion by my sister, which leads to the closing passages from Proverbs 31, where the gathered children and husbands enacted the words about the children rising to call her (the mother of honor) blessed, and concluded with our fathers speaking a word of praise to their wives as well. It was very special to be able to live out those words of Proverbs 31, and in a small way express our appreciation for what our parents have done.
If you are celebrating an anniversary for your parents, I am posting this for anyone's consideration and use. There are certainly many more Bible passages that come to mind, like Ephesians 5, and how Christ is at the center of a Christian marriage. These and other passages could be used to enlarge upon these themes of marriage--though if you use the renewal of vows from the Lutheran Service Book, some of those themes are wrapped up in the prayers, or could feature in a homily. If you are planning an anniversary celebration, God's blessings to your family, and Happy Anniversary!
Men: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.
Grandparents: Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! [God] established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalm 78:1-8, excerpts)
All: Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness. Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.. Let us thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! We will not hide them from our children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done! Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord. (Psalm 106:6-8; 107:8, 43; 78:4)
All: Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
(At this time all the children and grandchildren stand, and those who wish to speak a short blessing or thanksgiving upon our mothers or parents can do so. When those who speak are finished, the Grandfathers will continue…)