Going to the Chapel: Readings

Roddy, Not Another Happy Ending (2013)

Not Another Happy Ending (2013)

You’d think that having spent numerous years and money studying and teaching literature I would be able to come up with readings for my own wedding. But friends, it is really hard.

I mean, sure, I have a few scripture ideas, and Shakespeare is very inspirational, but I’m hitting a wall.

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Hallelujah

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

I am at a point in my life where all I can do is say, “Hallelujah.”
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East of Eden: Thou Mayest

89e420afa8fe6cd5e8b072ba8fbd1f7d“I don’t know how long you’ll live, Adam. Maybe a long time. Maybe an hour. But your son will live. He will marry and his children will be the only remnant of you.” Lee wiped his eyes with his fingers.

“He did a thing in anger, Adam, because he thought you had rejected him. The result of his anger is that his brother and your son is dead.”

Cal said, “Lee—you can’t.” Continue reading

I Know There’s More Than This

All I hear is what they’re selling me,

That God is love, He isn’t suffering,

And what you need’s a little faith and prosperity,

But, oh my God, I know there’s more than this—

If you promise pain, it can’t be meaningless,

So make me poor if that’s the price for freedom.

— Tenth Avenue North

“Don’t Stop the Madness,” The Struggle (2012)

We should take care what we sing along with in the car. I can remember very clearly one moment almost a year ago when I was driving home from work and this song by Tenth Avenue North was playing. I remember I turned a corner, almost home, singing along to this verse:

So make me poor if that’s the price for freedom–

And very quietly I heard God ask, Do you mean that?

What?

Do you mean that? Would you be poor if it meant freedom? If it was what I wanted?

How poor?

Very. You would have to rely on Me.

All of this happened quickly—so quickly—while I made that turn, and I remembered thinking that if I told God “No,” I would never be able to listen to this song again.

But deep inside I knew my answer was “Yes.”

Yes, I mean that.

Be careful what you sing along with in the car.

Heirlooms & Seals

Now you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring;

for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.

Esther 8:8

Some time ago, my grandfather gave me a ring.

My grandfather collects things: books, pocket knifes, old tools—he is a caregiver to items of the recent past. One day, he opened a small and worn cardboard box, rooted around in it, and produced a ring.

“Emily, this ring is over a hundred years old,” he said. “It was my mother’s ring.”

And he entrusted it to me. Continue reading

And ain’t I a woman?

AIN’T I A WOMAN?

by Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio 

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

World-Losers & World-Forsakers

Ode

Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

 

We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams;

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

And sitting by desolate streams;

World-losers and world-forsakers

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world forever, it seams.

 

With wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world’s great cities,

And out of a fabulous story

We fashion an empire’s glory;

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three, with a new song’s measure,

Can trample a kingdom down.

 

We in the ages lying

In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

And Babel itself in our mirth;

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

To the old of the new world’s worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,

Or one that is coming to birth.

 

A breath of our inspiration

Is the life of a each generation;

A wondrous thing of our dreaming,

Unearthly, impossible seeming—

The soldier, the king, and the peasant,

Are working together in one,

Till our dream shall become their Present,

And their work in the world be done.

 

They had no vision amazing

Of the goodly house they are raising,

They had no divine foreshadowing

Of the land to which they are going;

But on one man’s soul it hath broken,

A light that doth not depart, 

And his look, or a word he hath spoken,

Wrought flame in another man’s heart.

 

And, therefore, to-day is thrilling

With a past day’s late fulfilling;

And the multitudes are enlisted

In the faith that their fathers resisted;

And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,

Are bringing to pass as they may

In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,

The dream that was scorned yesterday.

 

But we, with our dreaming and singing,

Ceaseless and sorrows we!

The glory about us clinging

Of the glorious futures we see,

Our souls with high music ringing—

O men, it must ever be—

That we dwell in our dreaming and singing

A little apart from ye.

 

For we are afar with the dawning.

And the suns that are not yet high:

And out of the infinite mourning,

Intrepid, you hear us cry—

How, spite of your human scorning,

Once more God’s future draws nigh,

And already goes forth the warning.

That ye of the past must die.

 

Great hail! we cry to the corners

From the dazzling, unknown shore,

Bring us hither your sun and you summers,

And renew our world as of yore:

You shall teach us your song’s new numbers,

And things that we dreamed not before;

Yes, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers

And a singer who sings no more.