I had the privilege of leading the Prayers of the People at my church yesterday, which also coincided with the Pride parade in our city. I spent a lot of time working on my prayers for that day, and also got some really kind comments on my prayers, so I’ve decided to share them with you all!
My gracious thank-yous to Dave Barnhart, who I have never met and who does not know I exist, but whose own prayers for Pride this year greatly inspired the structure of this and also the particularly poignant reference to Matthew Shepard.
God of vast and diverse creation,
You reveal yourself to us in every colour of the rainbow.
From your covenant with Noah to the rainbow around your throne in Revelations,
you have spoken to us across all spectrums, in all colours,
and we are grateful that we can see you in so many places.
In the beginning you made the heavens and the earth and everything between,
You made animals and humans of many sexual and gender designations.
In Jeremiah today, You reminded us that you have known us since before we were born,
that we were consecrated and purposed for the life that You gave us,
and You blessed us with hearts that love and souls that yearn for connection with one another.
Since the earliest days, You have made human diversity manifest.
You showed us socially defiant and radical love with Ruth and Naomi,
and as Ruth promised to her partner, so You to us,
“For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I shall lodge.”
In Samuel You told us another great love story,
of Jonathan, whose love for David “surpassed that of a woman,”
A love so complete that their souls were knit together.
Since the beginning you have shown yourself to us in love.
Forgive us, God, for trying to put your Love in a box.
In the beginning you made birds to fill the sky and fish to fill the sea,
You made plants and animals as diverse as trees and terriers.
In your creativity, you made plants that could reproduce asexually,
Fish whose sex would change over the span of their lives,
and birds with a panoply of social genders.
In Your Great wisdom, You have made us the same,
creating peoples and cultures with genders as diverse as Your rainbow.
And in Your Goodness You included all these people in Your Stories,
as markers for the paths of our own story.
Thank You for the eunuchs, the misfits, the strangers in strange lands.
Thank You that Your sacrifice was not just for the Worthy.
In the beginning You came to show us the path to a better world.
In the person of Jesus Christ, You came to us and did not discriminate.
You came for the hungry, the thirsty, the wasting in prison,
those beaten and left to die on the side of a road, or tied to a fence;
You came for the sick, the needy, those living and dying with AIDS,
You came for the lynched, the assaulted, the sex-shamed and the doxxed.
You came for all whose allies betrayed them with a kiss.
Jesus, give us the strength to follow Your example.
Help us to leave our safe places in pursuit of justice and a more colourful world.
Give us the compassion to help and hold others,
Regardless of their names, faces, gender identity, sexuality, or social class.
Give us Your passion, and do not let us stand aside when our friends and family misspeak, by omission or from hardened hearts.
In the beginning, Your Spirit came to call us home.
And though we had been cursed to miscommunicate when making idols to our own success,
Your tongues of fire came down and granted Unity.
Your Spirit was made manifest in all of us,
Making these bodies, these bodies that have betrayed so many of us, holy.
You baptized us all again with Your Spirit, and called us to new lives in faith.
For some, this has also meant a calling to new names, new identities, new loves.
May Your Spirit sustain and inspire all of us on those journeys to more authentic selves.
Today, on Pride Sunday, we remember all of our LGBTQ siblings.
We pray for all people who are lesbian and gay.
We pray for those who are bisexual, or pansexual.
We pray for those who are asexual.
We pray for those whose sexuality cannot be so crudely defined.
We pray for all of our transgender siblings, be they binary or non-binary.
We pray for intersex people.
We pray for those in social transition, and for those who do not need to transition.
We pray for all those who suffer from dysphoria, and especially for those who wish to change, or are changing their bodies.
We pray for the two-spirit, for our indigenous brethren.
We acknowledge our role in the subjugation of our family.
We pray for reconciliation. We pray for truth.
We pray for the queer, the questioning, the quiet and the quelled.
For all those who have ever been on the outside looking in.
Be with them. Comfort them. Draw them near to You, leader and great Spirit.
Be with us all as we rise on the wings of dawn,
Be with us as we wander to the far side of the sea.
Hold and sustain us in the sunshine and the rain.
May we always remember You in rainbows.