Friday, November 28, 2008

some liturgies. please use them freely. written december 2007.

I. Confessions of Sin

In Light of Liberation as Forgiveness, Forgiveness as Liberation
a. L: Most Merciful and Life-Giving God,
C1: As we come before you, we recognize Sin breathing heavily both upon us,
and upon our world—
C2: Sin which oppresses, dehumanizes,
C1: humiliates and discriminates;
C2: Sin that creates borders and erects walls:
C1: between us and You;
C2: between humans and other humans;
C1: between nation and nation; tribe and tribe;
C2: and between all of us and your good Creation.
C1: We confess that we live always in bondage to this Sin.
C2: We confess we are in bondage to Sin.
C1: And we ask for your help.
C2: Free us from Sin’s grip on our lives.
C1: Give us freedom from all that would oppress us.
C2: Give us freedom from ways of life that cause us to participate in
oppressive systems and structures,
C2: in the dehumanization and the devaluation of our sisters and our
C1: Show us a more perfect way.
C2: Be our Way.
C1: Guide us toward Truth and Life.
All: Forgive us God. Break the bonds of Sin. Set us free. Amen.

L: In his life, death, and resurrection, Christ’s message was one of healing, liberation, justice, forgiveness, and love. As a baptized member of the body of Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I therefore declare to all you the forgiveness of all your sins. In the words of Jesus, “You have been healed.” “Go, then, and do likewise.”
All: Amen!

In Light of the Passion Narrative the Song of Mary, Lazarus, and “the Body of Christ,” suggested reading for holy week:
b. L: O God, at the hands of an oppressive Empire, your Son was nailed to a cross. For speaking truth and justice, mercy and love, liberation for the poor, and freedom for the captives, they stripped him naked and nailed him to a tree.
C1: We approach you now, O God, as your people—as your Body.
C2: We are bloodied and beaten.
C1: We are lacking in clothing and shelter, in justice and peace.
C2: We have no crown of thorns.
C1: But those with crowns continue to spit on us. They cause us to bleed.
C2: They take what we have. They cast lots. They divide our possessions
among themselves.
C1: They do not offer us wine or myrrh to drink.
C2: But they do offer us opiates:
C1: alcoholism and television,
C2: consumerism and crack-cocaine,
C1: false religions and politicians,
C2: false promises and pearly gates,
C1: anything they can think of to keep us on the cross,
C2: So that they might sit high upon the highest thrones,
C1: In high-rises and in private jets.
C2: And we have often given in—sold out to the easy route,
C1: faltered in keeping to the way.
C2: We have venerated these “weapons of mass distraction,”
C1: We have ceased to believe that on any day “we will be with you in
C2: Renew in us a vision, God.
C1: Lift the lowly and exalt the humbled,
C2: Fill the hungry and bring your victory.
C1: We approach you, O God, as your people—as your Body.
C2: We are bloodied and beaten.
C1: We wear no crown of thorns.
C2: How long, O Lord, must we cry?
C1: But we believe in the resurrection of the Body.
C2: And we believe in the life everlasting.
C1: Raise us up, God. Give us life.
C2: Give us courage to press through the murdering of our Empires.
C1: Give us the vision that leads to Salvation.
C2: God brings down the powerful.
C1: God lifts up the lowly.
C2: We believe in the resurrection of the body.
C1: With God’s help, as God’s body, we are resurrected.
C2: Raise us, O God!
C1: Resurrect your Body! Raise us, O God!
C2: We arise.
C1: We arise.
All: We arise.
All: Amen.

L: Jesus offered us an alternative model for life that, in his time, was fundamentally at odds with the Roman Empire. He called it the Kingdom of God—a kingdom represented by radical solidarity, equality, forgiveness, mercy, and love. God, as our Liberator and Redeemer calls none of us to suffer at the hands of injustice and, in fact, like the widow in the face of the unjust judge (Luke 18), Christ calls us to confront the unjust and all insensible authorities and institutions of our day, and to care for those who are oppressed and who are poor. May the Spirit of God empower us to rise toward such a vision, to seek such a high level of humanity, and to walk always with our sisters and brothers along the way. In the name of the Crucified and Resurrected God,
All: Amen.

In light of the privileged position many folks in the ELCA find themselves in (for use in a mostly homogenous congregation!):
c. L: Most Merciful God,
C1: You command us always to care for the vulnerable, to attend to the
weak, to serve the poor,
C2: to love and nurture the outcast, the downtrodden, the orphans, lepers,
and widows of our day.
C1: Though we often hear your command to love our neighbor—it is familiar
To our hearts and our ears—we continue to often live our lives,
individually and in community, in ways that serve, love, and help no
one but ourselves.
C2: We look at racism and do not see it. We witness sexism but do not
acknowledge it.
C1: We buy our dogs gourmet dog-food, but when we see the poor, like
Lazarus, we offer not a crumb (Luke 16).
C2: We profit from the plight of the poor.
C1: We pawn off unwanted jobs—onto the undocumented and those with
criminal records.
C2: They are forced to work for unjust wages in unsafe conditions, so that we
can wear ten-, fifteen-, twenty-dollar jeans.
C1: In the same breath we curse them.
C2: We label them “illegal.”
C1: We call them “alien.”
C2: We have said “They deserve it.”
C1: We forget that it is the so-called aliens that the prophets called us to care
for, to welcome and feed,
C2: as they called us to visit in prison, and set captives free (Isaiah 58:6).
C1: In this way, we have most grievously sinned.
C2: We have not welcomed the stranger or cared for the vulnerable.
C1: We have not loved you with our whole heart because we have not loved
our neighbors as ourselves.
C2: Give us, we pray, the forgiveness that leads to repentance, O God.
C1: Transform our lives. Turn us around.
C2: Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the neighbors that surround us.
C1: Teach us to truly live and love in community.
C2: With our human family.
All: With you, our Living God. Create us anew,
All: Amen.

For General Use, a “milder” confession…
d. L: We come before the altar of our God, who is ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Nehemiah 9:17)
L: Holy God...
C: we live in a fallen world, surrounded and suffering from Sin. We approach you humbly, asking for healing and forgiveness, knowing that, by our own decisions--by our own actions and failures to act--we have made both hurting and sin present in our own lives and in the lives of others. We have failed to love you and our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. We have often turned away from you to follow other "gods."
Empower us to Love you with our whole being. Give us strength to love our neighbors as our self. Plant in us the seeds of faith. Cause us to grow in your liberating Spirit, that we may do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you, our God. (Micah 6:8)
L: In God’s mercy, God has removed the shackles of Sin, and has freed us from the powers of death to love both God and Creation through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. As Children of God’s promise, receive, now, the entire forgiveness of all your Sin, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen
As an affirmation of bodies, in light of The Sacred Selves of Adolescent Girls.
Psalm 139:14-17 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! (NRSV)

L: Shout with joy to your loving and living God
C: I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Who formed you from the beautiful dust of the earth
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
The black dust and brown dust, the sands of the desert and salt of the seas
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Who sees your beauty from infinite angles
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Who sees your body, mind, spirit, whole
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
And says, “This, my child, is very good!”
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
All shapes, sizes and shades,
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Eyes and nose, lips and hair,
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Thoughts, dreams, hopes and cares
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Your body is a glorious temple,
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
A house, a home, for the living God
I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
Like a sweater knitted from the most precious cloth
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
A quilt, patched and pieced with the specialist of memories
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Children of God, you are beautiful!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Sisters and brothers, you are beautiful!!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Friends and family, you are beautiful!!!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Litany II

God you created us female and male. You created us human. You have called us good.
You love us and have loved us with a love that surpasses all we could ever comprehend.
As a supreme act of solidarity and love, you dwelt among us, fully human, Emmanuel, fully God. In the same way, dwelling among us now, you call us to humanity, alive and full.

But there are those who do not see us as you see us, whose eyes and ears have been corrupted by greed and power.
They see us as commodities, as consumers, and as tools for capitol gain. They see us as a number, a market, a statistic, a pawn for their games.
They see us as objects—prey to be hunted, land to be conquered, prizes and trophies to be fought for and won—objects for conquest and pleasure, amusement park rides…They see us as toys for lust.

But we are humans created to love.

The prophets declared that at your coming, O God, the valleys would be lifted and the mountains removed (Luke 3:5). Instill repentance and change in the hearts of the powerful, who would stand, high and proud above us. Lift up the lowly and exalt the humble, poor, hungry, and hated (Luke 6:20-). Destroy the barriers that separate human from human, beloved of God from beloved of God.

Unstop our ears and open our eyes that we may live in accord with your ways, as citizens of your nation, as participants in your economic order. Let us not be defined by the dominator ways of our present evil age (Galatians 1:4), but live as children of a new age, in the light of Christ, the life-giving and liberating holy one of God.


Litany III (Might also be used as a Eucharistic Prayer)

In light of those still Invisible people, and the danger of revolution.
Deuteronomy 10:17-22 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the aliens, providing them food and clothing. 19 You shall also love the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the LORD your God; God alone you shall worship; to God you shall hold fast, and by God’s name you shall swear. 21 God is your praise; God is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. 22 Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven (My edited version of the NRSV).

God of Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca, our scriptures tell us that at the creation of all that is, all was brought forth and given name (Genesis 2:19). You were pleased from the dawn of time, to knit us in the womb, and to call us lovingly by name. You named yourself “I am,” and “I live,” for Moses when he went to confront the deadly Oppressor in Egypt (Exodus 3:14), and you were called Emmanuel as you, in the humanity of Jesus, were born, lived, died, and were resurrected among us. You named the apostles and you named the mission of the church.

Yet there are many among us, who live and who work, who are born, exist, and who pass through the trials and tribulations of life today, yet remain unnamed, without inscription on stone or cross when they die.

These people clean our court rooms and our classrooms. They serve the powerful, and provide food for we who consume. But by classrooms and courtrooms, by the powerful, and by us, they remain unnamed and unseen.

Many of the first settlers in what has become the United States immigrated here to escape religious persecution. After their arrival, many became persecutors. They came to escape tyrannies, and, at the success of such escapes, they became tyrants themselves.

Some lead a revolution to overthrow the colonization of a great Empire, holding on to an ideology: “by the people, for the people.” They called “all men equal,” crying “No King but King Jesus!” while living as if slaves weren’t men and if women were not the equals to their male counter-parts. They gave Natives a status below both humans and slaves. They colonized and raped their land, dividing it in to “states.”

However, some of our foremothers and forefathers, our fathers and mothers, fought the good fight, witnessed or participated in the Emancipation Proclamation, and participated in civil rights and other liberative movements.

As we continue to struggle against all of the racism, sexism, classism, and heteronormativity that still permeates to the core the experiences of everyday life, may our eyes continue to be opened to the invisible, the marginal, the vulnerable, and the unnamed. May we not become that which we fight. May our revolution lead always to further revolution, our reformation to more reformation. May our movement never become establishment, and our dynamic never become static. May we always give ourselves fully to the work of the God, knowing that, in God, our labor is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).


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