Saturday, February 06, 2016

Stumped, with a deadline.

I have a slight conundrum.

Probably six months ago, my former roommate Pam and her fiancé, Adam, asked me to give one of the readings at their wedding, and I was, of course, honored to say yes.

But it has turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. If it was a Catholic wedding, there would be no issue (couples select from a list of suggested readings for a first and second reading, psalm and Gospel), but it's not: Pam's Episcopal -- although a large portion of her family is more on the Evangelical side -- and not a frequent church-goer; and Adam's mom is Jewish and dad is Catholic. I think he was baptized, but that's about the extent of it; he was neither confirmed nor bar mitzvahed, and while he'll go to church with Pam's family, doesn't attend a temple. They've apparently agreed to raise potential kids in the Episcopal church, but their wedding ceremony is being performed by a friend who is a notary, and is taking place outside at a gorgeous historic Florida house (The Burroughs Home. Love the wrap-around porch!) along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, which, while beautiful, isn't a house of worship.

Which is where I come in. One of Adam's sisters is giving a second, non-religious reading, but basically it's my job to lend a note of spirituality to the proceedings (no pressure, right?). The only direction I was given was "I'm sure you'll pick something that's just perfect!" (from Pam) and, laughingly, "Nothing from the book of Revelation," (from Adam), which was a downer, because that was totally going to be my first choice. ;)

I started looking at potential options before Thanksgiving. I knew from the start that I didn't want to chose the (in my opinion) always overused 1 Corinthians 13 ("Love is patient, love is kind," etc...), and it seemed obvious to go with something from the Old Testament, which would cover all the bases for everybody's families, Jewish or Christian. If I had my druthers, I'd pick Sirach 40: 17(b)-27, which I find so lovely (I've always wondered why Sirach 26, although also great, is one of the pre-approved Catholic wedding reading options and 40 isn't), or Colossians 3: 12-17, but since this isn't my wedding, and more importantly as the Episcopal church doesn't recognize the book of Sirach, that put the kibosh on that. The "set me as a seal" verse from Song of Songs is great, but it's so short. I'm partly tempted to cobble together something from Proverbs 3, 4 and 5 which, while the passages I'm considering are actually about wisdom and not about marriage, could still potentially be taken that way. Psalm 128 is a solid contender, and of course there's always Proverbs 31, but I'm not sure if the latter wouldn't be too much, since I want to find a happy medium between a good reading for both of them and being not-too-preachy.

There is no doubt (no doubt -- please feel free to throw something in my general direction or figuratively smack the back of my head) that I'm over-thinking this, because it's what I do. Both of my best friends have told me to stop. One suggested reading the Beatitudes. And I suppose I could always fall back on Genesis 2/"This one at last is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh."

Of course, because I wasn't totally satisfied with my Old Testament options (I keep wondering if there are wedding/marriage related scripture passages in the Old Testament I might not have considered) just last night I decided to open myself up to the New Testament for possibilities. As a result, I'm now finding myself -- quite unexpectedly -- leaning towards Romans 12: 1-2, 9-13.

Must. Choose. Something! The wedding is in three weeks!

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