Matthew 5:14-16 (NRSV)
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.
Each year, between November 13-19, we at Augsburg along with people around the world participate in Transgender Awareness Week. The week culminates on November 20, with Trans Day of Remembrance. Trans Awareness Week brings visibility to Transgender people and the particular issues the community faces. Today, on Transgender Day of Awareness, we remember those who have lost their lives in acts of anti-Trans violence in the last year.
The state of the world makes it easy to forget or push aside our responsibility to the Transgender community. We have so many other problems, a global pandemic, systemic racism, and on and on. This chaotic time in this chaotic world is exactly why we need this week, and this day. For far too long, and still today, members of the Trans community have been pushed aside, and worse. Dignity, humanity, even the right to exist and live as who they truly are has been denied. Ignorance, misinformation, and plain cruelty continues to foster a society that does not let all of our siblings live out who our God has created them to be, and in some cases, their light to be extinguished too soon.
God of all creation, your wisdom, your love and your mystery are boundless. You have many names, which are beyond all gender expression. We give you thanks for the gift of diverse gender identity, expression, and sexuality. We acknowledge the times we deny that gift by holding too tightly to expectations of conformity and norms. We have created these divisions and use them against one another. We know this is not your will or your way. Help us to act mercifully and show grace to all of your people, as you have done for us.
O Mysterious Maker of womxn, men, all that is in between, outside, and none at all. We come before you today with sorrow in our hearts. We remember those who have lost their lives because they did not conform to the gender roles society expects. We lament at the continued suffering, oppression, rejection and struggle of our siblings of all gender identities. Grant them strength, support, and love to accept and be accepted who they are.
We acknowledge the harm prejudice and ignorance has knowingly and unknowingly caused. Help soften hearts and give wisdom and understanding that in the sight of God, all are equally Beloved simply because of our existence. Open hearts and minds to embrace and support one another so that all may let their light shine before others by living out their Truth.
In the name of the One who is beyond all norm, amen.