Last week, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I held a rally / memorial in my community in support of women’s rights to full bodily autonomy and choice. A friend and clergy member, Jill Terwilliger, wrote a truly beautiful prayer for the event. Jill feels especially called in her work to support feminist and LGBTQ issues. She landed this prayer so hard it gave me full-body shivers. I wanted to share it:
God of Love
Ground of all Being
Hear our prayer
We gather this day in grief.
We grieve for women who have lost their lives due to restricted access to abortion and to personhood laws that prioritize the life of the fetus over the life of the woman.
We grieve for women who have lost their autonomy, and the freedom to determine their own future.
We grieve for women forced into impossible, limited choices, and for the judgment women suffer when others fail to understand that we make these choices out of love and in hope.
We gather in grief and we pray:
May the strength of sisterhood help us in our healing, and
May the right of self-determination become the norm and restore our dignity.
We gather this day in hope.
Motherhood is a sacred trust between woman and Spirit and new life.
We gather in hope that we can trust a woman to know if this moment is the right time for herself to bring new life into the world.
We gather in hope that telling our stories, and listening with compassion, can change the conversation.
We gather in hope and we pray:
May perseverance be with us whenever the road turns back, and
May those fear and seek to control, gain faith that woman and Spirit can be trusted to nurture life in the ways that are most needed.
We gather this day in thanks.
We give thanks for embodiment, for these bodies we live in, for these bodies we ARE, for these bodies through which we know the world, for these bodies that have the power to create new life. We give thanks for the wisdom of our bodies, and for our born ability to discern for ourselves if, when and how we will bring new life into this world.
And we give thanks for all who have gone before in this struggle, the brave women – and men – who have changed laws, and who have changed medicine, and who have changed hearts, and who have changed lives, and who have had their lives taken from them because of their work.
We gather in thanks and we pray:
May we remember that the great commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” starts with – requires – self-love, and
May we use our grief and our hope, our rage and our gratitude, to fuel our work and our witness.
Spirit of Life,
God of Love,
Ground of all Being
It is time for a great turning.
From patriarchy to equality
From paternalism to autonomy
From punishment to support
From judgment to grace.
From controlling-fear to life-giving freedom, and love.
Jill blogs about food and spirituality over at nourishus.