Rite of Passage to Adulthood Liturgy
Assign readers from community as indicated by blank spaces. Find a list of liturgical supplies at the end.
A Voice through the Door – Rumi
Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
calling you, as a fish out of water
hear the waves, or a hunting falcon
hears the drum’s Come back. Come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you. Read the book of your life,
which has been given you.
A voice comes to your soul saying,
Lift your foot. Cross over.
Move into the emptiness
of question and answer and question.
(Name of young person), today we celebrate your transition from childhood into young adulthood, from boyhood into being a young man. What lies before you is a huge adventure – a story that you are co-authoring with God and the rest of us. We have gathered here as family and friends to bear witness to your life. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14) and you have already done amazing things
Amazing Things (______________________)
Customize a list of amazing things about young person
- Such as story of birth
- Good deeds and kindnesses
- What young person loves
- What kind of family member young person is
(Name of young person), you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You will do things you never thought possible and your soul will become bigger than your biggest dream. Drink life like water and death like wine… be not afraid, dear one.
Holding the Mystery (________________________)
We stand before the mystery that is your life filled with awe and full of delight. Life holds great beauty as well as great affliction. Your task is to receive beauty in one hand and affliction in the other, honoring both of them.
• A rose in one hand: Given by Grandmother or elder – (______________________)
• A piece of ice in the other: Given by Grandfather or elder – (_____________________)
And so we stand with you at the threshold of your adventure and we declare for you what God declared to all of creation. (Name of young person), your life… all of it… the good and the bad, the successes and failures, the beauty and affliction – all of it is – good, good and VERY GOOD (Gen. 1).
Jesus began his great adventure with a blessing from the Father. We offer this blessing to you now… (Mark 1:11)
• Father: You are my son/daughter whom I love and I really like you.
• Mother: You are my son/daughter whom I love and I really like you.
• Community (ALL): You are our son/daughter whom we love and we really like you.
(Name of young person), the adventure that lies ahead is bigger than you – way bigger. You are human, imperfect, limited. You will make mistakes. You’ll need help. One day you will leave home and chart your own path. But life is not like a mountain that you conquer. It is not like a math problem that you solve. It is a mystery – a huge amazing mystery. Like all mysteries it wants to be experienced, not explained. It holds great joy but it also holds failure, frustration and futility. The mystery of life includes death. Life and death are one, not two!
God told Adam when he left his garden home, ”From dust you came and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). This is a hard but liberating truth.
Yes, death is certain, but do not be afraid, it opens more doors than it closes (1 Cor. 15:55). Everything you love will one day pass through death, even your dreams will die – at least the parts that are too small. This can be very painful. But do not be afraid. God gives beauty for ashes (Is. 61:3). You can count on it! Your deepest desires are already yes, in Jesus (Ps. 37:4). Do not be afraid.
Imposition of Ashes (____________________)
(Name of young person) will have written out some hopes and dreams before hand… these will be burnt and the ashes will be imposed on his forehead with these words: “From Dust you came and to dust you shall return.”
Celebration of Life (______________________)
(Name of young person), adulthood is not all doom and gloom. We are here to remind you that there is great joy that lies ahead. You have tasted this joy already. In fact, Jesus’s first miracle was to throw a huge party (John 2:1-12). He made 120 gallons of the best wine. That’s a lot of wine! Perhaps one day you will fall in love, have a family of your own, do good work, and love this wild and crazy world, especially people and places that are labeled the least. Let the beauty that awaits you break your heart wide open to the goodness of life.
Drink deeply of the wine of gladness (Eccl. 9:7).
Young person drinks a small glass of good wine; (___________________ serves young person)
Journey to the Cross (_________________________)
(Name of young person), beauty and affliction are trusted guides. They will lead you to the place of transformation. It’s a very strange place called the Cross. It is the place where caterpillars become butterflies – where boys become men, where girls become women, where wounded souls become fully human. It holds the deepest mystery of all. At the cross, beauty and affliction meet face to face and greet each other with a holy kiss. (Name of young person), do not be afraid. God meets you there and there you will know the secret that has been hidden since the foundation of the world (Matt. 13:35). At the cross you will come to know yourself for who you really are – your deepest and Truest Self. Jesus is revealing this secret even now. And here it is: (name of young person), you are FORGIVEN. God loves you and God really likes you, no matter what and you are completely free in Christ! Wear this cross as a sign of the secret that is hidden in you.
(________________________ presents young person with the cross)
________________________ (Name of young person), the cross is not the end of the story. Jesus came to his disciples in the resurrection. He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” And then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whomever you forgive is forgiven. Whomever you refuse to forgive, well then, you retain their sins as though they were your own” (John 20:21-23).
________________________ (Name of young person), receive the Holy Spirit that gives you the power to live out your highest calling. Yes, your highest calling is to forgive. It is how you become your truest self. It is how you become bigger than you ever thought possible and do greater things than you ever imagined (Eph. 3:20). It frees you to play the game that God wants to play.
________________________ (Name of young person), as you know, the breath we breathe is the very name of God. Take a moment to become aware of your own breath. Feel it. Every time we breathe we say God’s name. (Yah-wey, Yah-wey). (Name of young person), the first thing you did when you came into this world was breathe God’s name (Yah-wey) and the last thing you will do when you leave this world will be to breathe God’s name. God is with you in every breath you take empowering you to give and receive forgiveness. And so we all join you now in a moment of silence, breathing God’s name together: (Yah-wey, Yah-wey, Yah-wey)
Provisions For the Journey (_______________________)
(Name of young person), God gives you everything you need for the journey ahead: God gives you… a blessing, a bed, a bath, a meal, and a community of friends with whom to walk.
• Blessing: As a reminder of God’s blessing on your life the community presents you with the book of blessings. (____________________ presents the book)
• Bed: As a reminder that God begins the adventure with his own Sabbath rest the community presents you with a blanket inviting you to remember to get your rest and relax into the Goodness of life. (_____________________ presents the blanket)
• Bath: As a reminder that you have been bathed in Christ at your baptism the community sprinkles you with water. (_________________________ sprinkles
• Meal: As a reminder that God gives you food and drink for the journey we now celebrate the meal that Jesus gave us. (____________________ leads communion)
• Community: As a sign that you do not travel alone and are always part of a big and ever-growing community we light the candle of friendship and pray the Lord’s prayer together. (_________________________ lights candle and leads prayer)
(Name of young person),
• Will you embrace the adventure that is your life with an open heart, open mind and open hands?
• Will you honor the beauty and the affliction that is uniquely yours?
• Do you promise to always say please and thank you AND remember to lift and put down the toilet seat?
To the Community (_______________________)
• Do you promise to be a community of friends who bless (name of young person)‘s journey?
(Name of young person), do you receive the blessing of God and this community?
(Name of young person), do you have any words you would like to share before we give you one final blessing?
Christ be with you. Christ within you.
Christ behind you. Christ before you.
Christ beside you. Christ to win you.
Christ to comfort and restore you.
Christ beneath you. Christ above you.
Christ in quiet and in danger.
Christ in hearts of those who love you.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
– St. Patrick
Go in peace.
1. Copies of liturgy for readers
2. Rose and ice
3. Five dreams written on paper – a bowl to burn in, lighter and water.
4. Glass and wine
6. Book of Blessings/or Bible
8. Water/basin for renewal of baptism
9. Communion set
10. Candle and lighter
Image: Stephanie Dunlap, Street Psalms
Stories that remind us what is possible when leaders undergo the Incarnational Movements.