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We draw upon the worlds secular and religious traditions, respecting the perspectives of both doubter and believer.


Favorite Readings for Weddings


1. Ecclesiastes
2. I Corinthians
3. John 4
4. Genesis
5. Song of Solomon
6. Ruth
7. Samuel
10. Gibran, The Prophet 
11. Apache poem
12. Shakspr Sonnet 116 
13. Robert Fulghum
14. "I like you"



1. adapted from 
HEBREW SCRIPTURE 
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  How can one keep warm alone?  If two lie down together, they will keep warm.


2. from
CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE 
NEB I Cor 12:31b, 13

And now I will show you the best way of all. I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I am without love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, and know every hidden truth; I may have faith strong enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may dole out all I possess, or even give my body to be burnt, but if I have no love, I am none the better. 
     Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other’s sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance. 
     Love will never come to an end. [Are there prophets? their work will be over. Are there tongues of ecstasy? They will cease. Is there knowledge? It will vanish away; for our knowledge and our prophecy alike are partial, and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes. . . .] 
     In a word, there are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.


3a. from
CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE
NIV John 4:7-12

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.

3b. 
John 4:7-12
NABRE (Roman Catholic)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
     In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
     Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.
     No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.


4. adapted from
HEBREW SCRIPTURE 
Genesis: 1:27-8a, 2:24
RSV

God created humans in his own image: male and female he created them. And God blessed them. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. 
 


5a. adapted from
HEBREW SCRIPTURE
Song of Solomon: 1:2-3; 4:9; 6:3; 7:11-12; 8:6-7

From the : O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your name is oil poured out. Draw me after you; let us make haste. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. You have ravished my heart, you have ravished my heart with at a glance of your eyes. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. 
     Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields, and lodge in the villages; let us go out early to the vineyards, and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. 
     Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. 

------
5b. adapted from
HEBREW SCRIPTURE
Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7

My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. 
     Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.


6. adapted from 
HEBREW SCRIPTURE 
Ruth 1:16-17

But [to Naomi] Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 


7. adapted from 
HEBREW SCRIPTURE 
I Sam 18:1, 3-4; 20:17, 41b; II Sam 1:26b.

. . .  Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword. And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. David . . . bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together. Jonathan said to David, “We have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me. . . ." [And at Jonathan's death, David lamented,] "Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women."


10. adapted from 
KAHIL GIBRAN’S 
THE PROPHET 

     . . . Together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But 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 of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. 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. 

Distinct and personal, not one submerged in the other, yet together you shall be forevermore.


11. APACHE POEM
adapted

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

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

Now there is no more loneliness 
for each of you will be companion to the other. 

Now you are two persons 
but there is only one life
before you. 

Go now to [Here at] your dwelling 
[to] enter into the days of your life together. 

And may your days be good, 
and long upon the earth. 


12. SHAKESPEARE SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken,
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, 
     although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

    If this be error, and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


13. From Beginning to End
Robert Fulghum

 You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks—all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will"—those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe"—and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. 
     All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word."
     Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. 
     Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this—is my wife


14. From the book 
I like you
by Sandol Stoddard Warburg:

I like you    And I know why   I like you because
You are a good person    To like
I like you because
When I tell you something special
You know it's special
And you remember it  A long long time
You say   Remember when you told me
Something special    And both of us remember
When I think something is important
You think it's important too

When I say something funny   You laugh
I think I'm funny and   You think I'm funny too
I like you because   You know how to be silly
That's why I like you   Boy are you ever silly
I never met anybody sillier than me   till I met you
I like you because
You know when it's time to stop being silly
Maybe day after tomorrow  Maybe never
Oops too late   It's quarter post silly

You really like me  You really like me  Don't you
And I really like you back And you like me back
And I like you back
And that's the way we keep on going  Every day
If you go away  then I go away too
Or if I stay home  You send me a postcard
You don't just say 
Well see you around  Some time  Bye
I like you a lot  because of that
If I go away  I send you a postcard too
And I like you because  If we go away together

And if we are in Grand Central Station
And if I get lost
then you are the one that is yelling for me
Hey where are you  Here I am

And I like you because  When I am feeling sad
You don't always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It's awful when the other person isn't
They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about    punch them in the nose
I like you because if I think I am going to
throw up then you are really sorry
You don't just pretend you are busy looking at
the birdies and all that
You say maybe it was something you ate
You say same thing happened to me one time
And the same thing did 

If you find two four-leaf clovers 
You give me one
If I find four    I give you two
If we only find three   We keep on looking
Sometimes we have good luck
And sometimes we don't

If I break my arm and   If you break your arm too
Then it is fun to have a broken arm
I tell you about mine  You tell me about yours
We are both sorry
We write our names and draw pictures
We show everybody and they wish they had a broken arm too

I like you because   I don't know why but
Everything that happens   Is nicer with you
I can't remember when I didn't like you
It must have been lonesome then
I like you because because
I forget why I like you
But I do    So many reasons

On the Fourth of July I like you because
It's the Fourth of July
On the Fifth of July   I like you too
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again

That's how it would happen every time
I don't know why 
I guess I don't know why I like you really
Why do I like you
I guess I just like you  I guess I just like you
Because I like you