Litany of Social Confession

I wrote this litany in the aftermath of Charlottesville, reflecting on how we can respond, instead of freeze, in a political and social climate which is so continually violent to people on the margins. It is meant to be read collectively, acknowledging that people in diverse groups hold various privileges and marginalized identities. I hope that the church will join in with the many people already calling for justice and living in ways that bring about a more just world.

ALL:

It is easy to turn away,
To place responsibility elsewhere,
To believe that we are the “good ones.”

We acknowledge our own prejudices:

We confess our racism, which we can hide from ourselves and others with political correctness.
We confess our homophobia, our discomfort with different manifestations of love.
We confess our ableism, our assumptions of how bodies and minds “should be.”
We confess our transphobia, the things we assume about gender which cause pain and threaten lives.
We confess that we make judgements based on gender and femininity, on financial assets, on appearances, on languages.

We confess the times we’ve felt superior because our lives were going a certain way.
We acknowledge the ache of when we’ve felt inferior.

Our thoughts and actions do not exist in a bubble—
They have been shaped by the systems in which we’ve grown up.
We do not need to hide in shame from ourselves.

Instead, we commit to unlearning harmful things we have learned, to challenging evil which wounds, to teaching new ways of being which can heal our world, and to acknowledging the beauty and life-affirming things around us.

ONE:

Jesus modeled for us a way of radical justice and taught us to see the humanity of others and ourselves. Know that your life has value and that you are loved.


Today’s song is If Jesus is come. The words can be found here, and a recording of the tune here (the first two-and-a-half minutes of video).

If Jesus is come, let warfare be ended.
If Jesus is come, let violence cease.
If Jesus is come, let earth begin healing,
for he is Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

 

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This Eventide

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At sunset, when the light fades red
And crimson blushes ‘cross the sky
I linger ‘tween the mossy trees
As loons call out their lullabies

Echoes haunting through the fog
O’er gleaming, golden, silent glass
Crackling leaves and snapping twig
As mother deer and fawn creep past

Tangerine and turquoise fade
To gath’ring mist and glitt’ring coal
Diamond prisms scattered lending
Wonder to my pensive soul

Twinkling laughter breaks the night
As paddle stroke arcs silver spray
Silent ripples warp the glass
Wood–hewn canoe glides o’er the bay

Roughened rock my makeshift bed
I gaze up to that endless sea
Where moonlight guides the ships of dreams
The universe sings back to me

Croaking frogs and cricket’s trill
Join whippoorwill and flautist thrush
In nature’s reverent vesper hymns
Hooting, rustling, sighing, hush

Snapping spark of piney fire
Orange stars rising in the night
Dancing flame and glowing heat
Embers dying, fading light

The silence of this peaceful hour
Pierced only by hushed evening sounds
Breathes forth a prayer of love content
This eventide where joy abounds.

A Prayer for Community

God, we pray for a hurting world; a hurting people.

We are so diverse
With many different identities and attractions
All created and loved by You.

We pray first for ourselves:
When misinformed prejudice
Threatens to destroy our love for ourselves
And blinds us to Your love,
When our shame and doubt overpower us,
When we are injured by the judgement of others
Or of ourselves,
Help us feel Your comfort, peace, and joy.
Help us love ourselves as You do, without judgement.
Help us find community
Where we can be supported and offer support to others.

(Silence)

We pray for the LGBTQ+ community:
When we experience condemnation
Or feel like our identities and gifts are not valued,
Strengthen us to stand secure in who we are.
Give us opportunities to serve and lead.
Guide us as we support each other.
Let our voices be heard,
So that one day there will be no need
For separate communities
Because all are welcome in the body of Christ.

(Silence)

We pray for the church:
We confess we have used Your name in the name of hatred.
We have not always shown love,
Or have failed to reach the needs of a hurting people.
Work in and through Your church to bring us to a place
Of love and understanding with our friends in Christ,
Remembering that we may not all agree,
But that we can all reflect your uninhibited love.

(Silence)

As we learn and grow in community
And as individuals,
Fill us with Your Spirit,
Leave us open to Your guidance,
And embrace us with Your grace
As we live love to those in pain
So that all may be renewed and find healing in Your Love.

I am a queer Christian who is still struggling with internalized shame to come to a point where I can love myself. My prayer focuses on love, and the importance of community to support LGBTQ+ persons in their journeys. I wanted to have space to pray for ourselves as individuals, because the journey of self-acceptance is often difficult for LGBTQ+ folks, and people who are not LGBTQ+ usually have their own things they struggle to accept about themselves. A supportive community is so important in this process, and while it is fantastic to have groups where we can be surrounded by others who understand, I long for a day when society reaches a point where all types of relationships (and singleness!) are celebrated, so that no one feels “abnormal” or is ostracised. This prayer could be used in a group where LGBTQ+ and allies are present, perhaps in a service of healing and reconciliation. It expresses longing, confession, and hope for a present and future with more love.