A Liturgy for the International Day of Peace

On Thursday, September 21st, Sanctuary recognized the International Day of Peace by working at Garfield Farm. We did this as a way to embody peace-- the slow, laborious, beautiful work of cultivation is peace with the land. It is reconciliation with the earth that has been harmed by human sinfulness, neglect, and abuse. As a community, we week to join with God in the reconciliation of all things-- the peacemaking that is always a part of the Kingdom of God's in-breaking. Peace is not only the absence of conflict. It is wholeness; it is completeness; it is flourishing. To get there, we must name discord and evil; we must create another way through nonviolence and cultivate goodness and beauty; and we must cooperate with and trust in God's peaceful Kingdom. In short, we're called to follow the way of Jesus in the world.

This liturgy is a way to shape us in the way of Jesus to do the work of peacemaking.

 

Call to Prayer

Hear the words of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

We gather this evening to celebrate the International Day of Peace. We gather this evening to participate in the peaceful reconciliation of all things to God the Father through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, we recognize that there is discord—within ourselves, between neighbors, in our institutions, between nations, and with the earth.

We will not proclaim peace, where there is no peace. But we will cry out to the Lord, trusting in the promise of the peaceable kingdom that draws near to us, even in this place at this time. Let us cry out this evening for the fullness of God’s peace—shalom—complete, thriving, nonviolent, love to reign in our world. As Psalm 34 urges us, may we “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God

 

Peace with Ourselves

We name the discord present within ourselves:

Depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, illness, chronic pain, doubt, stress, rage, burnout, low self-esteem, and fear...

Time for Silent Reflection/Prayers

We seek to do good and pursue your peace.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God

 

Peace with Families and Friends

We name the discord present in our relationships with our family and friends:

Divorce and separation; the pain of grief and loss of loved ones; the trauma of abuse and addiction; disconnection in relationship; evolving and conflicting worldviews; economic hardship and unemployment...

Time for Silent Reflection/Prayers

We seek to do good and pursue your peace.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God

 

Peace in Neighborhood and Cities

We name the discord present in our neighborhoods and cities:

Isolation of residents; lack of access to healthcare, clean water, healthy food, and heat; home loss and eviction; the opioid crisis; violence; the threat of gentrification and lack of compassionate development; poverty and homelessness; the loss of industries; weak community-police relations; and the segregation of our neighborhoods...

Time for Silent Reflection/Prayers

We seek to do good and pursue your peace.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God

 

Peace in our Nation

We name the discord present in our nation:

The plight of refugees and others seeking to make a home here; the fear of those facing deportation; lack of access to affordable healthcare; the continued reality of white supremacy in our systems, institutions, conscious and unconscious biases; the militarization of our police; the lack of accountability for police brutality; the divisiveness of our political parties; violence against trans persons; the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community; sexism; poverty; loss of life, damage to property, and fear caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, wildfires in the West, and hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. 

Time for Silent Reflection/Prayers

We seek to do good and pursue your peace.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God

 

Peace in the World

We name the discord present in the world:

The global refugee crisis; the threat of nuclear war; nuclear proliferation; the war in Syria; the continued conflict between Israel and Palestine and the oppression of the Palestinian people; the atrocities against Muslims taking place in Myanmar; our continued conflict in Afghanistan; the threat and violence of ISIS; inaction or threats to action on climate change; human trafficking; inhumane working conditions; poverty; famine; the loss of life, damage to property, and fear caused by the earthquake in Mexico, flooding in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, and the hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Time for Silent Reflection/Prayers

We seek to do good and pursue your peace.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God

 

Closing

This ground we stand on, this ground we cultivated this evening, is holy ground. It connects us to the whole of God’s creation—an interconnected web of relationship.

Triune God, guide our feet into the way of peace. May we beat swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks. May we care for your earth and your people. May we be peacemakers, who “sow in peace and reap a harvest of justice.” May your peace come on earth as it is in heaven.

God of peace, teach us the things that make for peace. 

We turn from the ways of evil, and we seek to do good and pursue your peace. 

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God. Amen.