The Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County (www.uucdc.org) has provided a very warm welcome to my parish, St. Mary of Grace Independent Catholic Church (www.inclusivecatholics.org) -- we have been meeting in their church since May. As a welcoming congregation, they fly a rainbow flag in front of the church as a sign of their embrace of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Unfortunately, their flag was stolen, vandalized, and returned. In response, the Unitarian Universalist church had a series of candlelight vigils culminating in a beautiful service held last Tuesday night. Their minister gave a beautiful reflection: http://uucdc.org/sermon_112106_paper_beats_rock.html. I offered a prayer, and Fr. Joseph offered a scripture reading. Below is the prayer I offered:
Loving God, We adore you, the Source of all life and the giver of life in all of its diversity. You developed the lavish beauty of creation over the ages through the prism of evolution. Creator of pregnant seahorse fathers, the duck-billed platypus, and gay penguins, You placed the rainbow across the sky as a sign of the covenant between humanity and the Divine, reflecting the Light of the Divine in many colors.
We come to you this evening broken and saddened. We are angry at the defilement of sacred symbol and the attack on principles we hold dear. We are saddened by the demonstration of hatred in our midst. We are frustrated that our efforts have not borne more fruit.
We ask you to heal us and our entire community. Let us not hate those who have perpetrated this act of malice, but inspire us to pray for their healing, too. Let us not be discouraged from our work to bring forward the Beloved Community, but let us be strengthened for even greater service.
We pray for special blessings on all of your lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender servants. Hasten the day when all who act in your name will fully welcome them into their embrace. Heal the hardened hearts of officials who refuse to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Strengthen, comfort, and uphold all young people struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity, and be with us as we create a society in which all are welcomed as they were created to be. Lead us to live in love and renew us in our desire and work to eliminate racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, war, and poverty from our midst.
And as we are being healed of our pain this night, let us not forget to be grateful for the many blessings with which you have enriched our lives. Strengthen us for service to You and to creation.
And let us say, Amen.