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Slacktivist has a really good post on 1 Corinthians 13, that nearly-inevitable Bible reading at Christian weddings. Go read it.

(Yes, this was our New Testament reading, though I can't remember where we stopped; the Old Testament reading was from Genesis, as the least offensive of the offered options (which should tell you how disagreeable we found all the other options). Chad tells me that the Gospel was the wedding at Cana. I don't even remember that there was a Gospel reading, which doesn't surprise me since I remember about three things from the ceremony proper: 1) far too much kneeling; 2) Chad mopping his sweating face (June, tux, no air conditioning, far too much kneeling) with a tissue that the maid of honor handed him; and 3) the vows being different than we'd wanted. This seems to be pretty typical; I was asking people at the last wedding we attended and no-one remembers much about the ceremony itself.)

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I remember that there were two readings at my sister's wedding (not a religious wedding) and that one of them was the Bible (father of the groom) and the other was Robert Browning (my mother), but, except for a pretty good guess as to the Browning, I can't tell you what the readings were about.

All I remember from the last wedding ceremony I attended was that the bride cried and cried and blew her nose before the vows, to the chamred guffaws of all. (That was a religious wedding, and I don't even remember whether there were any readings at all.)

Readings seem to be usual, if for no other reason than to pad the ceremony out. (Vows only take so long, after all, and most officiants don't speechify for that long either.)

There is another line from that chapter that forms the basis of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes: "When I was a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Lewis himself was sometimes accused of being childish: liking fairy stories and demotic literature like Walter Scott; and what was a 50-year-old unmarried man doing writing children's stories? But he noted that the people most anxious to seem grown-up are in fact children. He quoted the above line and added, "And the most childish thing that I put away was the desire to seem grown-up all the time."

This, by the way, is the answer to the Problem of Susan in The Last Battle. Her flightly interests have nothing to do with sex per se: she's been seized with a desire to seem terribly grown-up and hasn't gotten over it.

By the way, why couldn't you take your O.T. reading from the Song of Songs? That's got some of the most wedding-worthy verses in all Scripture, and if they won't let you read from it, insist.

I've always wondered why this isn't done more!

I think there are a few reasons:
1) It's about sex, and some people don't like sex in church.
2) A lot of the metaphors are odd and tend to clash in the modern ear. my beloved's teeth are like sheep that all have twins, and so on.
3) It's traditionally been read as an allegory about Christ and the Church, or God and Israel, so some people want it read only as allegory.
4) That bit about "love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave." people don't like death mixed in their weddings.
5) It has multiple voices, and people usually aren't organized enough to pull off a choral reading, or don't think about it as a possibility.

You don't have to read all of the Song of Songs, good grief, no. Leave the inappropriate stuff out; there's plenty of good individual excerpts. 2:10-13, 2:16-17, 6:2-3, and we didn't mind having 8:6-7, especially not in a translation that says "relentless as the nether world is devotion."

The ideal Old Testament wedding reading, IMHO, is:

Proverbs, Chapter 30, verses 18 and 19 (NIV):

"18 There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:

19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden."


I'm pretty sure we picked our readings out of a little book called something like _Your Catholic Wedding_, which didn't offer the Song of Songs; and I don't know the Bible well enough to think of it, or even be sure that the Song of Songs was _in_ the Old Testament. As I was finishing law school at the time, and Chad was in his first year of teaching, neither of us really had time to read the Bible ourselves looking for other choices.

Whoa-- the priest, or whoever, arbitrarily changed your vows from what you wanted? If I interpreted that correctly, then WTF??

Slacktivist is a great writer.

The deacon didn't change the vows, it just never occurred to us to ask what the vows were. We had been to several Catholic weddings in the previous year or two, and they all used the same vows (endng with "I will love you, and honor you all the days of my life"). We got the old-school "In sickness and health, till death do you part" ones.

Oh, well, that's different. As long as Kate is living up to the obedience part...

*running away quickly*

My recollection differs from Chad's: I think we told the priest we wanted the newer versions, but didn't think to tell the deacon who was a last-minute substitute.

Neither version had "obey" in it, I can assure you of that.

Apropos of... um, literature, I guess... I thought it was strange that Harriet Vane insisted on the "obey" bit being in her ceremony. No problem, say whatever you want for your own vows (especially when you're fictional), but it just seemed out of character; even her explanation to Peter never made sense to me.

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So was it not on the recommended list for opposite-sex couples? If so, that would be very strange.

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I have to assume my cousin vetted this crap before the wedding

We did not discuss the sermon with our priest at all. Or with the deacon who replaced him.

I'm told that certain members of the audience found the sermon . . . remarkable, but as I said, I don't remember a thing about it.

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There were a number of reasons for that, but in the end it wouldn't have mattered since our priest was replaced at the last minute (as in, at the rehearsal) by a deacon.

Further I prefer to say not here.

*twitch*

Don't mind me, that's just a leftover from a Southern Baptist upbringing.