Recently in our Friday Five series, we posted five wedding readings we love. In it, we said that while a wedding scripture can be beautiful and meaningful in ceremonies, we encourage couples to choose something other than First Corinthians, Chapter 13 (“Love is patient, love is kind…”). We know 1st Corinthians is a common wedding reading, so we thought our comments were worth a more detailed explanation!
First and foremost, it’s your day, and if First Corinthians is the wedding scripture you love and want to include, by all means, do it! That said, we have some thoughts about using 1st Corinthians as a wedding ceremony reading. Ask any wedding professional about First Corinthians and they’ll probably roll their eyes a bit. It’s very very common and we have heard it many many times. It’s not so original, but, again, it’s your day.
But our reasons for not loving First Corinthians as a wedding reading are a bit more complex.
First, in terms of historical context, this reading is not at all about a celebration of love between two people. The words of 1st Corinthians are from a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Corinth, a Christian community he had visited and founded several years before. Upon hearing of unrest, quarreling, and dissension by the Corinthians, he wrote a quite authoritative letter explaining many Christian tenants, and essentially chastising the people for not truly demonstrating love to Christ. As an officiant, every time I recite the words of First Corinthians I feel a bit as if I am chastising and lecturing my couple as to what is love, in the spirit of the Apostle Paul. I don’t think that’s the vibe and intent that couples want when they choose 1st Corinthians for their wedding.
Many people choose this passage because they want to include something biblical in their wedding ceremony, as their spirituality is important to their relationship. That’s fantastic, but we’d encourage you to find together a biblical reading that’s specific to your own relationship and your love as a couple. Preparing for your wedding is a wonderful opportunity to explore the Bible, as well as your faith as a couple.
We’ve also had couples say that they’d like to include a biblical passage because religion is important to a special loved one who might be in attendance. It’s so lovely to respect and honor someone in that way, but choosing such a common verse might not be the best way to do so.
We love the story of one of our couples who had a very religious grandmother that they wanted to honor. Instead of searching for a biblical passage to use, or selecting the familiarity of 1st Corinthians, we suggested they sit down with their grandmother to talk about her faith and what it meant to her. It was a simple yet important conversation that had never really happened in their lives. Their grandmother was delighted to share and even helped them select a biblical passage from Song of Solomon that was relevant to their relationship. It wasn’t just a beautiful and special moment in their ceremony, it was a wonderful bonding experience. And, we’d like to think that the wisdom of that particular special passage, and their grandmother, helped set the foundation of their relationship.
So, if you are searching for wedding readings to use in your wedding ceremony, consider a biblical passage. But give it some thought and contemplation. If the Bible is important enough to you to be included in your ceremony, it deserves some consideration.
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