Saving grace.
February 18, 2006 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Any guidance on writing a non-religious grace?

Two families, one christian the other utterly non religious. I've been asked to write and say a wedding pre-dinner grace or blessing. I'm from the religious side of the family but not a believer. I'd like to write something that will nod towards the divine but embrace the sort of things i think we are all really there for i.e. love, family and celebration. Any suggestions as to what to say? Perhaps links to non denominational blessings etc? Thanks in advance.
posted by brautigan to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You may find some help in this thread.
posted by jrossi4r at 4:22 PM on February 18, 2006

What about saying that you're thankful (with or without mentioning a higher power) that the happy couple have found each other, that you hope they have a wonderful life together, and that you're also thankful for the family, friends, and food around you? It might be a little bland, but it also shouldn't offend either side of the family.

You could spice it up by quoting Homer, though: "...and thank you Lord for nuclear power, which is yet to cause a single proven fatality, at least in this country."
posted by Trinkers at 4:27 PM on February 18, 2006

This is, technically, religious, but what Quakers do is everyone around the table holds onto the hands of the people on either side of them, making a circle, and everyone has a moment of silence. It's nice, and not pushy, whether the people involved are religious or not.
posted by ITheCosmos at 4:47 PM on February 18, 2006

Good bread,
Good meat,
Why wait?
Let's eat!
posted by paulsc at 4:53 PM on February 18, 2006

I faced this conundrum at my own wedding last May. The line we walked (agnostic/atheistic couple, Humanist celebrant, comparatively religious families) was a combination between secularism and ceremonial deism. Everybody came away happy.

My email is in my profile if you'd like to see the whole ceremony my wife and I (mostly my wife, honestly) developed. If you're as Irish as your name sounds to me, you'll find some good, religious-sounding-but-not-outrageously-so words in Irish blessings.

Here were two we used:

May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you together know nothing but happiness from this day forward.


May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sunshine be warm upon your faces,
And the rains fall softly upon your fields.
May the light of friendship guide your path together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
And when eternity beckons, at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May God embrace you with the arms that have nurtured you the whole length of your joy-filled days.
May God hold you both in the palm of his hands.
And today, may the spirit of love find a permanent place in your hearts.

Sorry for the long answer, but maybe you can use it.
posted by BackwardsCity at 7:30 PM on February 18, 2006

What you may be looking for is not a blessing, but a toast.
posted by sixpack at 11:30 AM on February 19, 2006

The United Nations chapel has a number of inter-religious model ceremonies. My wife and I began as Lutheran/Jewish, but married as non-believers. We used the UN material, adapting it to satisfy our parents while meeting our needs.
posted by KRS at 12:06 PM on February 19, 2006

It's my personal opinion that as a non-believer you shoud respectfully bow out of saying 'grace', which I take to mean prayer. Maybe you could substitute by doing a toast later during the event. As I Christian I would find it very offensive and hypocritical to have an atheist/agnostic lead a prayer/non-prayer. Sorry if I step on toes, I am very sincere in expresing this.
posted by JamesMessick at 9:17 PM on February 19, 2006

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