Welcome back to what I’m going to informally call “ceremony week.” In case you missed it, I’ve been focusing on all things related to our ceremony this week…hence the name. I’m not that clever. Sorry. So now that you know that one of our readings for the wedding will be a sort of non-traditional poem from the 1200’s, let’s take a look at the source for our second reading…
Ok, so you can’t really tell from the photo, but that’s the Bible. As I’ve previously mentioned, having a religious wedding ceremony is important to both Shaun and I. Though we were raised in different denominations (and so are having a non-denominational ceremony), we are both Christians and want our union to reflect that.
The problem we’ve encountered with choosing a reading from scripture to have in our ceremony is one that many brides before me have struggled with. I want the reading to be meaningful and to truly reflect the important step we’re about to take in life…but I don’t want it to be cliche. Yes, I Corinithans 13, I’m looking at you.
Our officiant, Gloria, also mentioned that she reserves two passages (Mark 10:7 and I Corinthians 13) for herself during the general ceremony, so those are out. (And, yes, I was a little bit sad that we won’t escape the cliche ‘Love is patient, love is kind…’ but such is life. It’s still pretty, so I guess it can stay. Sigh.)
As of now, we haven’t officially chosen a passage for our second reading. But I’d like to take the opportunity to share with you some passages that I’ve found or others have suggested and hear your feedback on them. I’ll give you my input along the way, as well. Ready? Good. Let’s go!
The LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
This one falls smack dab into that cliche category I was talking about before. I think almost every single wedding I’ve ever been to has had this reading. Definitely a no. Next.
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
I’ve heard this one slightly less than the Genesis reading, but it’s still been quite a lot. But it’s short and to the point. I also like that it’s not so much in the tradition of the woman being the property of the man (as is quite commonly found in the Bible), but that the two leave their families and become one. Still, it’s a little cliche for me. I might have to get over that, though…because the Bible’s been around forever. It’s not like I’m going to find something I haven’t heard before. Still…next.
But Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you.”
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.
So, in case you couldn’t tell, we’re pretty much stuck between the Ephesians reading and the Song of Solomon reading as of now. I think our final decision is going to come down to what we want the reading to focus on (marriage versus love) and length. What do you think? Did I needlessly eliminate some of the other readings because they’re used so often? Or do you know of another scripture reading that we could use as our second reading? As always, I’d love to hear your opinions!