Beliefnet
Excerpted by permission from "Coming Out As Sacrament."

Cover the Communion table with ecclesiastical clutter, such as polity books, bylaws, position papers, minutes, reports, periodicals, church tabloids, and religious hate literature. In the baptismal font place figs or some other easy-to-handle fruit (cut up or whole), at least one piece for each participant.

The liturgy may be read responsively, possibly sharing leadership, or antiphonally.

Opening Sentences
(Adapted from Matthew 23)

Leader: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples:

People: But you have made it a den of thieves

Leader: Do not do as the Pharisees do, for they do not practice what they preach.

People: They load heavy burdens, hard to bear, on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

Leader: They love to have places of honor, to be greeted with respect, and to have people call them reverend.

People: But all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Leader: They lock people out of the commonwealth of God. They themselves do not enter, and when others do, they stop them.

People: They cross sea and land to make a convert, and then make the new Christian twice the child of hell with burdensome demands.

Leader: They tithe lightly, neglecting the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

People: Woe to you, Pharisees, for you whitewash the church to look beautiful, but inside it is full of hypocrisy and death.

Leader: Woe to you, Pharisees, for you dare to say, if you had lived in the time of the prophets, you would have listened to their words.

People: But God sends you prophets today whom you reject and exclude, spiritually killing them between the baptismal of font and the altar.

Leader: My church! My church! The church that resists the prophets and persecutes those sent to you: how often Christ desired to gather you together as a hen gathering her brood, and you refused!

People: Your house of worship is left to you, desolate; for you will not recognize us until you say:

Unison: Blessed are the ones who come in the name of the Lord.

Hymn "O Blessed One, Come to Our Church Today"
(Tune: Veni Emmanuel. Words adapted from "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", translation by John Mason Neale [1851] from an anonymous c. 12th-century hymn. Adaptation Copyright c 1998 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for use in worship with attribution.)

O Blessed One, come to our church today
To clear a place within for us to pray;
Gather us as hen does her brood:
Those the church has poorly understood.
Rejoice, rejoice, O blessed be the Name
That welcomes us, whose gospel we proclaim.

You shaped us each within a mother's womb,
Although for us the world has no room;
You formed our inward sighs, hopes, and dreams,
That our lives may discover what love means.
Rejoice, rejoice, O blessed be the Name
That welcomes us, whose gospel we proclaim.

We gather now in praise and in prayer-
Believing we will ever meet you there,
That you will never leave us alone;
Your steadfast love's eternally enthroned.
Rejoice, rejoice, O blessed be the Name
That welcomes us, whose gospel we proclaim.

Reading Mark 11:12-25

Reflections
(Reflections may be inward and silent, or spoken [homily or dialogue], sung, dramatized, danced, or omitted.)

Clearing of the Temple
(From Mark 11 and Isaiah 56)

Leader: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples:

People: But you have made it a den of thieves

Leader: You have stolen from us our innocence, our sanctuary, our calling.

People: You have cluttered Christ's table with ritual and legal obligations.

Leader: Thus says our God: maintain justice, and do what is right,

People: For soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.

Leader: Do not let the foreigner joined to the Sovereign say, "The Lord will surely separate me from God's people."

People: And do not let the eunuch say, "I am just a dry tree."

Leader: For these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.

People: For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Leader: Let us clear God's house!

(Those aggrieved by a denomination's policy on homosexuality are invited to clear the ecclesiastical clutter off the table by sweeps of their hands, allowing it to fall to the floor. Then the leader proceeds:)

Leader: Let us pray.

People: Your table is bare, O God. Your fig tree, the church, resists feeding us, the Body of Christ.

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