Excerpted by permission from "Coming Out As Sacrament."

This ritual is intended to sacramentalize the redefining of our relationship with the church. It may commemorate separation from current church policies rather than separation from the church, being "in" but not "of" the church, as Jesus called his disciples to be "in" but not "of" the world (John 17:11-14). It may also signify a decision to leave a particular denomination or the institutional church altogether.

To drink one's baptism is to internalize it, honoring our participation in the church universal that is found both within and outside the intuitional church. In turning our baptismal waters "upside down" to drink them, we remember how early Christians were accused of turning the world upside down, including the religious structures of their time (Acts17:6).

(To prepare, fill the baptismal font with water. Place one cup or chalice on the Communion table for every person choosing to renew their baptism in this way.)

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

Opening Words (Ephesians 4:1-6, 14-16)

Leader: I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

People: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Sovereign, one faith, one baptism, one God, Father and Mother of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Leader: We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.

People: But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ, promoting the body's grown by building ourselves up in love.

Leader: Jesus warned his disciples, however: "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.
People: "Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." (Matthew 10:14-15)

Leader: "Yet know this: the commonwealth of God has come near." (Luke 10:11b)

Hymn "Once to Every One and Nation"
(Change "man" to "one"; "His" to "God's'.) or "Here I Am, Lord"

Readings Matthew 3:13-17: Acts 10:44-48

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

Shaking the Dust and Receiving the Water
(From Luke 10:34-42)

Leader: The person(s) redefining (her/his/their) relationship with the [name the specific denomination] church may gather around this Communion table and offer the responses that follow. Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."

N: For Christ has set us against our own church, and our foes have been members of our own church family.

Leader: Whoever does not take up the cross and follow Christ is not worthy of Christ.

N: Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for Christ's sake will find it.

Leader: Whoever welcomes you welcomes Christ, and whoever welcome Christ welcomes the One who sent Christ.

N: (I/We) shake from (my/our) feet the dust of those who have not welcomed (me/us/our sisters and brothers). (Stomp feet.)

Leader: It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for those who have rejected you or those you love.

People: Yet know this: the commonwealth of God has come near.

Leader: Truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. (Mark 9:41)

(Pre-assigned leaders in the congregation take the cups from the Communion table and dip them into the baptismal font and return to the table. One at a time, the leaders give a cup of water to those redefining their relationship with the church. As each drinks all of it, the leader should say:)

Leader: You are God's beloved (daughter/son); with you God is well pleased. (After each has received:)

Leader: Those who drink of the water that Christ gives will never be thirsty.

People: The water that Christ gives will become in them a spring of living water gushing up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

Leader: Let us pray.

People: O God, now let your servants depart in peace, according to your word; for their eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to strangers, and for glory to your people of faith. Amen. (Luke 2:29-32)

Leader: May the peace of Christ be with you!

People: And also with you!

(Offer one another the peace of Christ.)

Hymn "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" (tune: Hyfrydol. Text of "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus," by Charles Wesley [1744], adaptation. Copyright c 1998 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for use in worship with attribution.)

Come, though long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and bonds release us,
Let us find your liberty.
Our own strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every station,
Joy of every loving heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born to hallow body-soul,
Born to open up our closets
Born to lead, not to control.
Keep us "from weak resignation
To the ills that we deplore":
Guide us in thy common purpose,
To our home, become the door.

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.

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