READINGS FOR YOUR WEDDING Part 1

 

Readings are not required, but a distinctive and well-read presentation can enhance the quality of  your wedding ceremony.  Readings also afford you a good opportunity to involve more people in your wedding ceremony.  Generally, there are no more than three, readings. The following suggested readings offer you a mixture of religious (Sacred Scripture) and secular readings. You may use other readings of your choice.  The only word of caution is that you choose adults who read clearly and loudly enough so that your family and guests can hear them comfortably. The first four readings are four different translations of the same letter from St. Paul.

 

No. 1 – St. Paul (I Corinthians 12:31 - 13:8)

 

Set your mind on the higher gifts.  And now I am going to put before you the best way of all.  Though I command languages both human and angelic -- if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.  And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all faith necessary to move mountains  -- if I am without love, I am nothing.  Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned  -- if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

 

Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offense or store up grievances.  Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth.  It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. 

Love never comes to an end.

 

No. 2 – St. Paul (I Corinthians 12:31 - 13:8)

 

Even if I can speak in all the tongues of the earth – and those of the angels too – but do not have love, I am just a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy such that I can comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge, or if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give away everything I own to feed those poorer than I, then hand over my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 

Love is patient, love is kind.  Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, and it is not snobbish; it is never rude, or self-seeking, it is not prone to anger, nor does it brood over injuries.  Love doesn’t rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in the truth.  There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.   Love never fails.

 

No. 3 – St. Paul (I Corinthians 12:31 - 13:8)

 

But eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And now I will show you the most excellent way.  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails,  but where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  …And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

 

No. 4 – St. Paul (I Corinthians 12:31 - 13:8)

 

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 

Love is patient and kind;  Love is not jealous, or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away;  as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;  but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.  So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

No. 5 – St. Paul (Romans 12:9-18)

 

Let love be without any pretense. Avoid what is evil; stick to what is good. In sincere love, let your feelings of deep affection for one another come to expression and regard others as more important than yourself.  In the service of the Lord, work not halfheartedly but with conscientiousness and an eager spirit.  Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship; keep praying regularly; share with any of God's holy people who are in need; look for opportunities to be hospitable.

 

Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them.  Rejoice with others when they rejoice,

and be sad with those in sorrow.  Give the same consideration to all others alike.  Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms.  Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom.  Never pay back evil with evil, but bear in mind the ideals that all regard with respect.  As much as possible, and to the utmost of your ability, be at peace with everyone.

 

No. 6 – St. Paul (Colossians 3:12-17)

 

Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another-forgive in the same way God has forgiven you.  Above all else, put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.

 

 

Let Christ’s peace reign in your hearts since, as members of one body, you have been called to that peace.  Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you.  Instruct and admonish one another wisely. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns and songs of the Spirit.  And whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of Jesus our Savior, giving thanks to God through Christ.

 

No. 7 – St. Paul (Philippians 2:1-5)

 

If our life in Christ means anything to you-if love, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness or sympathy can persuade you at all-then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind.  That is the one thing that would make me completely happy.  There must be no competition among you, no conceit, but everybody is to be humble; value others over yourselves, each of you thinking of the interest of others before your own.  Your attitude must be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

 

No. 8 – First Letter of John (4:7-12)

 

My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.  This is the revelation of God's love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him.  Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins.  My dear friends, if God loved us so much, we too should love one another.  No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God remains in us and his love comes to its perfection in us.  This is the proof that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us a share in his Spirit.

 

No. 9 – Kahil Gibran

 

You shall be together forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

You shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

 

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond love;

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

 

And stand together, yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

 

 

No. 10 – Eric Fromm

 

Love is not simply a relationship to a specific person;

It is an attitude; an orientation of character, which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one "object" of love.

If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow person, this love is not love but a selfish attachment, or an enlarged egotism.

If you truly love one person, you love all  persons, you love the world, you love life.

If you can say to somebody else, "I love you" you must be able to say, "I love through you the world, I love in you also myself.

 

No. 11 – Carl Sandburg

 

I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.  I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.  I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.  A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.  The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desires are working for larger and finer growth.  Not always shall you be what you are now.  You are going forward toward something great.  I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.

 

No. 12 – Author Unknown

 

Love me because I try to touch life within the framework of uncertainty.

Love in me the shadows of my indecision as I strive to gain knowledge.

Love in me the silence of my hurts and the noise of my confusions.

Love me for the feeling of my heart not the fears of my mind.

Love me in my search for the truth though I may stumble upon fallacy.

Love me as I pursue my dreams sometimes retarded by illusions.

Love me as I grow to know myself even during the times of stagnation.

Love me because I seek God's harmony not man's discord.

Love me for my body that I wish to share with affection, wrapping you in warmth.

Love me because we are different as we are the same.

Love me that our time together will be spent in growing, kindling the world with understanding.

Love me not with expectations but with hope.

I will love you the same.

 

No. 13 – A Touch of Heart

 

There was a time ... a moment I felt all alone but then the sun shined upon me bearing gifts of love, friendship and harmony

everlasting love shared and expressed through you to me.  The prayers, the cares, the gestures brought forth to me heal my soul

for at times I'd only known to give but failed to accept and receive with grace.  I'm not alone now for your warmth overwhelms me your spirit fills my soul, and I am ALIVE with your love.

 

 

 

No. 14 – The Apache Wedding Blessing

 

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no loneliness for you,

Now there is no more loneliness.

Now there is no more loneliness,

Now you are two persons.

But there is one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.

May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

 

Treat each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.

 Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your connection deserves.

  When frustration, difficulty, and fear assail your relationship

—as they threaten all relationships at one time or another—

remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong.

 In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives

—remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. 

And if each of you takes the responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

 

No. 15 – Pablo Neruda (Sonnet XVII)

 

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:

I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers,

and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,

I love you simply, without problems or pride:

I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

 

No. 16 – An Irish Prayer

An Irish Marriage Blessing

May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you;

May you see your children's children.

May you be poor in misfortune,

And rich in blessings,

May you know nothing but happiness

From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home

And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,

May blue be the skies above you,

May pure be the joys that surround you,

May true be the hearts that love you.

 

 

No. 17 – A Wedding Poem

 

On this day of love

As you are joined as man and wife

May your hearts know all the promise

Of a new and happy life.

A marriage that is measured

Not by months and years alone,

But rather by a greater joy

Than you have ever known.

May you count your days together

By the fun and by the laughter

By memories you’ll fashion

That will live forever after.

 

May you count your years by challenges

And goals that you’ll pursue

By pathways that you’ll travel

On the way to dreams come true.

 

And always

May you share the joys

Your hearts are fondest of

As you count your years

 By happy times

And the sunshine of your love.

 

No. 18 – Marriage

 

I ask that you not be my inferior.

I ask, too, that you not act my superior.

I ask only that we be together, partners, forever equal.

And that we share our lives with love

 

No. 19 – An Irish Blessing (The Friendship Bracelet)

 

May there always be work for your hands to do;

May your purse always hold a coin or two;

May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

May the hand of a friend always be near you;

May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

 

 
 
Irish Celtic Wedding Blessing
An Irish Marriage Blessing
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children's children and their children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
And rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And the rains gently on your shoulders and until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand!
No. 20 – Something That We Do

 

I will remember well this day we wed

I will keep that picture in my head

I believe the words we say forever will ring true

Love is certain, love is kind

Love is yours and love is mine

But it isn’t something that we find

It’s something that we do.

 

It’s holding tight and letting go

It’s flying high and laying low

Let your strongest feelings show and your weakness too

It’s a little and a lot to ask

An endless and a welcome task

But it isn’t something that we find

It’s something that we do.

We helped to make each other all we can be

Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently

The way we work together is what sets our love apart

So closely that we can’t tell where I end and where you start

 

It gives me heart knowing how

We will start with a simple vow

There’ so much to look back on now,

Still it feels brand new

We’re on a road that has no end

And each day we begin again.

Love’s not just something that we’re in

It’s something that we do.

 

Love is wide, love is long,

Love is deep and love is strong

Love is why together we belong

And I know you feel this, too.

I will remember well this day we wed

I will keep this picture in my head

Love isn’t just these words we say

It’s something that we do.

There’s no request too big or small

We give ourselves, we give our all

Love isn’t someplace that we fall

It’s something that we do.

 

 

No. 21 – Tribute

 

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.  I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.

 

I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish and frivolous and weak things which you cannot help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out into the light all the beautiful, radiant belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I love you for ignoring the possibilities of the fool and weakling in me, and for laying firm hold on the possibilities of good in me.  I love you for closing your eyes to the discords in me, and for adding to the music in me by worshiped listening.

I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life not a tavern but a temple, and of the words of my every day not a reproach but a song.

 

I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fated could have done to make me happy.  You have done it just by being yourself.  Perhaps that is what being a friend means after all.

 

No. 22 – Because You Love Me  (Diane Warren)

 

For all those times you stand by me,

For all the truth that you make me see,

For all the joy you bring my life,

For all the wrong that you make right.

For every dream you make come true,

For all the love I find in you,

I’ll be forever thankful.

You’re the one who hold me up, never lets me fall.

You’re the one who sees me through it all,

You are my strength when I am weak,

You are my voice when I can’t speak,

You are my eyes when I can’t see,

You see the best there is in me,

You stand by me and I stand tall,

I have your love, I have it all,

I’m grateful for each day you give me,

Maybe I don’t know too much, but I know this much is true.

I am blessed because I am loved by you.

I’m everything I am because you love me!

 

 

 

 

NO. 23 – Together

 

You shall be together forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

You shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

 

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 

Love one another, but make not a bond love; let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. 

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together; for the pillars of the Temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

 

NO. 24 – What Should a Wedding Be?

 

A solemn, serious time, or a time of celebration?

Celebration with those we love and those who care.

Singing and dancing, talking together about love and life.

Two people reviewing intentions.

The ringing of bells.  The communion of food shared,

The exhilaration of wine and laughter and hugs and kisses and tears.

What should a wedding be?

The celebration of life.

Life renewed.

Life beginning.

Life affirmed.

Many waters cannot quench love, no flood can sweep it away;

If we were to offer for love the whole wealth of our house, it would be utterly scorned.

 

NO. 25 – Manfred Hausmann

 

Never in this world and time can man and woman become one.  As long as two people believe this they are still under the illusion of youth.  But if they know in every deepening awareness and agony it is impossible and still make the decision, the grave and crucial decision not to remain along-it is not good for man to be alone-remember, this was the first time that something was not good in those days when everything else was found to be good-when tow people decided to become one in full knowledge of the impossibility of their enterprise, it is then that marriage begins.  Marriage is the bold defiance, the will for the impossible between two people.  Everything else is but trifle and play.

 

 

NO. 26 – Need To Be Next To You

 

I’ve run from these feelings for so long,

Telling my heart I didn’t mean it,

Pretending that I was better off alone.

But I know that it’s just a lie,

So afraid of taking a chance again,

So afraid of what I’d feel inside.

 

But I need to be next to you.

I need to share every breath with you.

I need to know I can see you smiling each morning,

Look into your eyes each night,

For the rest of my life.

 

Here with you, near with you,

Oh! I need to be next to you.

 

Right here with you, is right where I belong.

I’d lose my mind if I couldn’t see you;

Without you there is nothing in this life

That would make life worth living for.

I can’t bear the thought of you not there.

I can’t fight what I feel anymore.

 

‘Cause I need to be next to you.

I need to share every breath with you.

I need to know I can see you smiling each morning,

Look into your eyes each night

For the rest of my life.

 

Here with you.  Near with you.

Oh! I need to be next to you.

 

I need to have your heart next to mine

For all times;

Hold you for all my life;

I need to be next to you.

 

I need to be next to you;

Need to be, need to be next to you;

Share every breath with you;

I need to feel you in my arms, babe,

In my arms, babe.

I need to be next to you.

 

No. 27 – “If” for Lovers (Emily Matthews)

 

If you have found a smile

That is the sweetest one

You’ve known.

If you have heard

Within a voice,

The echoes of your own.

If you have felt a touch

That stirs the longings

Of your heart,

And still can feel

That closeness

In the moments you’re apart.

 

If you believe

Some things in life

Are simply meant to be,

Then you have found

Your soul mate-

Your hearts own destiny!

 

NO. 28 – Forever One (Oswald J. Smith)

 

Forever one – our prayers have all been answered,

Our dreams at last have all, yea all, come true;

We stoop and drink of love’s eternal fountain

And from this day we live our lives anew.

 

Forever one – the wedding march is ended,

And now our marriage vows have all been said;

We turn our faces from the past forever

And trust in God for all that lies ahead.

 

Forever one – Oh words of God’s own choosing,

By love made one for He ordained it so;

And now with Him we journey on together

No more alone as down life’s path we go.

 

Forever one – the path is yet before us,

Our lives are God’s, oh may we faithful be!

And when at last the twilight falls upon us,

May we forevermore His glory see.

 

NO. 29 – Spectacles  (Jacques Prevert)

 

Young people in love embrace upright

Braced against the doors of night

And the passersby who pass point them out

But young people in love

Are not thee for anybody

They are only a shadow

That trembles in the night

Exciting the fury of passersby

Their fury their disdain their laughter and their longing

Young people in love are not there for anybody

They are elsewhere far beyond the night

Far beyond the day

In the dazzling brilliance of their first love

 

NO. 30 – The Meaning (Kellie Spehn)

 

To love is to share life together;

To build special plans just for you;

To work side-by-side

And then smile with pride

As one-by-one, dreams all come true.

 

To love is to help and encourage

With smiles and sincere words of praise;

To take time to share, to listen, and care

In tender, affectionate ways.

 

To love is to have someone special;

One who you can always depend

To be there through the years

As a partner, a lover, a friend.

 

To love is to make special memories

Of moments you love to recall;

Of all the good things that sharing life brings

Love is the greatest of all.

 

I’ve learned the full meaning

Of sharing and caring

And having my dreams all come true;

I’ve learned the full meaning of being in love

By being and loving with you.

 

 

NO. 31 – From the Irrational Season (Madeleine L’Engle)

 

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made.  Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take...It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that together we become a new creature.

 

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that  person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person….When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

 

 

 

 

Something That We Do

 

I will remember well this day we wed

I will keep that picture in my head

I believe the words we say forever will ring true

Love is certain, love is kind

Love is yours and love is mine

But it isn’t something that we find

It’s something that we do.

 

It’s holding tight and letting go

It’s flying high and laying low

Let your strongest feelings show and your weakness too

It’s a little and a lot to ask

An endless and a welcome task

But it isn’t something that we find

It’s something that we do.

We helped to make each other all we can be

Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently

The way we work together is what sets our love apart

So closely that we can’t tell where I end and where you start

 

It gives me heart knowing how

We will start with a simple vow

There’ so much to look back on now,

Still it feels brand new

We’re on a road that has no end

And each day we begin again.

Love’s not just something that we’re in

It’s something that we do.

 

Love is wide, love is long,

Love is deep and love is strong

Love is why together we belong

And I know you feel this, too.

I will remember well this day we wed

I will keep this picture in my head

Love isn’t just these words we say

It’s something that we do.

There’s no request too big or small

We give ourselves, we give our all

Love isn’t someplace that we fall

It’s something that we do.

 

 

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