3 Bible wedding readings from the Book of Common Prayer (& their meanings to us)

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Oh my gosh, can you believe that it is 3 MONTHS before Cecilio and I say our vows...to love and cherish each other forever...time flew by. Last year, we had just booked the ceremony and reception sites, and we were just meeting with the church wedding coordinators around this time. 9 years ago, we were just freshmen at Sacramento City College, finishing our finals. We were in the school newspaper together and after submitting our journalism clip books to our advisors, we took the light rail from to Downtown and walked around the mall and Old Sac. I was with someone else at the time, and Cecilio was just a very good friend. I am always so thankful that the previous relationship didn't work out because I wouldn't have this wonderful man now, this man who loves me and treats me so well, who I have so much fun with.

We met with our officiant a few weeks ago to talk about our pre-marital counseling sessions and the ceremony.

We are getting married in the Episcopal Church (aka the Anglican Church in other parts of the world). Churches in the Anglican Communion use the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which consist of the worship services (liturgies) in script format. There are also devotions and prayers of thanksgivings (ex: prayers for the world, the Church, National Life, Social Order, Family/Personal Life, etc.) that I love because sometimes when I pray, I don't know what exactly to say and these prayers help me when I am stuck.  The BCP have the scripts for occasions such as Baptism, Confirmation, praying to the sick, funerals, and of course, weddings. 

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The whole ceremony script between the officiant, couple, and guests are in the BCP, so I know exactly what to expect during the wedding day. Usually, most Episcopal weddings have you choose between 2–3 readings, one of which is from the Gospels. If you do have a reading from the Gospels, you have the Eucharist (drinking the wine and eating the bread to symbolize Jesus' body and blood) incorporated in the ceremony. The whole reason Cecilio and I started going to the Episcopal Church was because he grew up Catholic and I grew up Evangelical, and the Episcopal Church met is in the middle with retaining the Catholic traditions and using Protestant doctrine...yet the opposite of Evangelical churches because the Episcopal Church loves/includes the LGBT community, are open-minded educationally, and point others to Jesus without in your face and being full of hate if you are a Muslim or of a different faith. That is everything we believe in, and that is what Jesus is like.

Cecilio's mom has always been, and still is a very, very, devout Catholic. She never, EVER, misses Mass. So we decided from the get-go that we would incorporate the Eucharist in the ceremony.

As we were sitting down on my couch a few days before meeting our officiant, we chose our 3 verses for the readings. One of them will be recited by Cecilio's great-aunt, who is a nun. Another one will be spoken by my preacher uncle. And finally, it is our officiant who will read the Gospel verse.

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Here's are the verses that we chose, and why.

1 Corinthians 13:1–13 (NRSV)
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Its meaning to us:
I'm going to be honest and say that I did not want to use this because it was SO OVERDONE at weddings. If you've been to a decent amount of weddings, you've probably heard this a handful of times. But there's a reason that Cecilio wanted to use it, and there's a reason why it's popular: love conquers all. When you first start dating someone, everything is all happy and full of sunshine and butterflies. But as the relationship progresses, you guys start to reveal your true selves...even the ugly parts of you that you try to hide. There will be tough times, which is why love endures and hopes. True love is not just about feelings and emotions, but action and working at it everyday. Even (or especially) when it seems like you both are hanging by a thread. It is work to be patient, kind, and not envious, boastful, arrogant and rude. We naturally want things to be our way or the highway. But marriage is the time to be putting another person before yourself, and that is the mark of true love. Also, there is a saying that people don't care about how much you know: they want to know how much you care. This is where this reading comes in.

1 John 4:7–16 (NRSV)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

Its meaning to us:
I was also weary of the first few verses because there are people who are not Christians who are absolutely capable of love...sometimes if not moreso! But it means that we are all of God's creation and children, even if you don't believe and follow God, you still have the indwelling of love within. And that is from Him, and He loves you and sent Jesus to die, and rise for you. So by merely loving, you are reflecting those Christlike spirit. I know that the way I love is imperfect, and I will stumble at times with my marriage to Cecilio. But I know that God's love will carry me through and by seeking Him, I can love Cecilio in the way that he deserves. And our love for each other can only get strengthened from there. This is the agape love, the sacrificial love God has for us. This is the type of love we need to model after for our spouses.

Matthew 5:13–16 (NRSV)
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Its meaning to us:

People judge Christians harsher than others. We are called to be the light and yet are the ones who spew the most hate and nastiness, and that turns people off from Jesus. In some ways Christians are no better than others. The divorce rate for Christians is just as high as for those who are nonbelievers, and I hear stories about ministry leaders having affairs. To me, this verse is about being a witness to others as an individual and as a couple. You can be the most famous preacher and know theology from the back of your head, but if your marriage is in shambles, people will not see that light. (This goes back to 1 Corinthians 13:1–13). When you work on your marriage everyday, show your spouse the agape love that Jesus does for you, it will show to everyone around you. And it will give them hope that love can last and withstand everything, and it will point them to Jesus.

If you are married, what kind of readings did you have at your wedding? Was it a verse, a poem, a song, etc.?

If not married, what readings do you have in mind?

5 comments :

  1. I am sooo excited for your wedding, lovely! I can't believe it's so soon, yay! I hope you two have the most beautiful day ever. <3 Really enjoyed reading this post, darling - although I am not religious myself, I definietly appreciate the Bible for its wisdom, and the readings you picked out are so heartfelt and true. I don't think I will ever get married myself... I've been with my boyfriend for over seven years now, and I think for the time being we're happy as we are. Never say never, though! Thanks for sharing this lovely post, hun. :) <3 xoxo

    Kay
    http://www.shoesandglitter.com/

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    1. Thank you so much <3 I can't believe it's gone by quick. I am glad you enjoy this post! Who knows where you guys will lead to in the future, but props to you for being happy and content in your relationship, and I wish you all the best!

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  2. Loved this post, it's so beautiful to share what readings you love and what means to you as a couple. And 3 months until the wedding?? You must be so excited (and panicked haha, I know I would be panicked if I was 3 months before my wedding)!!! Do you have everything ready???

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

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    1. Yes! We did have a 2 year engagement though. I am just starting my DIY projects, and we are about to get his suits, and we still need to book our rehearsal dinner and transportation. We got the major things done but it's now just the little things!

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  3. these are perfect but seriously that first one is a cliche for a reason... love truly does conquer all. xX so stoked for you two! xX

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