This is a liturgy originally created for the Progressive Youth Ministry Conference 2018. It includes original music by The Many as well as music from a couple other sources as noted. The words for communion were taken from the Book of Common Prayer. Episcopal priest and author Alice Connor gave the sermon. She and author and Episcopal priest, Lauren Winner, presided over communion. All photos from Unsplash.com

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Singing Together: Let it Rise

Original lyrics by William Murphy

Additional lyrics (verses 3,4,5) by The Many

https://youtu.be/YZrXSwFl3uk

1. Let the glory of the Lord rise among us

Let the glory of the Lord rise among us

Let the praises of our God rise among us

Let it rise

 

2. Let the songs of the Lord rise among us

Let the songs of the Lord rise among us

Let the joy of our God rise among us

Let it rise.

 

Ooh, Let it rise

Ooh, Let it rise

 

3. Let the cry of the hopeless rise among us

Let the cry of the hopeless rise among us

Let the word of their truth rise among us

Let it rise

 

4. Let the voice of the silenced rise among us

Let the voice of the silenced rise among us

Let the sound of their song rise among us

Let it rise

 

Ooh, Let it rise

Ooh, Let it rise

 

5. Let the wonder of creation rise among us

Let the wonder of creation rise among us

Let the beauty of all people rise among us

Let it rise

 

6. Let the glory of the Lord rise among us

Let the glory of the Lord rise among us

Let the praises of our God rise among us

Oh, let it rise

 

Ooh, Let it rise

Ooh, Let it rise

 

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Gathering Litany

One:   Hear these words from Psalm 139: I will praise you, God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that, my soul knows well.

Join me in saying:

We praise you...

All: because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

 One:   

We praise you because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

Except when we don’t. When we can’t. When the words get stuck in our throats. Like when we look in the mirror. Or when our bodies get sick, or can’t do all the things we want them to. When our bodies betray us, fail us. Disappoint us. Then we can barely whisper…

we praise you...

All: ... because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

One:    

Or when our bodies don’t fit neatly into the boxes society makes for them, when we’re told we’re too old, too broken, too deviant, too fat, too slutty, too queer, too slow, too disabled, too NOT White.  

Do we say it then…can we say it then… ? Can we say, ”we praise you...”

All: ….because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

One:

Can we say these words in the middle of a world that makes those words seem absurd? That makes loving our own bodies and fully loving others -  head to toe, inside out, body, mind and spirit,  - an act of rebellion?  Can we say these words through our hurt and tears? In defiance? In hope? In wild and radical and holy love? Maybe we can’t...not alone...but together…? Let us begin...

All: We praise you because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

We praise you because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

We praise you because we’re fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

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Singing Together:  These Bodies by The Many

            Chorus:

            You gave us these bodies

            And you called them good

            You gave us these bodies

            And you called them good

 

1. We are easily damaged

have you seen the scars?

That’s just scratching the surface

More beneath where those are.

 

Chorus:

You gave us these bodies

And you called them good

You gave us these bodies

And you called them good

 

May we love them as you do

Let us love them as you do

Inside outside, through and through

Let us love them as you do

 

2. But we do so much damage.

Have you seen the scars?

We keep hurting each other

Sometimes that’s just how we are

 

            Bridge:

            These bodies,

            These bodies

            They are fearfully, wonderfully made

            Don’t believe the lies they say

            No, our flesh and bones

            Our hearts and hands

            are loved in every way.

 

Chorus

 

 

 

THE LESSONS

A reading from Romans 15:1-7. (CEB) 

1 We who are powerful need to be patient with the weakness of those who don’t have power, and not please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up. 3 Christ didn’t please himself, but, as it is written, The insults of those who insulted you fell on me.  4 Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. 6 That way you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice. 7 So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory

 

A Reading from Mark 7:31-37 (CEB) 

After leaving the region of Tyre, Jesus went through Sidon toward the Galilee Sea through the region of the Ten Cities.  Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly speak, and they begged him to place his hand on the man for healing.  Jesus took him away from the crowd by himself and put his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue.  Looking into heaven, Jesus sighed deeply and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Open up.”  At once, his ears opened, his twisted tongue was released, and he began to speak clearly. Jesus gave the people strict orders not to tell anyone. But the more he tried to silence them, the more eagerly they shared the news.  People were overcome with wonder, saying, “He does everything well! He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who can’t speak.”

 

Sermon

 

Reprise:  These Bodies - The Many

 

Chorus:

You gave us these bodies

And you called them good

You gave us these bodies

And you called them good

 

May we love them as you do

Let us love them as you do

Inside outside, through and through

Let us love them as you do

 

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THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

 

A Time for Lament

(Various people around the room will read these laments.  After they read each one, they tear the paper they’ve been reading from. Letting the sound just hang in the air for a moment before the next lament is read. Also a few people positioned around the room provide some slightly choreographed movement...gestures of supplication, kneeling, standing.)

 

One:   Let us pray together.

We invite you to stand if you like. Or sit. Or kneel. You may want to raise your arms. Or bow your head. You may want to hold your palms out like this. You may want to do all these things and in this space, you’re welcome to do any of them, all of them or none.

God we thank you for these bodies you have given us.  For all the pleasures we feel in them, in movement, and stillness, for the impossible grace of loving touch, for delicious tastes and dizzying smells, for the ability to experience the world in sounds and sights. For waking and sleeping, laughing, and crying, for hearts that beat. For this good flesh and bone fearfully and wonderfully made.

And yet...and yet... we must also lament, all the ways we humans damage our own bodies and each other’s.  (TEARING OF PAPER) 

And so we pray:  For those whose bodies have been violated by sexual harassment, abuse and rape, especially those who haven’t been able to say #MeToo for fear of retaliation.   (TEARING OF PAPER)  O God...  

ALL: …hear our prayer

One: For the beaten, starved, ignored. For refugees and exiles whose bodies are treated as disposable, less than human, worth nothing. (TEARING OF PAPER)  O God...

ALL: ...hear our prayer

One: For those black and brown bodies that have been victimized by acts of racism in this country and around the world - especially those who’ve been killed by the police who were supposed to protect them   (TEARING OF PAPER)

One: For the LGBTQIA youth and adults who have faced bullying, beatings, even death simply because of who they are. (TEARING PAPER)  O God...

ALL: ...hear our prayer

One: For all of those bodies that have been torn to shreds by assault weapons and other acts of unspeakable violence. (TEARING OF PAPER)

One: For those who wish for a different kind of body and spend much of their time and energy trying to achieve it. (TEARING OF PAPER)

One: For all the ways we haven’t loved our bodies as you do.  (TEARING OF PAPER)

One: For all of these and all of us who have felt forsaken.  (TEARING OF PAPER)

One: O God

 All: …hear our prayer

 

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Singing Together:  Forsaken by The Many

http://themany1.bandcamp.com/track/forsaken

 

Why have you forsaken us?

Where have you gone?

Why have you forsaken us?

How can we go on?

 

Verse 1

There’s a woman who’s lost her child

And a man who’s lost his way.

There’s a boy who’s keeping it inside

And a girl who cannot pray.

 

Chorus

Why have you forsaken us?

Where have you gone?

Why have you forsaken us?

How can we go on?

 

We search for your face

Search for your grace

We want to follow your way

 

Why have you forsaken us

Where have you gone?

 

Verse 2

There’s a man who says he cannot breathe

And another with a gun

There’s a family that’s left everything

Just exiles on the run

 

            Chorus

Bridge

There’s a man forsaken on a cross

Body broken in two

There’s a God hanging on a cross

Who feels it all too

 

Crying with us, dying with us.

Praying with us. Holding us too.

 

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 A Time of Confession

One:

We also have some confessions to make.

For all the ways we have not loved you with our whole heart;

haven’t loved our neighbors as ourselves.

For all the ways we’ve violated our own bodies and our neighbors’ bodies.

And haven’t treated them as you would want us to.

Let us confess our sins in silence.

Singing Together: Forgive Us by The Many

http://themany1.bandcamp.com/track/forgive-us

 

 1. We try, we fail

Do too little too late

We wish we could walk away

We hurt. We’re hurt

Nothing seems to work.

We don’t know what to say

Chorus:

Forgive us

Forgive us.

We know not what we do.

Be with us

Be with us.

We don’t know what to do.

 

2. What’s wrong. What’s right.

Hard to see without sight.

Blindly we come to You

Chorus

Bridge:

We don’t know how to pray here.

stay here.

All we hope is You’re here.

Help us

Seek Justice.

Love Mercy.

Walk humbly, here.

Chorus

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Assurance

One:   Hear these words of assurance: When we cry out to God, God says “How can I forget you?   See I have written your names on the palms of my hands.”

The Peace

One: The peace of the Lord be always with you

All: And also with you.

Singing Together: “Peace of God Be With You.”

Written by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

https://hymnary.org/hymn/GG2013/448

 

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COMMUNION

(This communion liturgy is from the Book of Common Prayer. Feel free to use one that fits your tradition)

The Great Thanksgiving

The Celebrant:

The Lord be with you

People: And also with you

Celebrant: Lift up your hearts

People We lift them to the Lord.

Celebrant: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

People: It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and every-

where to give thanks to you, God Almighty, Creator of

heaven and earth.

You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts, and prepare

with joy for the Paschal feast; that, fervent in prayer and in

works of mercy, and renewed by your Word and Sacraments,

they may come to the fullness of grace which you have

prepared for those who love you.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and

Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever

sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

 

Singing Together: Holy Holy, Holy

(tune: Land of Rest)

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

God of power and might

Heaven and Earth are full of your glory

Hosanna in the Highest.

Blessed is the one who comes

In the name of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna in the highest

 

Then the Celebrant continues

We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love

which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling

of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the

prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your

Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from

the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy

to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error

into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took

bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and

gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body,

which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given

thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you:

This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you

and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink

it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore, according to his command, O God,

Celebrant and People

We remember his death,

We proclaim his resurrection,

We await his coming in glory;

The Celebrant continues

And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you,

O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this

bread and this wine.

We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon

these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of

Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant. Unite us to your

Son in his sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through him,

being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In the fullness of time,

put all things in subjection under your Christ, and bring us to

that heavenly country where, with all your

saints, we may enter the everlasting heritage of your sons and

daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all

creation, the head of the Church, and the author of our

salvation.

By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy

Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and

for ever. AMEN.

And now, as our Savior

Christ has taught us, let us pray together.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

One:

We will be using a new paraphrase.

Perhaps we can pray it with a new understanding and renewed commitment.

One: God of Love...

All:      Who we experience as mother, father, friend, beloved, our holy ground, our deepest longing, our best thought, our greatest hope.

Your love covers the entire earth.  Holding us all in your embrace,

You hold everything together.

We want to know what your vision for the world is  - help us.

We want to live in that vision – guide us.

Everything we eat and drink, Everything that gives us life and joy, it all comes from you

We thank you for your mercy.

You hold nothing back.

Help us be that open and generous with others and with ourselves.

You forgive us constantly.

Help us forgive each other.

Deep in our hearts we believe that this is your world and that you love us all. Help us stand with you and with each other in that powerful love.

And together we will sing

of your mercy and grace and power.

Forever and ever. Amen

 

The Breaking of the Bread

Singing Together: Lamb of God by The Many

Lamb of God With love poured out you suffer with the world.

Have mercy. Have mercy. (repeat)

Lamb of God. Who suffers with the world.

Grant us peace. Grant us peace.

INVITATION TO THE TABLE

One: As you come forward to receive this bread and this cup, we also invite you to come and have your hand anointed with oil.

 

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Celebrant says: The Gifts of God for the People of God.

The Bread and the Cup are given to the communicants with these words

The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven. [Amen.]

The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation. [Amen.]

 

Singing during Communion

All Belong Here by The Many

http://themany1.bandcamp.com/track/all-belong-here

1. When you’re not sure who you really are

When all you feel is the shape of your scars

And you have more wounds than you can count

Open your eyes, look all around

You aren’t alone, this is your home

 

            Chorus

            Come and remember who you are here

            Do this to remember who I am

            Come and remember you belong here

            All belong here

 

2. When you don’t know how to forgive

When locked doors seem like the only way to live

And you’ve got more questions than you can count

Open your eyes, look all around

You aren’t alone, this is your home

Chorus

 Bridge

            At this table come as you are

            Broken and bleeding’s ok

            At this table eat and be filled

            Come and drink in this grace.

 

Prayer

 

Singing Together: We Stand by The Many

http://themany1.bandcamp.com/track/we-stand-2

 1. We’ve all been hurt,

and yes, we feel confused.

So much is wrong,

But is there anything we can do?

2. Where is the hope?

When there is so much pain

So much is broken,

Can it be whole again?

PreChorus:

We can just sit in this place

and long for better days.

We can just sit in this place, alone.

or we can stand, we can stand together with love.

 

            Chorus:

            We stand, we stand.

            We’re gonna stand with love.

            We’re gonna stand with love.  (repeat)

 

Bridge:

Let us not sit in judgment,

or only bow in prayer.

Let us not leave in anger,

or stay in our despair.         (3xs)

But by the grace of God,

let us stand together with love. ….

                                               We stand …

 

            Chorus:

            We stand, we stand.

            We’re gonna stand with love.

            We’re gonna stand with love.

 

Blessing & Charge

 

Singing Together: “We are on this Earth To Love” by The Many

https://soundcloud.com/user-23826415-955643396/we-are-on-this-earth-to-love


 

"THESE BODIES" credits

This liturgy was created by Gary Rand and Lenora Rand. Lenora also wrote all the words (except where noted). All rights reserved. You are welcome to use any of this, but please give credit. 

The music is primarily from our Plural Guild house band, The Many. These songs are meant to be sung together. Look for downloadable MP3s, sheet music/lead sheets as well as downloadable liturgies on our band website.  ("These Bodies" is a brand new song, and not recorded yet. Join our mailing list to be alerted as soon as that song becomes available. To join the list just scroll down to the bottom of this page and enter your email. ) 

We appreciate your support of our work. We are not attached to a record label, which means we are free to create the kind of music which speaks to faith and doubt, peace and justice and inclusion. But it also means we depend a lot on support of folks like you. So, if you like what we're doing we hope you will both purchase our music and liturgies and  share it. And join us in our social media spaces for inspiration, new releases, etc. Share your email address to keep up to date and also receive previews of new songs and other goodies. 

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