Thursday, October 11, 2012

[liturgy] Outing God: Prayers of Confession and Forgiveness for National Coming Out Day

One: Abram, scared, said, "Sarai's my sister, not my wife."
Many: We've evaded.
One: Naomi, bitter, told Ruth, "Marry a man, it's easier."
Many: We've bearded ourselves.
One: Jonah, angry, abandoned God's calling and tried to live a different life.
Many: We've run away.
One: Peter, terrified, denied he knew Jesus.
Many: We've lied.
One: Like the saints throughout the ages, we've tried to hide,
Many: and in hiding ourselves, we've closeted YOU.
One: Scared of your truth, we've hidden in lies. We deny the lives you gave us and the ways you made us. We stay in the closet. We live double lives. We are cautious and careful. We avoid the truth. We internalize shame. We hate the children you love.
Many: Forgive us.

One: Beloved, I share with you good news. The God who made you has been closeted too, by false prophets and idolaters who worship law instead of God. Hear this truth: God is wildly in love with you and made you exactly as you are, a precious child, a beloved friend, a cherished partner in the work of re-creating the world.

God will use you to give birth to nations and beget kings. Through you God proclaims forgiveness to sinners and Good News to all peoples. God is hidden in your heart and revealed in your life. God lurks in your shadows, whispering hope. God sleeps in your secrets, dreaming of truth.

God knows your true name, your passions, your fears. God loves you and wants to share you with the whole world.

Many: God, we love you, and want to share you with the whole world.

One: Some name you as Father,
Many: and we know you as our strong Mother and tender Daddy, as a wise Grandmother who gentles her grandbaby and as an ecstatic new Parent who rejoices at every marvelous fingernail of hir new child.
One: Some name you as a human rabbi,
Many: and we know you as the Child of God, the eternally creating Word who took flesh for our sake and delighted to be vulnerable with us. We know you as Wisdom, handmaiden of the Most High, who lived and taught among us.
One: Some name you as divine, infallible, impassible
Many: and we know you as one of us, exhausted by travel and hungry for bread, angry and sad, sarcastic and kind, bound by old prejudices and challenged by God, a mortal sinner like us who saved us forever from sin and death.
One: Some say you are dead.
Many: We know that You live.
One: Some claim to understand you.
Many: We love you in a paradox.
One: Some say that you hate us,
Many: and we know that's not true.
One: Some think your work is finished,
Many: and we receive your challenge, acknowledge your forgiveness, accept your grace, and name you as our own, our Creator, our Savior, our Comfort.

One: Beloved, will you come out?
Many: With God as our guide, we will search ourselves, and with God as our companion, we will live with integrity. We will reclaim the pieces of ourselves that we've forgotten and abandoned, rejected and denied, loving ourselves as God loves us.

One: Beloved, will you out God?
Many: When evil is done in God's name, we will do good more boldly. Where injustice dwells in God's church, we will exorcise it. We will reclaim the sacred book that's been turned into a weapon. We will reclaim the sacred house that's become a den of thieves. We will reclaim the name of God that's been used to instill fear and to separate God's children from each other. We will reclaim the name Christian and live in the world as little Christs, sharing gentle justice and fierce love.

One: Go, then, and bring God out with you into the world.
Many: We go in peace; thanks be to God.