Excerpted by permission from "Coming Out As Sacrament."

During the days of Nazi power in Germany, "undesirables" were systematically rounded up and placed in concentration camps, where most died of malnutrition and disease or were murdered. Each category of prisoner was given its own symbol to wear on their prison uniforms. Gay men were assigned pink triangles, and though German law overlooked lesbians, they too were sometimes referred to as "pink triangle people" in German society. (The three documented lesbians sent to concentration camps were incarcerated for other reasons.) When the Nazis were defeated at the end of World War II, gay people were the only concentration camp prisoners that were not liberated. Instead, they were sent to other prisons.

As worshipers enter or gather, they are each given a pink paper triangle to wear, which they should pin to their clothing. On the Communion table is a fire-resistant bowl, resting on a holder to absorb heat. Beside it is a lighted candle and a pestle for grinding. In the rear of the worship area are banners, which may include church logo or confessional banners (especially appropriate would be that of the Barmen Declaration), lesbian and gay religious group banners, and the rainbow flag.

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

Procession of Banners (Banners are brought forward during singing of the hymn below, followed by worshipers, who gather around the table.)

Hymn "Let All Mortal Flesh show Reverence"
(Tune: Picardy, Words adapted from "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," the translation by Gerard Moultrie [1864] from the Liturgy of St. James. Copyright c 1998 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for use in worship with attribution.)

Let all mortal flesh show reverence, And in awe and wondrous delight Ponder one born from among us To inspire and to invite reconciliation: Christ, the Word of God, Spoken to redeem, reunite.
Child of God, yet born of Mary, That God's children all may be One in faith and in baptism, One in hope and charity; One in Christ's flesh, and one in Christ's church, Off'ring our diversity.
Alleluia! God comes among us, Blessing us with human hands, Loving us in earthly pleasures, Leading us to take our stands For God's healing love in our broken world, For sweet justice in our lands.

Reading Matthew 3:1-12

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

Leader: Repent! For the commonwealth of God is at hand!

People: We confess that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, in acts of commission and omission, against our lesbian sisters and gay brothers, and against our bisexual and transgendered sisters and brothers. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Leader: The Holocaust took the lives of the Rainbow people, forced to wear pink triangles, murdered in concentration camps, imprisoned even after others were liberated.

People: We wear pink triangles as a symbol of our solidarity with them. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Leader: We burn the chaff of our prejudice, of our arrogance, of our ignorance, that prevented our repentance and caused our scapegoating and our wounding of lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

People: We burn the pink triangles as a symbol of our renouncing homophobia and heterosexism, as a symbol of our deliverance in Christ Jesus or Sovereign. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

(A leader lights the first triangle from the candle and places it in the bowl on the Communion table. Others place their triangles in one by one, to keep the fire going. If the fire dies, the candle may be used to ignite the next triangle. A reverent silence is observed until the flame dies. Then a leader grinds the ashes with the pestle. The bowl is passed.

Each person dips a finger in the ashes and makes the sign of the cross on her/his neighbor, saying: In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

Hymn "Joy to the World!" (Tune: Antioch. Words adapted from Isaac Watts [1719]. Copyright c 1998 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for use in worship with attribution.)

Joy to the world! God's Word is come: Let earth receive its grace; Let every heart Prepare it room-Expand its warm embrace, Expand its warm embrace, Expand, expand God's warm embrace.
No more let walls divide our love, Nor fear our hate require; Christ comes to bless Each covenantal rite The gift of love inspires, the gift of love inspires, the gift of love inspires, the gift, God's gift of love inspires.
Joy to the world! The Savior calls for mercy, truth, and grace, so hope and trust and faith may glow in every child's face, in every child's face, in ev'ry in ev'ry holy child's face.

From "Coming out as Sacrament." Copyright 1998, Chris R. Glaser. Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. Orders may be placed by calling 1-800-227-2872.

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad