A group of us worked together to fashion an inclusive, non conformist act of communion with space and time to remember those whose lives have been lost this year as part of Transgender Day of Remembrance 2016 for Novembers Two 23 meeting.
*Various bits came from various places, some things were tweaked, some things added to and somethings written especially*
Gather us in,
the shunned and the side-lined, the rejected and neglected, the barely accepted who long for the welcome found at your feast.
Gather us in,
the lost and the lonely, the broken and breaking, the tired and the aching who long for the nourishment found at your feast.
Gather us in,
the done and the doubting, the wishing and wondering, the puzzled and pondering who long for the company found at your feast.
Gather us in,
the proud and pretentious, the sure and superior, the never inferior, who long for the levelling found at your feast.
Gather us in,
the bright and the bustling, the stirrers, the shakers, the kind laughter makers who long for the deeper joys found at your feast.
Gather us in,
from corner or limelight, from mansion or campsite, from fears and obsession, from tears and depression, from untold excesses, from treasured successes, to meet, to eat, be given a seat, be joined to the vine, be offered new wine, become like the least, be found at the feast.
Gather us in!
This is the table, not of the Church, but of the Lord.
It is to be made ready for those who love him and who want to love him more.
So, come, If you have much faith and if you have little, if you have been here often and if you have not been for a long time, if you have tried to follow and if you have failed.
Come, not because it is I who invite you: it is our Lord. It is his will that those who want him should meet him here.
On the night on which Jesus was betrayed, he sat at supper with his disciples. While they were eating, he took a piece of bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave it to them with the words, ‘This is my body. It is for you. Do this to remember me.’ Later, he took a cup of wine, saying, ‘This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood. Drink from it, all of you, to remember me’.
So now, following Jesus’ example and command, we take this bread and this wine, the ordinary things of the world which Christ will make special. And as he said a prayer before sharing, let us do so too.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Gratitude, praise, hearts lifted high, voices full and joyful: these you deserve.
For when we were nothing, you made us something. When we had no name and no faith and no future, you called us your children. When we lost our way or turned away, you did not abandon us. When we came back to you, your arms opened wide in welcome.
And look, you prepare a table for us offering not just bread, not just wine, but your very self so that we may be filled, forgiven, healed, blessed and made new again. You are worth all our pain and all our praise.
So now, in gratitude, we join our voices to those of the Church on earth and in heaven:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Lord God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the rawness of the earth.
We cannot take bread and forget those who are hungry. Your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment. Lord, put our prosperity at the service of the poor.
We cannot take wine and forget those who are thirsty. The ground and the rootless, the earth and its weary people cry out for justice. Lord, put our fullness at the service of the empty.
We cannot hear your words of peace and forget the world at war or, if not at war, then preparing for it. Show us quickly, Lord, how to turn weapons into welcome signs and the lust for power into a desire for peace.
We cannot be invited to your table as our true selves, and forget those whose identities are erased, ignored or attacked. Lord, teach us to celebrate the richness of your creation and our diversity as bearers of the image of God.
We cannot celebrate the feast of your family and forget our divisions. We are one in spirit, but not in fact. History and hurt still dismember us. Lord, heal our church in every brokenness.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Today as we gather before the table of the Lord we remember our siblings who have been murdered at the hands of anti transgender violence. As we do so we will read together the names of those who have been recorded and light a candle for each of them. But as we do this we are aware of all those whose lives are taken and not recorded as such. So we light this candle now and take a moment of silence to remember those we are unable to name.
Names have been distributed amongst you, if you are able to please stand with us now. As you take turns to read aloud a name a candle will be lit. (tdor names can be found here, the site is updated each November)
Once all the names have been shared
Our mother and Father, our beloved parent, in whom we move and breathe and have our being,
The hollowing of your name shines forth in the diversity of your children.
May your peace and love, justice and equality, inclusion and belonging reign here on earth as in heaven.
Grant that our transgender loved ones might have their daily needs met—that they might find gainful employment without discrimination; that they might have access to medical care without fear; that they might have their rights and lives protected, and that they might find a loving community to belong to and call their own.
Forgive us for the ways that we have fallen short and failed your transgender children. Forgive us of the times we turned away, or did not care; for the times we laughed or judged their unique expression of your image; for the times we have misspoken, asked too much, or failed to hear.
As we forgive those who might have failed us.
Lead us away from the temptation to be complacent in the face of injustice.
But instead give us courage to stand up and stand with your beloved children.
For your love and justice is to be made manifest now and forever.
Taking and breaking the bread
Among friends, gathered round a table, Jesus took bread, broke it and said, ‘This is my body, it is for you’.
Taking the cup of wine
And later he took the cup of wine and said, ‘This is the new relationship with God, made possible because of my death. Take this – all of you – to remember me’.
Look, here is your Lord coming to you in bread and wine.
These are the gifts of God for the people of God.
The bread and wine are shared.
Christ who has nourished us, is our peace. Strangers and friends, old and young, Christ has broken down the barriers to bind us to him and to each other.
Having tasted his goodness, let us share his peace.
The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you.
The peace may be shared, giving time for participants to greet each other.
We have taken bread and wine into our bodies. Now may these hands be the hands of Christ in the world, may they do no violence. May these eyes see those who are overlooked, may these ears listen to those who are unheard, may these voices be raised for the voiceless, lest our songs of praise be empty. May these feet take us where Christ leads, and may these hearts and minds be open to your Spirit.
Christ has re-membered us, may we re-member Christ. Amen.
From where we are to where you need us Jesus now lead on.
From the security of what we know to the adventure of what you will reveal Jesus now lead on.
To refashion the fabric of the world until it resembles the shape of your Kingdom Jesus now lead on.
Because good things have been prepared for those who love God Jesus now lead on.