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Friday, March 27, 2009

A Litany for Healing Homophobia

Note: This litany was written by a clergy colleague of mine, Joseph Harmon, one of the few African-American clergy I know to be gay who is also able to be out and open about his sexuality.

Joseph is also an attorney. He has been enormously helpful in the Diocese of Newark regarding civil unions. Indeed, he now chairs the Task Force on Civil Unions. He's also the rector of Church of the Incarnation, Jersey City.

Louie Crew posted this on HOB/D as well as our diocesan listserv. I wasn't going to post it here, but the Trolls on Viagra picked it up, of course, and hung it up on their web site for target practice. Can you imagine mocking someone's prayer? How low do you have to go, exactly, to do that?

Never mind. Joseph has given permission to reproduce the litany freely, with attribution. So, here you go . . .


A Litany for Healing Homophobia


Celebrant
: Sometimes it is too easy for us to forget the oppression that we create when we fail to recognize those who may be different from us as our sisters and brothers. Today, let us pray that each of us individually, our church, our community and our world, may be healed of homophobia's oppression so that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people may live with dignity and respect, in safety and wholeness. May we remember and not forget God's call to reconciliation.

Leader: O God, when we pray, help us to remember. Help us to remember those we would rather not remember, those we would rather not see, those we would rather not love, and those we would rather not accept.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That you created us in your image and that all that you created is good.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That you call us to be sisters and brothers of Christ and of one another.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader
: That we have not readily welcomed all our sisters and brothers, especially
those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: When we hear our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender sisters and brothers called foul names that we should speak up to stop such abuse.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader
: When we hear of people brutalized and murdered because others perceive them to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender that they are children of God, worthy of dignity and respect.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That there are still countries around the globe where Gay and Lesbian people
receive the death penalty just for being Gay and Lesbian.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That millions of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people are still closeted within faith communities that do not treat them with value, respect and acceptance.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That every year, Lesbian and Gay-friendly churches are still targets of vandalism and hate crimes based on homophobia.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That homophobia contributes to higher rates of suicide in Lesbian and Gay teens, higher rates of Lesbian and Gay homelessness, lower wages for Lesbians, and employment and housing difficulties for Lesbian and Gay people.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader
: That homophobia distorts the spiritual message of God's love for all people.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That we can do something to end homophobia by opening our hearts and minds to see Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people as our sisters and brothers.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: That we can participate in healing our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities and churches of homophobia by creating a space where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people may find safety, respect and acceptance.
People: Help us to remember, O God.

Leader: And now, aloud or silently in our hearts, let us name our own needs and concerns and those needs and concerns, those individuals and groups, who have asked our prayers (the congregation is encouraged to speak their prayers and intentions at this time).

Celebrant: Gracious and loving God, who hates nothing that you create and desires that all should come to know your love: help us to remember the things that we have heard this day, the things that your Holy Spirit teaches us, and those things that we know to be right and just. Make us ambassadors of your reconciling goodness as we work to heal the oppression of homophobia and the scars it has inflicted upon so many individuals and families, institutions and communities. Empower us to reach out in love to all people, including our sisters and brothers that are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. We ask this through Jesus the Christ, who himself wasdespised and rejected and by whose wounds we are healed.

AMEN.

Copyright © 2009 by the Rev'd Joseph A. Harmon,
Pastor, Church of the Incarnation, Jersey City, NJ.
Permission freely granted for liturgical use, with attribution.

7 comments:

Jim said...

I thought it was beautiful when I read it on Louie's site. I am often horrified by the smug mocking tone of those who allege they are the only true disciples. "They have their reward."

FWIW
jimB

Suzer said...

I once sat in church (not the one I currently attend) and watched while two congregation members sat and snickered over a heartfelt prayer request that was being offered by a woman in grief. I was, to say the least, dismayed. One of the snickerers was at that time the church administrator. What a sad commentary on our brokenness as Christians and as human beings in general.

I think the litany is beautiful. It is unfortunate that those who might most need to hear and by moved by it often have their hearts too hardened to let in the Light. My prayers are with them, whether the prayers are accepted or not.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Just when I think they've sunk to their lowest point, they astound me like this. And you're right, Suzer, it doesn't diminish by one iota the power of the prayer.

Riley said...

I needed this today more than you can know. It is beautiful and heartfelt. I printed this so that
I will have it as a reminder of
God's unconditional Love.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm glad it helped, Riley.

VTcrone said...

Elizabeth-
Would you please e-mail me the Litany. I want to e-mail a copy to Gov. Jim Douglas of VT. A bill for civil marriage passed overwhelmingly in VT's Senate and will probably pass in the House but the Gov. has said he will veto it because he believes that civil unions are enough. (I've got 14 adult family members, including myself, who live in VT, who are Democrats and Republicans but we all agree that the bill should pass. My cousin,who is the sister and daughter of some of the my family is gay and lives in Alaska with her partner.)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

VT Crone: Done.