On November 18, Trans-Cendence International and Galileo Church hosted a TDOR service to honor the struggle of trans and gender-diverse people. This bidding prayer was offered at the beginning of the service.
O God of creative energy and power, God of nothing-spoken-into-something, God of all that is and has been and ever shall be, you are the Artist of life, and we are your artwork. With your hands you have formed us from the dust of the ground; with your mouth you have blown your Spirit into our lives. You have made us in your own image; male AND female you have made us, not either/or, but both, and all. Our beauty is reflective of your own: because you are beautiful, we are beautiful.
Friends, let us pause to contemplate our own beauty in the light of our Creator’s beauty.
[light first candle; strike the bell]
O God of our ancestors, God of humanity through the ages, you know that our beauty is marred by brokenness. We your people have defaced the earth, spoiling the air and land and water. But nothing is as tragic as the way human beings hurt one another. Those who are made in your beautiful image look on the faces of one another and see something to fear, or hate, or hurt. Tonight we are especially aware of how your trans and gender-diverse children have suffered under the cruel hands of fear and hate.
Friends, let us pause to contemplate the hurt that the trans community has endured.
[light second candle; strike the bell]
O God of power, strong Shepherd of the flock, we plead your protection for the vulnerable ones in our world. For the poor, for children, for those in places that are wrecked by violence and warfare. Tonight we are especially mindful of the vulnerability of those who do not conform to society’s expectations for physical appearance and gendered roles. We ask for your strong arm and mighty hand to cover the trans and gender-diverse community with protection. We ask you to grant courage to those who face the potential for harm every single day.
Friends, let us pause to contemplate our own vulnerability, and ask God’s protection.
[light third candle; strike the bell]
O God of compassion, gentle Mother of us all, we know that when we weep, you weep along with us. Tonight there will be tears as we push ourselves to remember the lost lives of those who fell victim to the violence of bigots and hatemongers. There will be tears as we consider our own vulnerabilities. We ask that you would be near to the brokenhearted, as you have promised; we ask that you come near to us tonight as we move more deeply into our remembrance. We pray that our remembrance will grow the seeds of compassion in our own hearts.
Friends, let us pause to dwell in God’s compassion for us, and our own compassion for each other.
[light fourth candle; strike the bell]
O God of empowerment, God who hates injustice, God whose Spirit fills us and transforms us, make us strong. Strengthen us to stand against injustices large and small. Fortify us for legislative battles when the civil rights of trans and gender-diverse people are threatened. Shore us up to push back against belittling portrayals of trans and gender-diverse persons in entertainment. Help us to speak up against micro-aggressions and bullying and public harassment and obvious discrimination. Reinforce the bank accounts of organizations that fight for the rights and dignity of all people, and especially trans and gender-diverse people. Make us strong, for ourselves and for each other.
Friends, let us pause to feel our own strength increasing for the battles that lie ahead.
[light fifth candle; strike the bell]
O God of human connection, Lover of love, be present in our relationships. Where our families of origin fail us, give us a sparkling rainbow of many colors, our family of choice. Redouble the love that those gathered here tonight feel for each other, and may that love kindle a blazing bonfire of love for every trans and gender-diverse person out there who does not yet know that they are not alone. There is power in community. There is mercy in belonging. Bind us together in love, we pray.
Friends, let us pause to give thanks for the love that is in this room tonight.
[light sixth candle; strike the bell]
O God of light and truth, whose radiance shines through the darkness, be light for us in the gloom of this night. Expose what is most broken in this world, and illuminate the way forward. We long for the day when a Trans Day of Remembrance will no longer be necessary; a day when all your beautiful children across the whole spectrum of multiple identities will feel themselves welcome in each other’s hearts. Your promises of protection and compassion, empowerment and love, have begun to brighten. Shine forth, O God, and show us the way.
Friends, let us pause to dream about a future when fear and hatred have faded into memory, and love reigns in the hearts of all.
[light seventh candle; strike the bell]
O non-gendered, non-gendering God, our lives are in your hands, and you never let us go, even in death. We know you have received the souls of trans and gender-diverse people who have died this year and through the decades; we know that they are held in your heart, as they are in ours. For your presence among us tonight, we give you thanks. Amen.