This litany has been a long time coming. This is part one of a series on gender equality. Here is the prayer for the women's voices: Lament, and Hope for Moving Forward.
God, hear our lament now:
We have been meek.
We have done our duty.
We have cared for children and husbands and aging parents and sick folks.
We have cooked and cleaned and tended livestock and gardens.
We are ready for more.
We have been first to your birth, and first to your tomb.
We have been paid less for more work.*
We have been beaten and imprisoned for asserting our rights.
We have been abused, then shunned for divorcing our abusers.
We have been raped, then blamed for our own trauma.
We have been blamed for the sins of men, indeed the sins of the world.
We have let our dreams die because we were told it was your will.
We have been told No so many times that we have stopped asking for permission.
We have been sold; but you are telling us our worth
We have been soiled; but you are washing us anew.
We have been silenced; but you are giving us a voice.
We have been hidden; but you see us.
(ALL:) You have always seen us.
We see you:
Making room for us at the table,
Opening our mouths to speak,
Strengthening our hearts,
Educating our minds,
Honoring our martyrs.
(ALL:) You are redeeming us.
Even now equality is making glorious progress in the world,
expanding along with the Kingdom of God.
Even now strong women are rising up to make change,
to lead, to correct, to work for peace.
Even now men and women are working together,
each acknowledging their need for the others’ perspective.
Even now more places are being set at the table,
for the inclusion of women alongside men,
slave and free,
young and old,
every nation and language,
every background and gift-mix.
(ALL:) Hallelujah! Thanks be to God!
We partner with you, Living God,
To remake hierarchy into equality.
To replace violence with peace.
To remake retribution into kindness.
To abolish comparison and celebrate uniqueness.
To transform weakness into strength.
To transform fear into confidence.
To replace apathy with assertiveness.
To replace exploitation with justice.
To replace oppression with mercy.
Make of us strong leaders and wise advocates;
Hands that work for justice, and voices that speak truth,
Students that dig deeply, and priests that call upon your presence.
*Right now, women in the U.S. are paid, on average, 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.