Religion in its many forms
Wedding ceremonies can have a root in religion, so when you're planning your ceremony readings, here is a great place to add a blessing, scripture, prayer, or saying that can reflect you and your partner's spiritual background. When I was planning my wedding, finding the right reading that reflected my catholic heritage with my husband's jewish background proved to be a little tricky. (Plus, Pinterest wasn't around yet - great news for my husband - so inspiration was few and far between.) I've compiled a list of readings & blessings that you could use for your ceremony, from a bunch of different religious and cultures. I hope this can help!
A prayer I wrote/compiled to include in spiritual/non-overly religious wedding ceremonies:
“Dear God, we ask for your blessings upon Spouse & Spouse, as we celebrate this momentous occasion in their lives. Bless their families and friends, from which their relationships have supported, strengthened and sustained them throughout their lives. As they learn from one another, may they grow stronger as individuals, and closer as a couple. Let the radiant light of their love shine on all those around them. Bless them with the inner gifts of trust, compassion, forgiveness and truth, that they may live and grow together in love and peace.
1 Corinthians: 13
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.
Jesus says: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,’ and said, “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 then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.
The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
This one shall be called ‘woman,’
For out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.
From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
1 John 4:10
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Love one another. This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us. We love because he first loved us.
Canticle of Love ( From the United Methodist Hymnal 1989 Pg. 646)
Let love be genuine and live in harmony;
hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.
Outdo one another in showing honor;
be humble and never conceited.
Love is stronger than death
and jealousy is cruel as the grave.
Floods cannot drown love and
wealth cannot buy it.
Put love above all else;
let Christ’s peace rule your hearts.
Always be forgiving,
as Christ has forgiven you.
Love is not jealous or boastful,
arrogant, rude, or stubborn,
irritable, resentful, or possessive.
Love is patient and kind.
Do not love in word or speech only;
love also in deed and truth.
Receive each other in sincerity,
find mercy and grow old together.
Source Unknown-Christian Reading
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone, to have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But God, to the Christians says, “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone, with giving yourself totally and unreserved to Me, with having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone; discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you.”
You will never be united with another until you are united with Me, exclusively of anyone or anything else, exclusively of any other desire or longing.
I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow me to give you the most thrilling plan existing, one that you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow me to bring it to you. You keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things. Keep experiencing and learning the things I tell you… You just have to wait. That’s all.
Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t look around at the things others have gotten or that I’ve given them. Don’t look around at the things you think you want. You just keep looking off and up to Me, or you will miss what I want to show you.
And then…when you are ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any other that you would dream of.
You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time, until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I prepared for you, you won’t be able to experience the Love that exemplifies your relationship with Me and this perfect Love.
Dear one, I want you to have this wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh, a picture of your relationship with Me, and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, and perfection, and Love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly.
I am God. Believe and be satisfied.
The Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, Grant that we may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Wedding Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
"O God, your Son Jesus began his ministry at a wedding celebration. May the joy that is experienced as two people begin a life together continue to grow and deepen through all that life has to offer along the way. May Jesus continue to transform the water of their every day to the wine of new vision, so what seems ordinary becomes transformed by love. May couples grow old together knowing the best wine is saved till last and that Jesus is the abiding guest and their companion on the way. We ask this in Jesus's name."
-- Angela Ashwin
"The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion's own nature: It is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do.
“And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: No one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry."
-- C. S. Lewis
"If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense -- love as distinct from ‘being in love’ -- is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: This quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."
-- C. S. Lewis
"The love of God, unutterable and perfect, flows into a pure soul the way light rushes into a transparent object. The more love we receive, the more love we shine forth; so that, as we grow clear and open, the more complete the joy of loving is. And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, for, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other."
-- Dante Alighieri
"The Buddha spoke about four elements that constitute true love: the capacity to be kind and offer happiness, maitri in Sanskrit, compassion, the capacity to relieve suffering, karuna; the capacity to bring joy every day, mudita; and finally, the capacity of nondiscrimination, upeksha. When there is true love, there is nondiscrimination. The pain of the other is our own pain; the happiness of the other is our own happiness...To make our love meaningful, we need to nourish our bodhicitta, our mind of boundless love and compassion...First, we learn to love one person with all our understanding and insight; then we expand that love to embrace another person, and another, until our love is truly boundless."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
"Let the earth of my body be mixed with the earth my beloved walks on. Let the fire of my body be the brightness in the mirror that reflects his face. Let the water of my body join the waters of the lotus pool he bathes in. Let the breath of my body be air lapping his tired limbs. Let me be sky, and moving through me the cloud-dark Shyama, my beloved.”
From – “A Hindu Love Poem”
"When There Is Love, Self Is Not
A man rich with worldly riches, or a man rich in knowledge and belief, will never know anything but darkness, and will be the center of all mischief and misery. But if you and I, as individuals, can see this whole working of the self, then we shall know what love is. I assure you that is the only reformation which can possibly change the world. Love is not the self. Self cannot recognize love. You say, ‘I love,’ but then, in the very saying of it, in the very experiencing of it, love is not. But, when you know love, self is not. When there is love, self is not."
-- J. Krishnamurti
"Conversation is the culmination of listening. It includes everything...self-confidence, receptivity, give-and-take, even disagreement and conflict. Conversation is dialogue, real communication and communion through our words and our presence. Founded on deep listening, deep speech, and an honest self-awareness without too much fear or judgment, conversation is a way to connect with ourselves and with each other, to enter each other’s lives and help each other heal."
-- Norman Fischer
"Is this love that rushes towards the rim to meet you. A main thread in the inwardness of things? Without it would the great externality loosen and unravel? Is it our purpose to see and say that the world is good? And could we have seen this and said it, beloved, while you seemed indubitable? I do not know.
I stand with hands dangling empty at my sides. I have no wisdom bequeathed to me by ancestors. The stars are equivocal, and around me nature is in sorest travail, weeping. I love you.
This is the only sacred word in my keeping. This is the last trace, the last print in our hearts' waste, of the migration of a thousand traditions, a thousand embodiments of wisdom. I stand with useless hands, and out of the transparency of my poverty, I offer you this, my single gift."
-- Freya Matthews
"Many human relationships are like the interlocking fingers of two hands... Human relationships are meant to be like two hands folded together. They can move away from each other while still touching with the fingertips. They can create space between themselves, a little tent, a home, a safe place to be.
True relationships among people point to God. They are like prayers in the world. Sometimes the hands that pray are fully touching, sometimes there is distance between them. They always move to and from each other, but they never lose touch. They keep praying to the One who brought them together."
-- Henri Nouwen
"Under the huppah (marriage canopy) we pronounce a special blessing that renders the couple loving, kind friends, always at each other's side, always encouraging each other, and when necessary, criticizing and gently showing where the other erred. God has endowed each of us with unique gifts. When our mates become our best friends, we pool our spiritual resources and strengthen each other. In such a relationship, life's trials become less threatening, and even the most formidable challenges become manageable. 'Two are better than one' is the wise teaching of King Solomon. If one falls, the other is there to pick him/her up. If one is attacked, the other is there to rescue him; if one is depressed, the other is there to buoy her spirits.
When husband and wife are loving, kind friends, they perceive each other's feelings so totally that there is no need for explanations. Their relationship is virtually symbiotic. There is total empathy with the needs of the other."
-- Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
"May your love be firm, and may your dream of life together be a river between two shores -- by day bathed in sunlight, and by night illuminated from within. May the heron carry news of you to the heavens, and the salmon bring the sea's blue grace. May your twin thoughts spiral upward like leafy vines, like fiddle strings in the wind, and be as noble as the Douglas fir. May you never find yourselves back to back without love pulling you around into each other's arms."
-- James Bertolino
"They say they will love, comfort, honor each other to the end of their days. They say they will cherish each other and be faithful to each other always. They say they will do these things not just when they feel like it, but even -- for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health -- when they don't feel like it at all. In other words, the vows they make could hardly be more extravagant. They give away their freedom. They take on themselves each other's burdens. They bind their lives together... The question is, what do they get in return?
They get each other in return... There will always be the other to talk to, to listen to... There is still someone to get through the night with, to wake into the new day beside. If they have children, they can give them, as well as each other, roots and wings. If they don't have children, they each become the other's child.
They both still have their lives apart as well as a life together. They both still have their separate ways to find. But a marriage made in heaven is one where a man and a woman become more richly themselves together than the chances are either of them could ever have managed to become alone."
-- Frederick Buechner
"I know not whether thou has been absent: I lie down with thee, I rise up with thee, In my dreams thou art with me. If my eardrops tremble in my ears, I know it is thou moving within my heart."
From “An Aztec Love Song”
“You are my husband/wife. My legs run because of you. My feet dance because of you. My heart shall beat because of you. My eyes see because of you. My mind thinks because of you. And I shall love because of you.”
Eskimo Love Song
“God in heaven above please protect the ones we love. We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together. We honor mother earth—and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grown stronger through the seasons; We honor fire—and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts; We honor wind—and ask that we sail through life safe and calm as in our father’s arms; We honor water—to clean and soothe our relationship, that it may never thirst for love; With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together.”
Native American Prayer