Calls to Worship & Prayers

Calls to Worship


We gather together
in the name of the One who bids us come.
We gather together
to hear the words of the One who is Love.
We gather together
to sing praises of the One who teaches peace.
Come, let us worship!

~ The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada Worship Service—Peace in Community, prepared by Miriam Spies.  http://www.united-church.ca/worship

The invitation is given to every person by Jesus Christ:
“Come to me! Follow me! Be my disciples!”
We come to this place, to this time, at the invitation of Jesus Christ.
In the name of Christ,
we accept the invitation to discipleship.
In the name of Christ,
as his disciples, we worship and praise God.
In the midst of a world where cruelty abounds,
we proclaim the God of Compassion.
In the midst of despair that threatens to swallow up whole lives, whole peoples,
we proclaim the God of Hope.
In the midst of indifference and apathy,
we proclaim the God of Love.
Come, let us worship together
and share our witness of God’s living presence in the world. (NYC worship committee)

~ from the On Earth Peace website

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news.
Who publish peace, who bring good tidings,
who publish salvation, and proclaim,
“Your God reigns!”
God will judge among many peoples,
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and nation shall not lift up sword against nation:
neither shall they learn war any more.
Let us lift up our voices
and praise the God of peace and justice.

~ from the National Council of Churches USA website

Prayers of Confession


O Prince of peace,
from peace that is no peace,
from the grip of all that is evil,
from a violent righteousness…
deliver us.

from paralysis of will,
from lies and misnaming,
from terror of truth…
deliver us.

From hardness of heart,
from trading in slaughter,
from the worship of death…
deliver us.

By the folly of your gospel,
by your choosing our flesh,
by your nakedness and pain…
heal us.

By your weeping over the city,
by your refusal of the sword,
by your facing of horror…
heal us.

By your bursting from the tomb,
by your coming in judgment,
by your longing for peace …
heal us.

Grant us peace. Amen.

~ source unknown

As sabers rattle in lands both close and distant
we confess that we are in pain,
fear has taken root in the souls of our being.
Even as we turn to the parables,
familiar stories that we thought we loved,
we find troubling stories offering ever more questions.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
have mercy upon us.

We are loathe to take account of the many ways
in which we unwittingly profit
from the machinery of war and greed.
Still we read the parables of Jesus
which fly in the face of social convention
offending those who dare to listen.

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
have mercy upon us.

Believing that we are insignificant,
and at the same time fearful that we might become so,
we are timid to use our voices to speak truth to a world of war.
Now the parables of Jesus offer a new vision;
now the servants dine and the masters serve,
now the last becomes and the first becomes last.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
have mercy upon us.

Hear the good news of the Story
that no sheep is unworthy of rescue,
no coin too small to be missed.
Hear the good news
that love is stronger than hate
and that this power is alive within you
now and forever.

Amen.

~ based upon Jesus’ parables. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.
Posted on her website, Liturgy Outside the Box.

Oh Lord,
All around us people cry “peace” when there is no peace.
How can there be peace when voices are silenced, people suffer, and rights are denied?
How can there be peace when bombs are falling, countries are at war, and justice is denied?

Oh Lord,
All too often we are the ones who cry “peace” when there is no peace.
How can there be peace when people around us are lonely, stereotyped, and abused?
How can there be peace when our own nations use violence in the pursuit of peace?

Oh Lord,
We confess our brokenness.
We confess our complicity.
We confess our contentment with “peace” that is only about our own personal well-being.

Oh Lord,
Draw us to yourself, that we might live in your grace and pardon.
Challenge us to see through false declarations of “peace.”
Empower us to be peacemakers.

Oh Lord,
We stand at the crossroads and look.
Show us the ancient paths, where the good way lies.
Give us the courage to walk in it, that all may find rest for their souls.  Amen.

~ posted on MCC Canada’s Prayers for Peace page

Prayers for Others


Reconciling Christ, bless our efforts to bring about reconciliation.
Give us the strength to persevere without counting the hurts,
and to find within ourselves the capacity to keep on loving.

Give us the grace to be able to stand in the middle of situations,
and to be a conduit for the deep listening
which can lead to healing and forgiveness.

Help us to conduct ourselves with dignity,
giving and expecting respect, moving from prayer to action,
and from action back again into prayer.

Grant that we may be so grounded in your love,
that our security is not threatened if we change our minds,
or begin to see a better way to act.

Bless those who are called to reconcile on a large-scale –
politicians, world leaders, leaders of business,
and those who stand in the midst of bitter conflict.

Reconciling Christ, bless us and bless all who engage
in the sacred work of envisioning new wholeness,
and bringing people and nations together.  Amen.

~ written by Ann Siddall, in Lent to Easter liturgies: Year C.
Posted on the website of the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre

We are grateful at heart
for how Christ Jesus brought God to human beings,
and humanity to God.

We are grateful at heart
that there is reconciliation amongst the nations of Europe,
and for the work of reconciliation where its fruits are realised
for many countries around the world.

We are grateful for the inheritance in peace and justice that is ours,
and that it is in our hands to pass it on.

We pray for those for whom this is a time of pain and loss;
for those for whom painful memories become fresh;
for those far from loved ones, and for the loved ones who wait for them.

We pray for those people who are in the many places in the world
that are far from peaceful,
who hear the sound of approaching war-planes,
to whom the shock of the bombs comes without warning,
whose necessary activities are interrupted by gunfire and shelling,
for whose children it is unsafe to continue in education.

Lord Jesus, within whose experience it was
to share in the daily life of a human community,
strengthen those for whom every day things are a struggle,
for whom feeding their children does not come easily,
for whom finding work seems like a lost cause,
for whom having a secure roof over their heads
would be a dream come true.

Christ, glorious beyond imagining,
surrounded by hallowed ones gathered into the perfection of your presence,
unite our prayers and praises with theirs,
that every generation may exalt you,
with the Father and the Spirit one God,
blessed for ever.

Amen.

~ written by Rev Robert K. Mackenzie
Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website

We bring to you
the suicide bomber
strapping explosives to her chest
in Afghanistan
and the reasoning
behind an act that seems
almost inhuman.

We bring to you
the politician
who rejects the rule of law
for one of terror
who clings to power
through the cruel persuasion
of torture.

We bring to you
influential people
with the opportunity to make
a difference
and who fail
because of complicity
or weakness.

~ Copyright © John Birch, posted on Faith and Worship – Prayers and Resources http://www.faithandworship.com/

Affirmations


I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events around us.
I refuse to believe we are bound by racism, war, and injustice.
I believe those around me are my brother and my sister.
I believe in dignity every day and that our brokenness can be healed.
I believe we can overcome oppression and violence, without resorting to it.
This means I seek to reject revenge and retaliation.
I remember, “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can.”

~ drawn from the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Abigail Reichard, a student at Christian Theological Seminary.
Posted on  the Disciples of Christ Council on Christian Unity website

Jesus taught us to speak of hope as the coming of God’s kingdom.
We believe that God is at work in our world
turning hopeless and evil situations into good.
We believe that goodness and justice
will triumph in the end
and that tyranny and oppression cannot last forever.
One day all tears will be wiped away;
the lamb will lie down with the lion,
and justice will roll down like a mighty stream.
True peace and true reconciliation are not only desired,
they are assured and guaranteed in Christ.
This is our faith.
This is our hope.

~ 20th century South African creed.
Posted on the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren website

Oh Lord,
All around us people cry “peace” when there is no peace.
How can there be peace when voices are silenced, people suffer, and rights are denied?
How can there be peace when bombs are falling, countries are at war, and justice is denied?

Oh Lord,
All too often we are the ones who cry “peace” when there is no peace.
How can there be peace when people around us are lonely, stereotyped, and abused?
How can there be peace when our own nations use violence in the pursuit of peace?

Oh Lord,
We confess our brokenness.
We confess our complicity.
We confess our contentment with “peace” that is only about our own personal well-being.

Oh Lord,
Draw us to yourself, that we might live in your grace and pardon.
Challenge us to see through false declarations of “peace.”
Empower us to be peacemakers.

Oh Lord,
We stand at the crossroads and look.
Show us the ancient paths, where the good way lies.
Give us the courage to walk in it, that all may find rest for their souls.  Amen.

~ posted on MCC Canada’s Prayers for Peace page

Prayers of Confession


O Prince of peace,
from peace that is no peace,
from the grip of all that is evil,
from a violent righteousness…
deliver us.

from paralysis of will,
from lies and misnaming,
from terror of truth…
deliver us.

From hardness of heart,
from trading in slaughter,
from the worship of death…
deliver us.

By the folly of your gospel,
by your choosing our flesh,
by your nakedness and pain…
heal us.

By your weeping over the city,
by your refusal of the sword,
by your facing of horror…
heal us.

By your bursting from the tomb,
by your coming in judgment,
by your longing for peace …
heal us.

Grant us peace. Amen.

~ source unknown

As sabers rattle in lands both close and distant
we confess that we are in pain,
fear has taken root in the souls of our being.
Even as we turn to the parables,
familiar stories that we thought we loved,
we find troubling stories offering ever more questions.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
have mercy upon us.

We are loathe to take account of the many ways
in which we unwittingly profit
from the machinery of war and greed.
Still we read the parables of Jesus
which fly in the face of social convention
offending those who dare to listen.

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
have mercy upon us.

Believing that we are insignificant,
and at the same time fearful that we might become so,
we are timid to use our voices to speak truth to a world of war.
Now the parables of Jesus offer a new vision;
now the servants dine and the masters serve,
now the last becomes and the first becomes last.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
have mercy upon us.

Hear the good news of the Story
that no sheep is unworthy of rescue,
no coin too small to be missed.
Hear the good news
that love is stronger than hate
and that this power is alive within you
now and forever.

Amen.

~ based upon Jesus’ parables. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.
Posted on her website, Liturgy Outside the Box.

Oh Lord,
All around us people cry “peace” when there is no peace.
How can there be peace when voices are silenced, people suffer, and rights are denied?
How can there be peace when bombs are falling, countries are at war, and justice is denied?

Oh Lord,
All too often we are the ones who cry “peace” when there is no peace.
How can there be peace when people around us are lonely, stereotyped, and abused?
How can there be peace when our own nations use violence in the pursuit of peace?

Oh Lord,
We confess our brokenness.
We confess our complicity.
We confess our contentment with “peace” that is only about our own personal well-being.

Oh Lord,
Draw us to yourself, that we might live in your grace and pardon.
Challenge us to see through false declarations of “peace.”
Empower us to be peacemakers.

Oh Lord,
We stand at the crossroads and look.
Show us the ancient paths, where the good way lies.
Give us the courage to walk in it, that all may find rest for their souls.  Amen.

~ posted on MCC Canada’s Prayers for Peace page

Prayers of Commitment


God of the dispossessed,
defender of the helpless,
you grieve with all the women who weep,
because their children are no more;
may we also refuse to be comforted
until the violence of the strong has been confounded,
and the broken victims have been set free
in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

~ written by Janet Morley, in A Collection of Prayers for Peace
Posted on the World Council of Churches website

When we are tempted to add our noise
to the shouting of opinions and doctrines,
Teach us, O Christ, the art of quiet proclamation.

When we face the crashing of guns and missiles,
and the loud justifications of violence,
Teach us, O Christ, the art of quiet proclamation.

When we are overwhelmed by the wails of those who grieve and suffer,
and by the muzak of those who deny the world’s pain,
Teach us, O Christ, the art of quiet proclamation.

When we are lured by the song of materialism,
and lulled by the lullaby of the immediate and the expedient,
Teach us, O Christ, the art of quiet proclamation.

In all the places where your love and justice are unheard,
where the song of your grace is silenced,
and where the noise of sin robs people of life,
Teach us to hear the whispers of your reign,
and to quietly, gently, persistently
proclaim your Gospel in word and action.
Amen.

~ Copyright John van de Laar, on his excellent website

Loving God of power and justice and peace,
In our broken world
We seek a new order
where there is courage to speak truth to power
We seek a new order
where there is mutual support in church and community
We seek a new order
where there is abundant time for healing
We seek a new order
where there is peace and freedom for all

~ from the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website

Benedictions


Send us into the world’s turbulence as instruments of Your peace,
and send us as agents of Your justice,
that all might know the truth of Your ways.

Send us as artists
who bear the joyful burden of Your creativity,
that we might bring light into the darkness,
and hope among the despairing.

And grant us the joy of fellowship,
with Your Spirit and with one another,
this day and forever. Amen!

~ written by Rev. Mark S. Burrows, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, Andover Newton Theological School.  Included in the Spring, 1998 issue of Connections magazine. Posted in an archive collection of worship resources

May you grow still enough to hear
the small noises earth makes in preparing for the long sleep of winter,
so that you yourself may grow calm and grounded deep within.

May you grow still enough to hear
the trickling of water seeping into the ground,
so that your soul may be softened and healed,
guided in its flow.

May you grow still enough to hear
the splintering of starlight in the winter sky
and the roar at earth’s fiery core.

May you grow still enough to hear
the stir of a single snowflake in the air
so that your inner silence may turn into hushed expectation.

Peace….. the angel announced.
But peace is as much task as gift.
Only if we become calm as earth,
fluid as water,
and blazing as fire
will we be able to rise to the task of peacemaking,
and the air will stir with the rush of wings of angels arriving to help us.

This is why I wish you that great inner stillness
which alone allows us to speak, even today,
without irony of “peace on earth”
and, without despair, to work for it.

~ written by Brother David Steindalrast, OSB, on the Process and Faith website

Now, go forth from this place with renewed inspiration to do the work of God.
Seek good, not evil, love goodness, and establish justice.
This the greatest offering we can make;
letting justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.
Go in peace, with love for our neighbors.

~ written by Phyllis Tenney, a former BVS volunteer.
Posted on the Church of the Brethren website