Special Days

Season of Advent and Season of Lent

Advent 1: Peace in our World

On this first Sunday of Advent, we pray for peace in our world.
Headlines from the news this week:
(add appropriate headlines)

Peacemaking God, we turn to you in prayer.
The world around us trumpets violence and destruction.
Nations know war all too well.
Your invitation to carry an olive branch seems ludicrous
as the call to arms is sounded.
Help us to seek your reconciliation.
(Light one purple/blue candle)

Advent 2: Peace with the Earth

On this second Sunday of Advent,
we pray for peace with the earth.
Headlines from the news this week:
(add appropriate headlines)

Peacemaking God, we turn to you in prayer.
The earth groans under the weight of its human inhabitants.
Our trail is too often measured by its destruction.
The love you share for all of your creation atrophies in our hands.
Help us to seek your harmony.
(Light two purple/blue candles)

Advent 3: Peace in our Relationships

On this third Sunday of Advent,
we pray for peace in our relationships.
Headlines from the news this week:
(add appropriate headlines)

Peacemaking God, we turn to you in prayer.
As families and friends gather for the holiday season,
our collective stress level often reaches a tragic peak.
Domestic violence and substance abuse are on the rise again this season.
The very people we claim to love
can at the same time be the source of our pain.
Help us to seek your serenity.
(Light three purple/blue candles)

Advent 4: Peace within Ourselves

On this fourth Sunday of Advent,
we pray for peace within ourselves.
Headlines from the news this week:
(add appropriate headlines)

Peacemaking God, we turn to you in prayer.
Caught in the frenetic holiday rush,
a still small voice beckons from within.
Our frantic pace belies the aimlessness that holds us hostage.
Created for relationship, our isolation eats at the fabric of our being.
Help us to seek your tranquility.
(Light four purple/blue candles)

~ written by Katherine Hawker, 2001
Posted on Liturgy Outside

The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14)

God of love
hear the cry of those who yearn for love;
fractured families, broken homes
neglected, unwanted, alone.
God of love
hear our prayer

God of justice
hear the cry of those who yearn for justice;
persecuted and oppressed,
exploited, ill-treated, broken.
God of justice
hear our prayer

God of peace
hear the cry of those who yearn for peace;
in battle zones and broken states,
frightened, fearful, anxious
God of peace
hear our prayer

God of healing
hear the cry of those who yearn for healing;
physical and spiritual
hurting, weakened, depressed
God of healing
hear our prayer

God of mercy
Hear the cry of those who yearn for mercy;
convicted, in need of your Grace,
contrite, humble, bowed down,
God of mercy
hear our prayer

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1,2)

May you know
The peace of God
The love of God
The justice of God
The healing and mercy of God
This day and all days

~ written by John Birch
Posted on Faith and Worship

Days of Remembrance and Days of Peace

Prayer for Hiroshima Day

Like most traumatic scars,
the ones that are found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are permanent:
reminders of the terrible damage human beings can inflict.
Similar scars can be found in the hearts and souls of people around the world
who understand this terror: scars of grief, sadness, fear and even shame.
None of these scars promise an end to war and devastation.
Instead, they serve as a reminder of healing and renewal—of a return to life.

Gracious God, Spirit of Life and Love, help us to see our scars:
those we have created, those we are called to witness,
and those we can soothe and heal.
We are deeply grateful for the buds and blossoms
that even the most scarred offer as a revelation to the world.
And, especially on this 63rd anniversary of Hiroshima Day,
we renew our commitment to peace individually, collectively and globally:
To “peace within” which calms our anxieties and fears,
To “peace between” which overcomes differences, animosities and conflict,
And, to “the great peace”, beyond even our understanding,
that is Your gift and which we attempt to be stewards of for the world.

~ written by William G. Sinkford
Posted on the United Universalist Association of Congregations website

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in God,
creator of the world and of all people;
and in Jesus Christ,
incarnate among us, who died and rose again;
and in the Holy Spirit,
present with us to guide, strengthen, and comfort.

We believe.
Lord, help our unbelief.

We rejoice in every sign of God’s kingdom:
in the upholding of human dignity and community;
in every expression of love, justice, and reconciliation;
in each act of self-giving on behalf of others;
in the abundance of God’s gifts
entrusted to us that all may have enough;
in all responsible use of the earth’s resources.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God’s people on earth.

We confess our sin, individual and collective,
by silence or action:
through the violation of human dignity
based on race, class, age, sex, nation, or faith;
through the exploitation of people
by greed and indifference;
through the misuse of power
in personal, communal, national, and international life;
through the search for security
by military and economic forces
that threaten human existence:
through the abuse of technology
which endangers the earth and all life upon it.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

We commit ourselves individually and as a community
to the way of Christ;
to take up the cross;
to seek abundant life for all humanity;
to struggle for peace with justice and freedom;
to risk ourselves in faith, hope, and love,
praying that God’s kingdom may come.

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

~ from the 15th World Methodist Council, Nairobi, Kenya, 1986
Posted in A Service of Remembrance posted on the Uniting Church of Australia website

Prayer of Intercession for September 21

Lord, we pray for peace for those who weep in silence,
peace for those who cannot speak,
peace when all hope seems to disappear.

Silence is kept.

In the midst of rage, of violence and disappointment,
In the midst of wars and destruction of the earth,
Lord, show us your light in the darkness.

Silence is kept.

Lord, we pray for peace for those who raise their voices to demand it,
peace when there are many who do not wish to hear of it,
peace as we find the way to justice.

Silence is kept.

Keep your church free,
that it may be the channel through which justice and peace,
integrity and wholeness, harmony and goodwill
may flow to the dispossessed and the desperate,
that your kingdom may come in all its fulfillment of life and health and peace,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

~ from Prayer for Peace, adapted from materials from the World Council of Churches International Day of Peace, produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Copyright © 2009 World Council of Churches.
Posted on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America website

Remember: A Litany for Two Voices

Remember with clear eyes the horrific cost of war.
Remember with deep sorrow those who killed and were killed.
Remember with grief the blood-stained battlefields.
Remember with tears the rending of people from their homes.
Remember with compassion the bereaved and the wounded.
Remember with reverence those who risked their lives for peace.
Remember with tenderness the children’s longing for freedom.
Remember with gratefulness all who forgave their enemies.
Remember with hope that the kingdom is planted with small seeds.
Remember with confidence that faith, hope and love abide.
All: Remember with joy that our Saviour is the Prince of Peace.

~ written by Carol Penner
Posted on her Leading in Worship blog