For Life and All Its Richness

A song for celebrations of marriage • Low Voice Version

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson
Tune Name: OUTLOOK

Lyrics as Poetry

For life and all its richness
we thank you, God, this day.
We celebrate the joy of love!
Make true the vows we say.
We seek the kind of marriage
that sets each other free.
We pray for faith and courage
to live creatively.

Let tears and laughter grace us;
let years add to our joy,
our giving, growing deeper
as oneness we enjoy.
God, let our living, making, love
a tender giving be,
and all our life together
be shared most joyfully.

God, let our love have purpose,
reflection of your own,
a love that lives for giving
like that in Jesus shown.
For life and all its richness
we thank you, God, this day.
We celebrate the joy of love.
Make true the vows we say.

For life and all its richness
we thank you, God, this day.
We celebrate the joy of love!
Make true the vows we say.
We seek the kind of marriage
that sets each other free.
We pray for faith and courage
to live creatively.

Comments About Song

A Reflection by
WALTER FARQUHARSON


This song is clearly written as a song for a marriage celebration. It is written in the first person –the first person plural to be exact.

Although written 21 years after Joan and I, surrounded by family and friends, spoke our marriage vows to one another in Grace United Church, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, it embodies the prayer and intention we shared then (1958), at the time of writing, and to this day. We count ourselves blessed, and most fortunate.

Together we developed a program offered first as a marriage preparation program and then expanded into a program open to all couples that were preparing for marriage or who wanted to engage in a program that would be part of a time of reflection on their relationship and a renewal of their commitment to one another. The ‘mix’ inevitably proved beneficial to all participants. As couples gathered for one of our events, Joan and I shared with them our experience that time spent thinking about and reflecting on our relationship, and actually engaging in conversation around those thoughts and reflections, was always time well spent.  We never prepared for, or participated in, one of these retreats without finding that the attention given, and the intentionality revisited, proved enriching for our own marriage.

We had entitled the event and the booklet that we developed “Honouring Your Relationship”. Neither of us have doubted that it was the commitment to honour each other and to honour the relationship we had that was an absolute essential ingredient of any healthy and life-giving marriage.

The song is straight-forward. It begins with thanksgiving to God for life and all the richness life offers. We celebrate the joy of life which probably is the spring from which gratitude/thanksgiving rises. Joy is not to be equated with happiness nor with a naivety about the human capacity to mess things up for self and others.

We pray that God will work within us, strengthening and healing, calling us back to what is important when we could easily get lost in so many different diversions from our calling as the children of God. “Make true the vows we say.” Make true. Make real. Keep true. Keep real. Let them find home in every cell of our being.

Societal language, often camouflaged within a joke, has perpetuated notions of marriage as a loss of freedom, entry into a shrinking and limiting world, a ball and chain. Yet, when Joan and I thought of couples whose marriages we would celebrate and seek to emulate, we saw the opposite. Love gives heart (encourages) and draws forth sense of competency and creativity, expands horizons and frees urges to explore – it invites us to reach further, to go deeper, to imagine and enflesh kindness and goodness.

Life shared will almost inevitably mean tough times and easier times, times of laughter and delight, times of heaviness and pain. There can be no guarantee of good health, freedom from tragic accident or horrendous event. There are no real assurances of political freedom, economic security, even of a relatively civil society. There are things we have power over and things that we have limited or no power over. And there are things we might have power to influence that call us into places of danger or conflict. Great strain can be placed on the closest of relationships.

A few decades ago the following marriage vow was current and chosen by many couples. “I take you to be my husband/wife/partner, to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love…”. The second verse of this song is an expression of that vow. “Let tears and laughter grace us; let years add to our joy…”

In that second verse are these words, “God, let our living, making love, a tender giving be …”. How important it is to remember that we may buy or rent a house but we create a home. There will be chores, some pleasant, some not so pleasant that have to be done day by day. They can be burden or they can be gift to those we love. This is much easier to see if we think of meal preparation or tending to laundry, more likely a stretch if it is about cleaning the toilet. We learn to appreciate the opportunity to offer gift and to gratefully acknowledge and receive the gift offered to us. We learn to live love.

Words and acts of intimacy create and enrich marriage. The line from some very old marriage rituals express it with startling directness, “With my body, I thee worship.” “Making love” is not a phrase invented because some were too prudish or prone to equate sex with sin or dirtiness. It is, rather, an affirmation that we do create and deepen love, skin on skin, in kiss and caress, in sexually becoming one flesh.

The last verse of the song looks to marriage as a relationship within which we come to better understand our relationship to God and to the life God gives – in creation, in human community. We are called to a life that “lives for giving, like that in Jesus shown.”

Scripture References

  • Genesis 2:18-25
  • The Song of Solomon
  • John 2:1-12
  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Philippians 4:8
  • 1 John 4:7-8
  • 1 John 4:16-19

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Anniversary
  • Blessing
  • Celebration
  • Christian∶ life
  • Human Relationships
  • Love∶ human love
  • Marriage
  • Wedding

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