Thursday, May 1, 2014

A prayer for God to teach me what it means to be an ally

Praying the lectionary before the ordination interview of Mary Ann Barclay.

Psalm 116
I love God, because God has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because God inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on God: “O Lord, I pray, save my life!”
Gracious is God, and righteous; our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, God saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest, for God has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I walk before God in the land of the living.
I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my consternation, “Everyone is a liar.”
What shall I return to God for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on God,
I will pay my vows to God in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of God is the death of his faithful ones.
O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on God.
I will pay my vows to God in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of God, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise God!

O God,

Hear the cries of my gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer brothers and sisters. You know the hell they have been put through these past 42 years… seeking to be faithful to you, having no choice but to follow your call on their lives to serve in your church as elders, deacons, lay persons. 

You God know what their journey has been like. You are one who came to walk among us to teach a new way and yet you were ridiculed, called names, doubted, rejected by the established church. Because of your faithfulness to your calling, you had unspeakable violence done to you, so perhaps you, better than most, relate to the violence and harm done today against LGBTQ persons: physical, spiritual, emotional, personal, institutional, visible, and hidden. Whoever wrote this psalm knew you to be a God who saves: gracious, righteous, merciful, protective, abundant, deliverer—even a God who wipes tears and unstumbles feet. 

God, it sounds like this psalmist knew you as the Great Ally. God, in my privilege, I admit I do not fully know this pain that you and others suffered. Teach me how to be an ally—to stand with my LGBTQ friends, so that they may too boldly proclaim with the psalmist that 

they WILL lift your cup of salvation at your table,
they WILL make their ordination vows to you in the presence of all your people,
they WILL serve your people. 

God, I think this is what it means to praise you with loosened bonds. Amen.

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