March Feminist Liturgy

Hello, friends! Here is the text for our feminist liturgy for March 4, 2018. Please feel free to join us online at 3PM mountain time via Facebook Live on my author page.

 

Feminist Liturgy for March 4, 2018

 

Opening Words

I want to begin by gratefully acknowledging that we are living, working, and worshipping on Treaty 6 territory, and that we respect the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant communities.

I’d also like to thank everyone who is joining us live on Facebook! I’m grateful for your presence and I hope you’ll enjoy this liturgy which has been prepared to fill a large void in the hearts of many of us who are people of faith or philosophy but find inadequate expression within traditional churches. We are women, people of color, sexual minorities, theists and nontheists, as well as anyone who has found traditional liturgy painful and sometimes even damaging to our sense of self and our deeply held faith. At the same time, I want to welcome those who may not describe themselves as having a faith. As a person who herself inhabits that strange territory between what the world calls “faith” and “no faith”, I want to recognize the people who may be joining us not out of spiritual conviction but out of solidarity. I’m so glad you’re here.

 

I’m trying out something a bit different this month. Rather than a theme, I wanted to test drive my feminist translation of Anglican morning prayer. For those of you unfamiliar with this, morning prayer is part of what is known as the Daily office, a set of prayer services usually said by monastics as they go about their day. Morning prayer is, obviously, the morning prayer service. More and more laypeople are starting to incorporate the Daily Office into their prayer life by choosing to say either morning, afternoon, or evening prayers each day. I know that I find it really fun and helpful.

 

Translating the rather androcentric Daily Office into “feminist language” has been interesting. I don’t think it does to just change pronouns. A feminist reimagining of language also takes into account hierarchical and warlike imagery. So, I don’t change “Lord” to “Lady” because that still retains feudal elements. You’ll notice that I replace “kingdom” with “kindom”, something feminist theologians have been doing for a long time. Other changes include “fellowship” into “friendship” and “Lord Jesus” into “our Brother Jesus”.  These are not always perfectly analogous to what the original writers intended but this is an ongoing process.

You’ll also notice that rather than just having copied and pasted psalms, I have adapted them. This was a difficult choice for me because I do think we need to have knowledge of scripture as it is written. However, what won out was the desire to be able, for once, to make declarations and recite poetry and song that truly reflects what is in my heart. As for the Gospel reading, I left that one alone for the time being so God is referred to there as a Father.

 

Just one last quick note before we start. Though I do use feminine language about 90% of the time, this is not to assert that God is female. I believe, like many others, that any God that “exists” is likely not gendered. The reason I use feminine language is simply to aid in a shift that is not yet possible for some of us if we skip right to gender neutral language. For many of us, gender neutral language, while accurate, also still has the power to be imagined exclusively as male simply through cultural conditioning (think of words such as doctor, officer, etc.)  Though I wholeheartedly celebrate gender neutral services, my goal here is to create a space in which we can gain spiritual insight by openly stripping God of the tyranny of androcentrism. Only then, I believe, can we make our way toward meaningful gender-neutral worship. That said, use whatever words you like! This service is for all of us.

 

Officiant: Mother, open our lips,

All: And our mouth shall proclaim your love.

Officiant: O God, make speed to save us.

All: O God, make haste to help us.

All: Glory to the Mother, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

 

The Invitatory

 

Venite

(Adapted from Psalm 95:1-7)

Come, let us sing to our Mother;

let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before her presence with thanksgiving

and raise a loud shout to her with psalms.

 

All: Our Mother is full of compassion and mercy: O come, let us worship.

 

For our Mother is a great God,

her love is present through all creation.

In her hand are the caverns of the earth,

and the heights of the hills are hers also.

The sea is hers for she made it,

and her hands have moulded the dry land.

 

All: Our Mother is full of compassion and mercy: O come, let us worship.

 

 

Come, let us pray and give thanks,

and be joyful before our Mother.

For she is our God,

and we are the people of her pasture and the

sheep of her hand.

Oh, that today you would hearken to her voice!

 

All: Our Mother is full of compassion and mercy: O come, let us worship.

Glory to the Mother, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen. Alleluia!

 

The Proclamation of the Word

 

Officiant: God be with you.

All: And also with you.

Officiant: The Holy Gospel is written in the 8th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark.

All: Glory to thee, God.

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that is was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

The Gospel of Christ.

All: Praise be to thee, O’ Christ.

 

 

Jubilate

(adapted from Psalm 100)

 

Be joyful in the Mother, all you lands;

serve the Mother with gladness

and come before her presence with a song.

 

Know this: God is our Mother;

she herself has made us, and we are hers;

we are her people and the sheep of her pasture.

Enter her gates with thanksgiving;

Go into her house with praise;

give thanks to her and call upon her name.

 

For the Mother is good;

her love is everlasting;

and her faithfulness endures from age to age.

 

Reflection and Sharing

(The gathered share a moment of silence and then reflection on today’s readings.)

 

Affirmation of Faith

 

Adaptation of the Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God,

the Mother of all people,

Creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, her Son, our Brother.

He was conceived by the power of Sophia

and born of Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven,

and is seated beside the Mother.

I believe in Sophia, the Holy Spirit,

the church gathered throughout the world,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

And life everlasting. Amen.

 

 

Intercessions and Thanksgivings

The gathered present their prayers of thanksgiving and need after which the people say…)

All: Mother, hear our prayer.

 

The People’s Prayer

 

Officiant: Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray:

All: Our Mother who walks with us,

hallowed be thy name,

your kindom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our lack of compassion

as we forgive those who lack compassion toward us.

Save us from our own sin,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kindom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.

 

Dismissal

 

Officiant: Let us bless our Mother.

All: Thanks be to God.

 

Officiant: The grace of our brother, Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

 

All: Amen.

 

 

 

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