The church wedding generally takes place in the context of a divine service. In the address before the wedding blessing, the couple is given instructions for a blessed matrimony. The officiant asks whether they intend to stand by each other in faithfulness under all circumstances and pursue their path of life together in love, under God’s blessing. Both promise this, before God and the congregation, by saying yes. In order to keep this vow, they receive the blessing of the triune God.
Love for God and one another is an important prerequisite for keeping the blessing in their marriage undiminished, as well as for finding the strength to lead their life together in harmony and mastering difficult situations with God’s help. Another important task for New Apostolic married couples is to support one another in reaching the goal of faith.
The death of a loved one causes pain and grief for the bereaved. In this situation, they feel the consolation expressed in the loving care of those around them. The funeral service, a divine service with its own specific character, serves to provide comfort and strength for the bereaved. However, the word proclaimed is also directed at the immortal soul of the deceased, which is now commended to the grace of God.
The mourners assembled for the funeral service surround the bereaved to demonstrate their sympathy and impart a feeling of security. Furthermore, last respects are paid to the deceased. Like all divine services, the funeral service is characterised by the activity of the Holy Spirit. The word awakened by the Spirit conveys divine comfort for both the bereaved and the mourning congregation. This comfort consists primarily of hope in the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead in Christ associated with it, and the future reunion with them (1 Thessalonians 4: 13–18). The bereaved also find comfort in the certainty of meeting with the departed again in the beyond.
The life of the deceased is usually eulogised in an appropriate manner during the funeral service. With solemn words, the soulless body of the deceased is surrendered to the earth (Genesis 3: 19). The soul and spirit are commended to the grace and mercy of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, with the blessed reassurance that He may preserve them until the resurrection to eternal life.
Funeral customs, as well as the significance accorded to the funeral service, may vary from country to country. The question as to whether, and in what manner, a body is interred is of no consequence for the resurrection of the deceased.