Sunday, November 13, 2016

Liturgy of Joyous Rebellion: A Rite For Rededication to the Cause

Some of you asked that I post this small speech and renunciation rite that members of The People's Lobby, Reclaim Chicago, and friends participated in yesterday at our Second Saturday meeting. Here it is, more or less. First the speech, then the rite. If liturgy is your thing, you might notice that the renunciation format is similar to renunciations at baptisms. This stuff's written from my own faith language and perspective. I hope it's pretty easily translatable to yours. Peace and Liberation, people. -tom 

Jesus put before them a parable: “The Reign of Justice and Love is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in a field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)

Second Saturday, 11/12/2016 
He told them another parable: “The Reign of Justice and Love is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (Matthew 13:33)

[Jesus said to them another time]: 
Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

You cannot serve both God and Mammon, God and money God and wealth. 

One of my favorite theologians, Hugo Assmann, who just died a few years ago, used to say something like this. 

He said that the God of the Bible [on God’s better days, right?]
The God of the bible is a God of love, 
and as a God of love,  
God is a God who is willing even to sacrifice God’s self, 
if that would mean that all people could be lifted,  that all people could be raised up, healed, resurrected. (Right?)

The God of the Bible is a God who sacrifices God’s self 
in order that all people might arise. 

The god called Mammon, on the other hand, the god of wealth, of money of greed, 
the god called Mammon is also a god who’ll definitely give you blessings. 

A nice car, a big home in the ‘burbs. Weapons and fences, anything you need to feel good, to feel important, to feel safe. 

All kinds of big and shiny things. 

But the god called Mammon, money, wealth, also demands one thing. 

Mammon will give you all kinds of blessings. 

But god called Mammon, money, wealth, Greed…

the god called Mammon, wealth always demands human sacrifice. 


Friends, today we stand sacrificed. 

Our sisters and brothers, our family in humanity, those of us who are poor, people of color, women, members of the Islamic faith, native peoples everywhere, immigrants—undocumented or not… 
All who choose love over fear… and commit themselves to liberation and Love,

today we stand sacrificed. 

We’ve taken a beating. 


And rest assured someone is profiting from it. 


But we know better. 

We know better than to hide, in our own in fear. We know better than to isolate. To run off with our tail between our legs, right? 

We know better than to “not talk back anymore” because 
“this is what happens when you talk back.” You get a beating. “It’s best to take it,” right?

No. We know better than that. 

We know that we must and we will fight back. 

And we know

that we’re not gonna do it alone. 

And we know that we’re gonna do it with power and with unity and with Love. 

We know that our strength is in our unity, 
that our values are grounded in care for the people around us 
and grounded in love for the planet that makes life possible in the first place. 



we have a secret.


We know that when we gather around our shared oppression, 

that we find healing, that we find community, and that we find solidarity.

Gathered around our shared oppression, we find a passion to fight and a desire to win, 
to topple bullies and tear down walls that separate—
a passion that only the scarred can muster. 

Gathered around our shared oppression we have a flame that never goes out. 

A Spirit of Joyous Rebellion that unites us in creating a world where scars and human sacrifice don’t exist anymore. 

And so gathered around our scars again today, we, summon this Spirit. 

The Spirit of Joyous Rebellion. 


You’re here because you care, you have cared, and you’re gonna care tomorrow and far well beyond the next four years. 

And so today, as we begin this work again, as we do each and every day, 

I invite you to do something kind of special. 

Today I want to invite you to recommit your lives to our collective liberation. 

Because gathered around our shared oppression, gathered around our scars, we will rise again, we will Resurrect, we will not stand to be sacrificed, but, indeed, we will be the little bit of yeast that leavens the whole loaf.

We will be the small seed that grows up and multiplies and that takes over the whole field and in it the birds of the air can make nests… 

We will be a force of Love that will overcome the death-dealing ways of Trump and his regime, a force of love that will overcome the thorns that would threaten to choke us. 

Amen? Amen. 
Then I invite you to join me in a communal renunciation: 

A Liturgy of Joyous Rebellion : A Rite For Rededication to the Cause

Family in the Struggle, Gathered together in the Spirit of Joyous Rebellion, 
I invite you to confess your commitment to the Liberation of all people and the restoration of the planet; and to renounce all obstacles that stand in the way. 

Do you renounce greed, the love of wealth, and all of capitalisms’s empty promises? 
(If so, please say “WE RENOUNCE THEM!”)

Do you renounce oppression, structural and internal, and all the forces that keep us from living liberated lives, dedicated to the liberation of all? 

Do you renounce the fear that dwells in you, all its insecurities—those things that draw you away from confronting your own oppression, loving your own neighbor, and building power for the sake of a liberated world? 

Do you renounce all answers to the cry of the oppressed which would belittle and chastise “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” knowing that when we’ve been stripped of our boots, the answer is never isolated, individual acts, but structural, communal, and organized change; and knowing that, together, we are never alone? 

Do you renounce all ideologies that would claim that some deserve to thrive while others based on culture, class, creed, or nation of origin deserve a prison or a grave, a deportation or a desert wall?

Do you renounce the destruction of the earth and it’s resources, the devaluation of nature, and the denial of climate change, as the planet is sacrificed for human greed, leading to pending and unimaginable calamity? 

Do you renounce racism and nationalism?

Do you renounce sexism and ablism?

Do you renounce xenophobia and elitism?

Do you renounce homophobia and classism and religious sectarianism? 

Do you renounce the structural manifestations of all these things (promising to fight them within and all around us)?

Do you renounce any society or economy structured around the purpose of benefiting a few, while the many at the bottom are sacrificed for a bottom line? 

Do you renounce all these things? 

With all your heart soul strength and mind?

While we have your back and you have ours? 

As we march toward liberation and life for all of Creation? 

Do you renounce them? 

Do you renounce them? 

Do you renounce them? 

Do you renounce them? 

Then in the Spirit of Joyous Rebellion, and in the presence of one another, may we work together as a collective to fight oppression in all its forms, to build power with each other in configurations and coalitions yet unimagined. May we fight together, for one another, never alone. May we end oppression, empower the powerless, and lift the lowly in Love and so that together we might tear the tyrants from their thrones, 

and create a world where the earth is alive, and all people are able to eat. 


Sung: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

No comments:

Post a Comment