Praying with Our Feet: A Service of Lament and Sending

The evening before the March for Our Lives, Sanctuary gathered to ground ourselves in prayer as we engaged in protest, demonstration, and civic action to work toward less gun violence in our country. Linked is an outline of that service, including Scripture, liturgical prayers, and a blessing.

As we again mourn the school shooting in Texas today, as well as many incidents of gun violence since this service, we wanted to share this resource as a way to find grounding for the necessary work of challenging and changing our laws and culture surrounding guns.

Below is our lament from that service, which we invite you to pray with us. For the full service PDF, click here.

 

Litany of Lament

For all the lives touched and torn by violence,

Tonight we mourn.

For the fascination with guns and weapons that claim the lives of the undefended and vulnerable,

Tonight we mourn.

For the media that glorifies violence and trivializes human life,

Tonight we mourn.

For choosing individual rights over peace in our communities,

Tonight we mourn.

For the teachers and students experiencing trauma and living in fear,

Tonight we mourn.

 

Merciful God, who does not raise up the sword except to break the chains that bind us, draw near to us in our mourning and grant us wisdom, courage, and strength to march onward in our grief.

 

God of Remembrance,

Let us not forget those who have died.

God of the prophets,

Guide us to speak truth to the powerful.

God of deliverance,

Release us from the grip of violence and guns.

God of justice,

Empower us to change this broken world.

God of comfort,

Help us to create spaces of sanctuary and healing.

God of shalom,

Teach us to be instruments of your peace.

 

Amen.

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.