Our Role in the Tragedy – A Prayer and Liturgy of Peace

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Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Eph 4:29-32 NLT)

We have to wonder what the role we should play in such times. Many of those who claim the name of Christ and church membership have in no small way contributed to this, and I believe we can say this even without knowing the motivations. We have done so in passivity to Jared Loughner, while a few have contributed to the rhetoric that is being blamed for urging him on. But, even without the absolute knowledge of his motivations, what support can we give to those who are connected in one way or another to this tragedy? I believe that it is as important as ever to understand the Church’s role in the world around us – and no, it is not to be God’s militant and ever conquering army, at least not in the way that the (quasi-)Domionists would have us believe.

We’ll meet in the morning, in our respective houses of worship. Some of us will pray with deep emotion of sadness and shame and a hope to see peace and righteousness emerge from this. Some will pray with gladness that God is judging us and see the deaths here as somehow due. Perhaps that is the real judgment – that we, as Dr. Linville said yesterday in a comment here, have lost compassion. Have we lost the sense of real justice, and real righteousness? Maybe not, I hope not. I hope that we can sit and pray and start to curb our rhetoric and to reach out to those who are ill and oppressed. Read Ephesians. Walk the Ephesians’ Road.

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Liturgies have been developed for certain things, seasons, events and such. This one seems fitting…

….

God blesses those who work for peace,For they will be called the children of God. (Matt 5:9)

(Silence)

God of peace you call us to peace.
Peace within and peace without
Peace before and peace behind
Peace on right and peace on left
Christ of peace you call us to peace.
Peace with brother and with sister
Peace with neighbour and with stranger
Peace with friend and with foe
Spirit of peace you call us to peace.
Peace in work and in play
Peace in thought and in deed
Peace in word and in action
Grant us peace O God of peace.

Psalm 122
1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 And now here we are,
standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is a well-built city;
its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4 All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—
make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord,
as the law requires of Israel.
5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David.
6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

John 14:23-27 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them. But anyone who doesn’t love me, won’t obey me. What they have heard me say doesn’t really come from me, but from the Father who sent me. I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.

Our Father who is in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

God all powerful and all knowing encircle us
Keep love within and fear without
Keep peace within and violence out
Circle us with your presence
God all loving and all embracing encircle us
Keep wholeness in and disease without
Keep care within and selfishness out
Circle us with your love
God all mighty and all caring encircle us
Keep truth within and injustice out
Keep acceptance in and prejudice out
Circle us with your peace

God may we be instruments of your peace today
In a world divided by war and strife
May we be your reconcilers
In a world of hurt and pain
May we be those who care for our enemies
In a world that kills and maims
May we be those who heal and restore

God lead us with your peace
Through the pathway of your love
To the promise of your kingdom,

The blessing of God be upon you.
The blessing of the God of life.
The blessing of Christ be upon you.
The blessing of the Christ of love.
The blessing of the spirit upon you.
The blessing of the spirit of peace.
The blessing of God be yours, now and evermore.
Amen

For others, you may enjoy this one.

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