A Liturgy for Transgender Day of Remembrance
A Service for Transgender Day of Remembrance Notes for the Liturgy: This liturgy is created for Transgender Day of Remembrance which happens on 20 November each year. During this time, we recognize those transgender people who were killed by cisgender violence both individual and systemic from 1 October to the 30 September. It is traditional to list each name individually followed by the response “We remember you.” Tragically, the number of transgender people murder has risen each year, so it has become necessary to group the names together. This liturgy was written by Jenny Alexander-Allen (she/they), a nonbinary, trans woman and entranced candidate for Word and Sacrament in the ELCA church. All text, unless otherwise noted is original to her and based on the liturgy found in the cranberry Evangelical Lutheran Worship book.
Please note: It is preferable that the Presiding Minister, Assistant Minister, Lector, and additional roles be performed by members of the transgender community wherever possible. TDoR was, first a foremost, a vigil for transgender people by transgender people and it is wise to retain that to the full extent possible by your congregation. Jenny Alexander-Allen
Isaiah 56.1-8 Psalm 139:1-3, 14 (adapted for responsive reading) Acts 8.26-39 (adapted for responsive reading) Luke 6.43-45 (translated from the Greek by Jenny)
Hymns “Draw the Circle Wide” – Tune: Draw the Circle; Lyrics: Gordon Light “There is a Balm in Gilead” – ELW 614 “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” ELW 659 “One Bread, One Body” ELW 496 “Be Thou My Vision” – ELW 793
Liturgy written by Jenny Alexander-Allen unless otherwise noted
I. GATHERING: The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.
a. Prelude: “Draw the Circle Wide” – Tune: Draw the Circle; Lyrics: Gordon Light
b. Call to Worship: PM: Beloveds, moving through our lives, we each have paths to walk. This morning our paths have come together here in this place, where the diversity of the Lord shines. Today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance, where we remember and honor the transgender people who were murdered because of transphobia. Our service will incorporate this remembrance. AM: Beloveds, whether you are transgender, gender expansive, agender, or cisgender, you are welcome here. Each of us brings a bit of creation’s beauty through these doors and all of us are welcome because we are all made the Divine Image.
c. Welcome and Noticing Practice PM: Today we encourage you to notice how others present themselves and what that tells you about who they are.
d. Confession and Forgiveness PM: Blessed be the Holy Trinity one God who creates, redeems, and sustains. C: Amen. PM: We confess in the presence of God and of one another. C: God of love and forgiveness, We acknowledge that we cannot free ourselves from sin without Your love and mercy. We recognize how we have harmed one another through things we have done and through the things we have failed to do. We pass judgement when we should learn. We place our wants before the needs of the marginalized. We long to show Your love though we do not always succeed. Forgive us of the ways we have transgressed against You and against our neighbors. Turn us to the gift of life you offer through Jesus the Christ. Help us share Your grace and love with all your children. We ask in the triune name of God The Creator who created us and who continues to create us anew, Jesus the Paschal Lamb of God who forgives and redeems us, and the Holy Spirit who sustains us as we minister to others. Amen. PM: Beloveds, your sins are forgiven and you are made whole. The Holy Spirit empowers you with her resilience to walk with Jesus the path God has set before you. C: Beloved, your sins are forgiven, and you are made whole. Amen.
e. Gathering Song: “There is a Balm in Gilead” ELW 614
f. Greeting: AM: The grace of God, the love of Jesus, and the movement of the Holy Spirit be with you all. C: And also with you.
g. Prayer of the Day AM: God of the marginalized, who stands with the oppressed and binds our wounds, open our hearts. We bring before You the transgender siblings we have lost and ask You grant them peace. Enable us to work for justice. Help us to plant seeds of love and acceptance, watering them with our welcome so they may bloom into a garden of lush, vibrant flowers for our transgender and gender expansive siblings. For it is by giving love we learn how we are loved by You. Through Your Son, by aide of the Holy Spirit, and for your Kin-dom. C: Amen.
II. WORD: God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.
a. First Reading: Isaiah 56.1-8 L: A reading from the prophet Isaiah. The word of the Lord. C: Thanks be to God. L: Thus says the LORD: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come and my deliverance be revealed. Blessed is the person who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil. Do not let the foreigner joined to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people,” And do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a withered tree.” For thus says the LORD: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath and do not profane it and hold fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offering and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
b. Psalm 139.1-3, 14 L: Psalm 139 – A Psalm of David L: O LORD, C: You have examined me and know me. L: You know when I sit and when I stand; C: You discern my thoughts from a distance. L: You observe my labors and my resting, C: You are familiar with all my ways. L: I praise You, C: For I am awesomely, wonderfully made! L: All Your works are wonderful! C: And I know this very well.
c. Second Reading: Acts 8.26-39
PM: A responsive reading from the Book of Acts PM: An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south, to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
C: It was a wilderness road.
PM: So Philip got up and went. Now, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, and in charge of her entire treasury.
C: The eunuch had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in the chariot, the eunuch was reading the prophet Isaiah.
PM: Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So, Philip ran up to it and heard the eunuch reading the prophet. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
C: The eunuch replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And the eunuch invited Philip to get in and sit.
PM: Now, this was the passage of the scripture that the eunuch was reading: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”
C: The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about someone else?”
PM: Then Philip began to speak. Starting with that very scripture he proclaimed to the eunuch the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water.
C: The eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” The eunuch commanded the chariot to stop.
PM: Both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized the eunuch. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away.
C: The eunuch saw him no more and continued along the Way rejoicing.
d. Gospel Acclamation PM: The holy gospel according to Luke. C: Glory to You, O Lord.
e. Holy Gospel: Luke 6.43-45 (translation by Jenny Alexander-Allen) [Jesus said to them:] “No bountiful tree bears rotten fruit, nor again does a withered tree bear nourishing fruit, so each tree is recognized by its own fruit. “For figs are not gathered from thorny plants, nor are grapes picked from bramble bushes. “So, the person of good character out of a virtuous heart bears goodness, but the person of bad character out of a withered heart bears grief. Indeed, it is from the abundance in their heart that a person speaks.” PM: The Gospel of the Lord. C: Praise to you, O Christ.
g. Hymn of the Day: “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” ELW 659
h. An Affirmation of Faith (adapted by Jenny Alexander-Allen)
We believe in the Trinity. We believe in God, loving partner, creator of all that moves and breaths and fills God’s world. We believe in Jesus, who is the Christ, begotten of God and born of Mary. Jesus ministered to us and taught us the Way. Under the reign of Pontius Pilot, he suffered crucifixion. He died and was resurrected. He appeared to the women, to the faithful on the road to Emmaus, and to the disciples. He ascended to Heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who through her sustaining love enables us to carry on Jesus’s ministry of healing the sick, feeding the hungry, freeing the prisoners, and uplifting the marginalized. We believe in the Body of Christ, the Trinity’s church, both visible and invisible. We believe in the baptism of the spirit by water which welcomes us, the meal of communion which binds us together, and the forgiveness of our sins that frees us to continue in faith, hope, and love. Amen
i. Prayers of Intercession [Names of those lost in the last year should be inserted throughout the prayer as marked]
PM: Creator, Source and Sustainer of all life, we praise You for the infinitely diverse world You have created. For the beauty expressed in ocean waters, in dry lands, and in the shores between the two. We thank You for the dark of night, for the light of day, and for the dusky twilight between the two.
C: We remember you.
PM: We remember Your children who were victims of violence because they dared to express your diversity in a narrow culture. [Names]
C: We remember you.
PM: We remember these beautiful children who were active participants in Your continuing work of creation. [Names]
C: We remember you.
PM: We pray that those we have lost to human ignorance and violence be welcomed into Your Kin-dom and comforted in the shelter of Your embrace. [Names]
C: We remember you.
PM: May these beautiful children know the peace they were denied on earth and may they rest in power with You. [Names] C: We remember you. PM: We pray that You blow on the embers of our hearts and ignite a fire for justice. As we remember [Names]
C: We remember you.
PM: May we use our privilege and liberty to work for Your all-inclusive peace, which surpasses the limited peace of the world. Inspire us with Your vision of inclusion and welcoming as we remember [Names], and those who were lost, misidentified, or forgotten.
C: We remember you.
PM: Creator and Continually Creating God, You formed all people in your image and blessed all people declaring us "very good." Grant that we follow the example of these beautiful souls: living our lives authentically, working toward justice and equity for all Your children, and building a world where the transgender and gender expansive community can live free of the threat of death and violence. Grant that our work turn oppression into radical hospitality. We pray all these things in Your just and holy name.
j. Peace AM: The peace of Christ be with you always C: And also with you. AM: Please share a sign of God’s abundant peace with your neighbors.
k. Community Announcements
III. MEAL: Jesus feeds us through the presence of Christ.
a. Offering: [Offering she be donated to a local transgender support organization]
b. Invitation to Offering AM: Beloveds, from the words of the prophets and the ministry of Jesus we have learned to care for one another. The widow, the orphan, the foreigner, the stranger, the prisoner, and the marginalized are our neighbors and we share in the responsibility and commitment to care for the wellness, to sustain them, and to welcome them. Let us give from the gifts we received to provide for our neighbors.
c. Offertory Prayer PM: Sustaining Spirit, through Jesus you reminded us to look at the lilies of the field and to know that you would provide for us. As we have been blessed, so we seek to bless others. Take our offerings and use them to provide for our neighbors. In the name of Jesus the Christ, who opens the table for all.
d. The Great Thanksgiving PM: The Lord be with you. C: And also with you. PM: Lift up your hearts. C: We lift them to the Lord. PM: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. C: It is right to give our thanks and praise. PM: It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise [preface for the day] We praise your name and join their unending hymn. [Holy, Holy, Holy]
Thanksgiving at the Table (adapted by Jenny Alexander-Allen) PM: On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus gathered with his chosen family for a meal of bread and wine. As they gathered round the table, Jesus took the bread and gave thanks and gave it to them, revealing a mystery: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me. PM: After they had eaten their meal together, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it them to drink, revealing a mystery: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people, for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me. PM: When we gather for the meal, we remember that night and the meal Jesus shared with his chosen family. Beloveds, we too are gathered at Jesus’s table as chosen family. Though we may not give thanks as often or well as we wish to, we do it as we are able. We give thanks, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to God who blesses the bread and wine and makes them Christ for us. And we ask God to unite us as a family and to make us Christ for others. PM: United as one family in Jesus the Christ, we give you thanks, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, gather us as one, bind our hearts in communion, and grant us peace beyond any we have known. Please join me in reciting the prayer the Lord taught us:
e. The Lord’s Prayer (adapted by Justin Fitch) Our Creator in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your Kin-dom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, As we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial And deliver us from evil. For the Kin-dom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
f. Invitation to the Table PM: This is not my table, or Luther Place’s table, or the Synod’s table. It is Christ’s table. All are welcome to the banquet, for it is now ready.
g. Distribution: The ushers will direct you.
h. Agnus Dei
i. Communion Song: “One Bread, One Body” ELW 496
j. Communion PM: The body of Christ, given for you. PM: The blood of Christ, shed for you.
k. Prayer After Communion
PM: God of mercy, justice, and love. You have filled us with sustaining bread for our journey and refreshing wine for our spirits. Grant us Your guidance as we travel the road You set before us, the road which leads to neighbors and family, for the sake of Jesus the Christ, our Lord. C: Amen. IV. Sending: The Trinity blesses us and send us in love to our neighbors.
a. Blessing: PM: The God who saw Hagar in the wilderness, who lead the Israelites by cloud and fire through the wilderness, who met the Eunuch on the wilderness road, also sees you, guides you, and meets you in your wilderness journey.
b. Sending Song: “Draw the Circle Wide” Tune: Draw the Circle; Lyrics: Gordon Light
c. Dismissal AM: Go in peace and serve your neighbor
d. Postlude: “Be Thou My Vision” – ELW 793