I have been deeply honored and touched by the outpouring of support and love for the trans community over the last 24 hours. Here are the first 20 responses to my request for prayers for the trans community. The respondents range from ministers to seminary students to laity to folks who don’t even consider themselves religious.
Take a deep breath.
Think of a time you’ve felt alienated in your life from something you found really important.
Perhaps it was hard to think of a time, or you couldn’t really come up with one at all. Or maybe you couldn’t choose just one; being excluded or sidelined has been “the story of your life” for as long as you can remember.
Religious community, spirituality, worship either private or public, and belonging are all so, so important to so many people. To be told to leave, excluded either explicitly or implicitly, a religious community can put you in that space of doubt, that space of longing, and that space of deep and painful loneliness. Not all people need or want religious community. But for those that do, and who don’t have it, it’s hard.
Let these words lift YOU up, whether you are part of the transgender community or not. And please continue to send in your thoughts.
I have posted these in the order they were received with one exception; I placed my minister’s prayer first. Oh the joys of being my minister; they are manifold and strange.
God’s love is infinite and all-embracing. God’s love does not discriminate. God’s love does not reject. If you are trans, God’s love holds you tenderly—especially tenderly, because of the challenges you face in a society that is often ignorant and intolerant. You are good. You are whole. You are of God, in God, with God, always. Your soul shines with divine light.
Beloved child of the universe,
You are beautiful.
You are whole.
You are good.
You are sacred.
You are loved.
You are made in the image of Godde.
Friend, know that whoever you are, wherever you are, you are one of God’s dearly beloved, and that there is nothing in the world that can separate you from God’s love.
Our God, whom we call by many names, but who calls each of us “Beloved,”
I come in gratitude for the richness, the diversity, the great abundance of unique souls in this world. Thank you for the very complexity that distinguishes each one of us. May all people find those who will love and accept them, will value their distinctive beauty and spirits. May we each feel the presence of your transcending mystery, may we know that we are part of a process of life that is rooted in divine, emanating love, and may we feel the comfort of knowing that every one of us is cherished by God.
I pray that you feel loved tonight.
I pray that you find someone to joke with.
I pray that you find someone to love you for who you are, what you are and what you may become.
I pray that you find the strength to get up tomorrow.
I pray that you find the courage to speak clearly, even if you are trembling.
I pray that you find the humility to forgive others the unforgivable.
I pray that we’ll meet someday and that I might make you smile.
I pray that you’ll let me love you.
I’m trans, I pray, and I hope you do too. We need it.
Please know there are people in the world who love and support you just as you are – a human being who deserves kindness, love and respect just like every one else.
God loves us. We – all of us anywhere on the transgender spectrum – are manifestations of the wonder of creation. Anything less than joyful affirmation of who we are is not enough. So, dear ones, look in the mirror and smile; then call up your trans friends and let them know how grateful you are for them.
The church that does not celebrate you is not the church. Together, loving word by loving deed, we co-create God over and over and over again.
Spirit of creation, attend to us all. Heal our brokenness, comfort our bruised hearts, temper our tongues that we not hurt one another. God is love and love is all-powerful, greater than any hurt or hate or ignorance or shortcoming or even evil thing that we might do, to the earth, to each other, or to ourselves. The love of god is universal, available to us all, not just the ones we deem worthy. Please help me to remember that. Blessed be.
the best thing a person can do for the world is be themselves, honestly, openly- brave and beautiful. by letting your light shine out so that others can feel it gives others the courage to let their light shine too. we are all different, not one of us the same, but we all share a common bond: we want to be loved. the only place to start is with the self. love yourself first, share the beauty.
Whoever you are, that’s who you are. It’s unfortunate that we still live in a time where people who are considered “different” aren’t accepted or welcome to pray/worship/live/love in their own way. But that reality is all the more reason for you to stand up for yourself and be who you are. You shouldn’t have to answer to bullies who think less of you because you were born the way you were. Things will never change for the better if we let ignorance and fear rule our lives. Defying bullies may be scary, lonely, painful; but not being yourself is just as scary, lonely, and painful.
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.
I honestly can’t understand why people bother to spend their energy making trans people feel they aren’t accepted. It’s all based on fear, I know, but I so wish they would direct that energy elsewhere. Trans people have more than their share of struggle, so church people more than anyone else should reach out and make them feel welcome. Please know that there are churches and individuals with strong faith who want you to know that God loves you, not just if you’re Trans but because you’re Trans. God knows exactly who you are and loves you for exactly who you are.
The true Christians I’ve met agree with me; although we come to different conclusions when it comes to theology and philosophy, whatever higher powers there may be will accept people from all walks of life, regardless of skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, mental abilities, physical abilities, emotional abilities, thoughts, beliefs, hopes, dreams, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else I may have missed.
In short, if you’re Christian, you’re allowed to pray*. God loves you. And anyone calling themselves Christian who tells you otherwise is a hypocrite.
*I would like to comment that anybody, regardless of their religion or lack thereof is allowed to pray.
God of Justice and God of Wonder, God of Mystery and God of Holy Delight, here I am, just as I am. Creator and ever-changing abiding Love, sit here with me in my anger and my fear, in my yearning and in my emptiness, in my grief and in my becoming. God, how is it that people stand behind paper cutouts of You and shake their fists and scream their own fear and confusion to try and make me what and who I am not, to take away what you’ve given me that cannot to be taken away: this me that is. Am I not precious also in your sight? In your heart? In your hands? I have wandered through the nights and through the days seeking a place to grow, to flower, to love and be loved among people, to live and to create a life of love, of justice, of wonder, of healing laughter, of all kinds of goodness. I wander and I come to this place, God, my Beloved, in the garden of troubles and in the city of sorrow and in the fields of loneliness. Beloved, still here you are with me. Beloved, give me refuge when the world expects me to be what I am not, when masks are presented and people insist I stop being difficult and just go along with what makes them comfortable and destroys my heart. Beloved, let me just lean my head a while on your knee, hear your song in my spirit, and know that I am with you and you are with me, from the beginning and always, worthy of your love and loved and called to this place and this time to share all I have to give. Alleluia. Amen.
Rev. Chip Roush
Loving God who is beyond all categories, both Mother and Father, and still more yet, Bless us who live beyond categories on earth. Grant us strength and compassion; show us mercy. Teach us to love ourselves and others as you love us. Challenge us when we need it; console us when we want it. Wrap us in your love which is masculine and feminine and full and rich beyond all categories. Bless us and all beings. Amen.
Spirit of Life, we cry out in solidarity with our family, known and unknown to us, walking this earth in fear and loneliness and doubt. Let our love be known to them. Let our open hearts shine for them. Give us the strength and courage to shine brighter and more visibly than those who spew hate. Let us strew love before them.
The road of this life can be so hard. I don’t understand why some spirits find it so necessary to manifest their own fear and pain by hurting others, but I pray that those spirits open to understanding, compassion, healing, and at last peace. Let their hands, hearts, and voices turn from cruelty to acceptance.
Meanwhile, I pray especially for grace and strength for the wounded and lost. Where there is hurting, may there be help. Where there is injury, may there be health. Where there is confusion and loss, may there be peace and the gift of knowing that if any of us is a child of G_d, then we all must be, and that we all are equally loved, equally cherished, just exactly as we are.
When I was a Christian one of my favourite songs was “God Loves Everyone” by Ron Sexsmith.
It still is. If there is a god I have no doubt that s/he loves all of us.
If you stopped by this blog looking for answers about whether it is possible to be spiritual/religious/whole if you are transgendered, I want to assure you that it is. I don’t really have the right words myself, but I’d like to borrow from Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
Therefore … whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
I pray that all people who feel alienated by religion find a spiritual home full of love and acceptance. My God or higher power or whatever you’d like to call it does not hate trans people. I don’t believe hate has a place in spirituality. I pray you find comfort, acceptance, and love.
A reading from Scripture: “Then Adonai formed a human out of hummus and breathed into hir nostrils the breath of life and the human became a living being…but for the human no suitable complementary partner was found. Then the Adonai caused the human to fall asleep and Ze took one of hir sides and filled in the flesh in it’s place. Then the Adonai formed a woman from the half Ze had taken from the man.” Genesis 2:7, 20b-21
In the beginning, God made a human from hummus, a human made in Hir own image. The Rabbis tell us this human had no gender—or all genders—just like God. Then God pulled the human apart, from the side, top to bottom, and there were two, male and female as Ze made them. The Scripture goes on to tell us this is why a man leaves his family and cleaves to his wife—that they, together, make a whole. But, not all of us pull apart the same way. Some of us have a piece or two that reminds of the whole we were before. We have a brain or a body or a nagging sense of something lost. In the moments between sleep and waking we remember the wholeness and the dream trails our days and we long to embody that wholeness in our own flesh.
So we pray.
God, God the Avenging Amazon, God the Two-Spirit Shaman walking between worlds.
God—remind us of our wholeness.
Remind us of the gift we are to the world because we remember our wholeness.
Remind us of the days when we were priests and shamans because people knew we were a gift.
Remind us that we are each made in Your image
There are those who have forgotten. Help us to forgive their ignorance.
Be with us in our confusion, our grief, and our despair.
Lead us in the Way you have prepared for our feet
Grow in us the faith that we are who You have made us
Give us hope, give us courage, give us strength, give us love.
So may it be.
This is an accurate translation of the Hebrew from my study of contemporary textual criticism and Rabbinical literature. God does not have a gender in the Hebrew or Christian scriptures and this original human (the word play human/hummus is similar to the word play in Hebrew between Adam and the Hebrew word for ground). But, Hebrew does not have a gender neutral pronoun for God or for Adam. Sound familiar?
Adonai is the Hebrew that is translated into English Lord God.
If you’re stuck in a religious home that cannot study this text in a way that listens for the original meaning of the words, there are religious homes for you—Anglican, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Reformed Judaism, Unitarian Universalism—there are many of us who strive not to impose modern prejudices on the text nor absorb ancient prejudices into ours, instead looking for the God of liberation.
Find peace – you may always pray. It is your right, regardless of how you see yourself.
PLEASE feel free to share these prayers, individually or as a whole. I’d appreciate if you somehow referenced this blog as where they were found but the only rule is that you credit the writer if you choose to use them in any capacity.