Monday, March 01, 2010

Shame-Related Confessional Sequence from Emily Jones

Emily Jones wrote a great confessional sequence for a class she's in.
Me: "You should put this up somewhere where people can get it!"
Emily: "Like where?"
Me: "Like... the internet?"

Anyway, it's based on the first creation story, and is in opposition to some popular interpretations of the second one...

Here it is: (apparently we're doing blogging liturgical elements for Casimir Pulaski day...)

God created all people in God's own image. God affirmed, at the first moments of creation, the goodness of all that God had made. Yet, we have rejected God's creation, blasphemed against this Holiness, drowning ourselves and each other in a culture of shame, rejecting what God named good, in one another and ourselves. We have come to repent of the ways we have shamed others; we have come to refuse the shaming we have received. We have come to see God's creation more rightly and ready ourselves for action.

Come. Gather with me in a moment of prayer, as we earnestly open our hearts to God and to one another.
Hear, O God, our prayers.

Jesus, we come to you a shamed and shaming people.
Release us, God, from this bondage.

We have swallowed shame, which we did not deserve.
Heal us, for we are your good creation.

We have force-fed shame to others, which they did not deserve.
We repent of our sins and look to be made anew.

We have learned and forced on others this falsehood, too often,
teaching others to be ashamed, learning to be ashamed:

for the color and texture of our hair
but you, O God, created our hair
for the shape of our desires
but you, O God, are in our wanting
for the thickness of our accents
but you, O God, are in our voices
for the appearance and abilities of our bodies
but you, O God, made our holy flesh.

Learning and teaching shame, also:
for our dreams, too outlandish to be real,
but you, O God, are in our dreaming
for our tears, too messy,
but you, O God, are in our struggles
even, sometimes, for the unseemliness of our joy
but you, O God, made all people in your likeness, your good creation.

Under powers and principalities too numerous to name, we have learned shame.
We have not only learned, we have also taught; we have been oppressors as well as oppressed.
Come, God, and enter into our brokenness.
Let us be cleansed of the evil done to us.
Let us repent and turn from the evil that we have done.

At this time, some moments of silence will be observed.

God says to us, clearly: You are beloved in ways beyond your knowing. You are the flesh of my body, born of the first waters, born of my own blood. You are the good creation, a people fated to wholeness. I give you my strength. Go, now, into God's good creation, rejecting all that is evil and turning towards God in all you do. Go now to one another and offer a sign of God's presence, a mark of God's peace.

At this time, please greet each other with a sign of peace, remembering the fullness of God's affirmation.

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