So That None Are Rejected
A litany of lament, confession, and commitment to our brothers and sisters who are sexual minorities
Leader: All loving God, Creator who has always seen the beauty of all persons, all made in your likeness, and pronounced them very good… humbly and with grief for the pain we have caused people with special gender and sexual identities, we name the wrongs we have committed, and the good we have failed to do.
All: We recognize that we have sown seeds of separation and isolation on the backs of persons you have declared beautiful. The seeds have borne a terrible and destructive harvest.
Sung*: 1) All voices: (Somber tone)
On their backs we plowed the furrows,
On their backs we sowed the seed,
On their backs grew fear and sorrow,
On their backs grew want and need.
See their hands are bound together,
See their feet are joined as well,
Bound up hearts can do no dancing,
Closets holding them in hell.**
Leader: Fear and sorrow filled their hearts and their lives; bound as they were, life too often became filled with paralyzing fear, and for some, life became synonymous with death, and death wishes.
All: We recognize that we, the church, have blood on our hands for the deaths we have caused, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, and we humbly confess our participation in failing to provide life and breath to all.
Sung: 2) All voices: (Somber tone)
In the shadows of the dungeon,
In the dampness of their cave,
There is darkness all around them
Darkness as within a grave.
Can we see their bleeding furrows,
Can we cut the ropes of death,
Can we help them fill their lungs now,
Can we help them take a breath?
Leader: God all merciful and all loving, you deluge us with love and mercy whether we deserve it or not. In failing to love and care for all persons regardless of the differences that make us unique, we too often have been blind and deaf to your prompting, and have failed to show mercy.
All: But you, O God, have shown us mercy, when we showed no mercy; you have loved us when we failed to love, and even now as we come to you confessing, you still call out to us to hear your voice of compassion and to know freedom to love as you love us.
Sung: 3) All voices: (Less heavy)
Lo a voice calls out entreating,
Begs us listen, set them free,
Free of doubt, and fears that blind us,
Free to hope, and free to see.
(Lighter voices:) “This is what you’re missing, children,
This is what you’re searching for,
(Heavier voices:) Truth and mercy kissing, parents,
This is peace outside your door.”
Leader: Yes, God has offered us peace for our fears, mercy for our separation, and in Christ has invited us to see Truth and Mercy passionately kissing outside our door.
All: As we contemplate your dwelling among us, O God, may we now become the living Christ who still builds a home within and all around us, so that none are alone, none are cut off, none are used, abused, or rejected. Heal those we have harmed, and heal us too.
Sung: 4) Solo: (Hopefully)
“Long ago before you knew me,
Long ago I made my home
In the garden of all longing
For too many left alone.
I was not the one who marked them,
Planted seeds with damning plow,
Rather I am here to heal them,
Lift the shame that makes them cower.”
Leader: Having received mercy, and peace, we commit ourselves to be welcoming and loving, to see others through the eyes of Christ, and in the same manner that Christ demonstrated, invite all to the table God has spread.
All: For your love and mercy, O God, we give thanks. For your compassion and welcoming heart demonstrated so freely in Jesus, we now commit ourselves to love and care for all persons, and to proclaim the wholeness that we know to be true.
Sung: 5) All voices: (Joyfully)
May we know that all are welcome,
As God’s banquet feast is spread,
For all people who would gather
Christ invites to share God’s bread.
As we gather at the table
Joined as one in heart and soul,
Let no stranger be a stranger
All are loved and all are whole.
All: Now, may the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of God’s Spirit, sustain and keep us ever more true to our words, and true to God our Creator, to each other, and to all people. AMEN.
*Sung parts are from the poem Share My Bread. Song may be sung either congregationally, or with a small group of high and low voices to the tune of “Comfort, Comfort O My People” –HWB 176/Geneva 42. If possible use cello accompaniment throughout but especially for the first two and final stanzas. Moods/voices as indicated.
This litany was written by Oriented to Love alum Jonathan Beachy, with loving counsel from many persons. Although he spent most of his working years relating to special needs children, prison inmates, and indigenous persons, Beachy has more recently become acutely aware of how tragically the church has treated (and failed to receive) those with special sexual and gender identities. This litany is a response to that tragedy and is offered in the hope of healing, both for those who have been harmed and for those who have harmed them.