June 2021 WATERritual

Grateful, Proud, and Connected for Pride Month

By Diann L. Neu

Listen to the audio of our June 2021 WATERritual here.

Gracious and Loving God of Many Names,

we praise you for creating LGBTQIA+ people.

 

Preparation

Gather a rainbow flag and ribbons, bread, and wine/juice; place them on a table covered with a rainbow cloth if you wish.

Call to Gather

Welcome to our Pride and Equality Month Liturgy: Grateful, Proud, and Connected! This month we recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual people, and allies have on local, national, and international history. Remember the White House, along with many other prominent buildings and monuments, lit up in rainbow colors in 2015 to celebrate marriage equality!

We gather not simply to celebrate the rights and achievements of same-sex-loving people and especially not to capitulate to corporate interests that simply see our rights as a way to expand their markets.

We gather to rejoice that LGBTQIA+ people and allies are working on and bringing together many struggles for justice—especially for immigrants’ rights, against racism, in support of Muslims, to protect the environment, and many more. As we focus tonight on the same-sex love this month honors, we are grateful, proud, and connected.

Song

“Singing for Our Lives” by Holly Near, Singer in the Storm (© 1990) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=johabhyURIw

We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x)
We are a land of many colors…
We are gay and straight together…
We are a peaceful, loving people…

Litany of Pride

Let us name LGBTQIA+ people who have been working for change. -Pause.- We celebrate Sappho, poet from the Isle of Lesbos, whose words inspire us.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Ruth and Naomi whose love models women’s commitment to one another.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Gertrude Stein, author and poet, whose writings have influenced generations.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Audre Lorde, womanist poet, who challenges us to expand justice struggles.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, and Edie Windsor, who started the ball rolling for marriage equality.

Proudly, we claim you.

Who else? Let us speak their names out loud in our own spaces.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate all LGBTQIA+ and straight sisters, brothers, friends, and allies, named and unnamed, known and unknown, who put their lives on the line for justice.

Proudly, we claim you.

Song

“Singing for Our Lives”

We are a land of many colors, and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x)

A Call for Solidarity

Listen to LGBTQIA+ people who call for our solidarity. Think of the ones you know. -Pause.- I am your friend. For a very long time I have been reaching out to you, listening to your dreams, talking with you about my life. I work for Black Lives Matter. I am right here with you.

You are not alone. We are with you too.

I am your co-worker. I work next to you in so many places. I am the doctor who comforted your dying mother. I teach your children. I am your therapist. I am your waitress and bus driver. I am your pastor, rabbi, cardinal, priest. I am right here with you.

You are not alone. We are with you too.

I am your colleague. I stand beside you in so many places. I am the campus minister who marched next to you as we advocated for LGBTQIA+ rights and marriage equality. I am the nun by your side at the women’s shelter where you volunteer. I am the social worker who supports your sister at the mental health center. I am the immigrant worker who meets you at the food pantry. I am right here with you.

You are not alone. We are with you too.

I am your family member. I am your neighbor. As you support my coming out, you give me courage. As you support LGBTQIA+ people and interconnected issues, you give me strength to say I am right here with you.

You are not alone. We are with you too.

Song

“I Am with You” by Kathy Sherman, CSJ, from Always with You (© 1992)

I am with you on the journey, and I will never leave you.
I am with you on the journey, always with you.

The Beatitudes of Pride © DignityUSA, 2003.

Blessed are you, lesbian, gay, queer, bi, trans, straight sister, brother, friend, ally—you are made in the image of divine love!

Blessed are you when you dare to bring the truth of who you are into loving relationship with others—you heal and strengthen the global community!

Blessed are you who challenge stereotypes and caricatures—you bring light to the world!

Blessed are you who speak out against religious hypocrisy—you help to birth justice and peace!

Blessed are you when you work for full equality and inclusion—you honor the sacredness of all people!

Blessed are you when you create new kinds of families formed by love rather than by law—you live the truth that all God’s people are one family!

Blessed are you who seek to worship in spirit and in truth, whose prayer arises from humble hearts—the Spirit of holiness will inspire and guide you!

Blessed are you who offer comfort to the dying, healing to the sick, food to the hungry, housing to the homeless, presence to the lonely, hope to the hopeless—you are the religious message our aching world so desperately needs to know!

Blessed are you, reviled and persecuted, yet persistent in faith, hope, and love! Rejoice and be proud for in you God’s love is revealed!

Reflection | Sharing

Think about what you heard in the litany, stories, and Beatitudes.

What are you thinking and feeling this Pride month?

Let us share our words of wisdom in groups of 3 or 4 for 10 minutes. Share your name, where you live, and your reflections on the question: What are you thinking and feeling this Pride month?

Prayer of Gratitude for Human Diversity

Gracious and Loving God of Many Names, we praise you for creating LGBTQIA+ people and our friends.

 

For creating all people with dignity and worth,
Gratitude!

For honoring the many ways people live and love,
Gratitude!

For living with authenticity and integrity,
Gratitude!

For working to overcome cruelty and bullying toward LGBTQIA+ children and teens in schools and communities,
Gratitude!

For building a world where all people are celebrated and loved,
Gratitude!

For celebrating sexual and gender diversity as a blessing that enriches all,
Gratitude!

For bringing people out of their closets and into the full life of religious groups, society, families, and the military,
Gratitude!

For helping us break through the heterosexism, homo-hatred, and transphobia in ourselves, our families and friends, our communities and cultures,
Gratitude!

For embracing us with your love and care,
Gratitude!

For inspiring us with dreams and holy impatience,
Gratitude!

For challenging us to believe out loud,
Gratitude!

Gracious and Loving God of Many Names, thank you for creating LGBTQIA+ people and our friends. Holy Creator, breathe new energies of kindness and love into the world. Wondrous Wisdom, renew our commitment to work for justice for all.

Sharing Eucharist

Hold your bread, drink, and food as we bless them together.

Blessed are you, Divine Love, for giving us this Pride month Eucharist of bread, drink, and food.

As we take, bless, eat, and drink, may we manifest divine love in the world.

Let us eat and drink in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Take Action

Let us put our prayers into action and act with pride. Here are some possible ways to act in solidarity.

  • Participate in Pride events.
  • Wear a rainbow ribbon in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Remember a friend or colleague who has died from a hate crime or HIV/AIDS.
  • Advocate to end discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people everywhere, particularly in the workplace, by calling on your legislators to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
  • Promote safe places for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. Start by working for safe bathrooms, https://ohr.dc.gov/page/safe-bathrooms-dc.
  • Donate to a group that works toward LGBTQIA+ equality.
  • Give your religious leader a book that will enrich her/his/their understanding of diversity.

Sending Forth

Let us go forth to act with pride.
May we be grateful, proud, and connected.
May we not rest until all stones of injustice have been rolled away.
May we always show our true colors!

Song

“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ecaYj14z3M&ab_channel=CyndiLauperVEVO

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged, oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
The darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

Show me a smile then
Don’t be unhappy
Can’t remember when
I last saw you laughing
This world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
Just call me up
‘Cause I will always be there

And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you

So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
I see your true colors
Shining through (true colors)
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful (they’re beautiful)
Like a rainbow
Oh oh oh oh oh like a rainbow

Ooh can’t remember when
I last saw you laughing
Ooh oh oh oh
This world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
Just call me up
‘Cause I will always be there

And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid (don’t be afraid)
To let them show your true colors
True colors are beautiful (you’re beautiful, oh)
Like a rainbow
Oh oh oh oh oh like a rainbow
Mmm mmm

© 2021 Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), from Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice by Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com