Let me not to marriage of true minds admit impediments . . .
July 31, 2011 12:47 PM Subscribe
Help me write a literary and science-y marriage "sermon" for some colleagues!
I have been honored with the role of marrying two colleagues / friends of mine a week from now. I have the standard “Internet Minister” credential (I was ordained as a minister of the ULC in 2002, and so can legally marry people in New York State). The groom is a public school science teacher and the bride teaches college composition. (why this matters in a minute)
The ceremony is going to be fairly simple, with the couple having written their own vows, but I am going to give a short “sermon” beforehand on love and marriage. I met with the couple a few weeks ago, to get a sense of what they wanted, and the only caveat was “no mention of the word ‘God’ in the sermon.” This is fine with me . . . none of us follow a specific tradition, but rather have eclectic sets of overlapping beliefs.
I want to speak about the value of honoring a committed relationship in view of family and friends, of partnership and journeying through life and growing with a partner . . . this sort of thing. I also want to make it “literary” and perhaps a bit “science-y,” a respectful nod to the bride and groom’s interests . . . and many of the attendees will be other colleagues (university / English grad students) of ours. I’m not looking to show off, but rather to use a few points to underscore the ceremony and what it means to the participants, maybe a little tongue-in-cheek.
I am looking for suggestions of passages, bits of verse, or other texts that speak to love, relationships, marriage, partnership, teamwork, et cetera.
I immediately thought of Forster’s “Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer” and the section in Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet that deals with love and marriage.
I’m looking for other suggestions of literary ideas that support some of the ideas above, and maybe some science-y things that show the history and value of “partnering” or pair-bonding.. The science aspect can be as wild as you can think of . . . I'm not averse to explaining Rayleigh scattering or quantum entanglement (metaphorically, of course) if it will add something.
Bonus points if you have officiated a marriage and have any other tips and tricks. We haven't gone over the "flow" of the ceremony yet . . . we're doing that the night before, at the rehearsal.