Liturgical Essentials

A Memorial Day Weekend “Call to Worship”

We gather on a somber holiday.
We remember with sadness those we have loved and lost.
Let us not glorify the conflicts and violence that tear our loved ones from us.
Let us, rather, give glory to God, who calls us to use our freedom peaceably.
Our God is a God of all nations and peoples.
May our worship of God unite rather than divide.

From “Ministry Matters” Worship Resources

Peace-full liturgy for August 23, 2009 (OT 22/Proper 16 – B)

A colleague asked me to write a liturgy focusing on peace for this Sunday, as he is preaching on that slant from Ephesians. Here is what I wrote (with allusions from the other scriptures for the day), in case others might find it helpful.

Call to Worship
Blessed are all who live in peace:
who find their true strength in humility,
who discover the deep rooted gift of serenity.
Blessed are all who travel along the peace highway:
who move easily along the paths of friendship and good will.
Blessed are all who find a home in peace:
who find a day in God’s contentedness to be better
than a thousand in disarray.

Prayer of the Day
There is no God like you,
Crafter of Peace:
when worries cause our children
to toss and turn in the night,
we can cradle them in your peace;
when anger is a pebble in our shoes,
rubbing our souls raw,
we can soak them
in your tranquil pools of life.

There is no friend as you,
Gatekeeper of Peace:
when we trip over our frustrations
trying to keep up with you,
you reach out handfuls of calm;
when we bend and sway
in the winds of chaos,
you steady us with
your placid strength.

There is no serenity like you,
Spirit of Placidity:
when the disharmony of our lives
threatens to send us packing,
we find a home in your untroubled heart;
when the madness of the world
burns down all the bridges
of reconciliation we have built,
we see your peace rising from the ashes.

God in Community, Holy in One,
there is no Peace like yours,
and we long for it as we lift our prayer, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
To whom can we go for hope and healing? There is only One who hears our prayers, who cradles us in peace, who speaks words of grace to us. Let us come to our God who waits, longing to listen to our hearts. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
How lovely is your dwelling place of peace, Holy God;
forgive us when we choose to live in discord.
How wonderful are the paths of tranquility;
forgive us when we put on shoes laced with anger.
How gracious are your words of amity;
forgive us when harsh, hurting, shameful speech spews from our lips.

Have mercy on us, Gentle Grace, and enable us to become peacekeepers for your creation. Embrace us with that mystery of the gospel in which pain is transformed into praise, where restlessness becomes placidness, and agitation is replace by sweet accord with one another as gifts from the One who came that we might have peace in every moment of our lives, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
God does not withhold forgiveness from us, but fills us with hope, with joy, with peace.
We are at peace. God has heard our prayers, has forgiven our sins, has reconciled us to God, and to one another. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
Into the midst of the howling winds of chaos
you breathed your gentle Spirit,
Crafting God,
and peace raced through creation,
carving deep rivers of hope,
planting seeds of gentleness in lush meadows,
feeding every creature with life.
Listening to the discord laced discourses of sin,
we became offended by your peace,
and joined the warring madness of the world.
You sent women and men to us,
who sang your songs of contentedness to us,
but we stopped our ears and turned away.
So, on that starry night in Bethlehem,
you sent the Prince of Peace,
to bring us back to your gentle heart.

With those who have lived their days in peace,
with those who have longed for your serenity,
we join our voices singing your joy:

Holy, holy, holy, God of peace and grace!
Heaven and highest heaven is filled with your tranquility.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Child of Peace who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Halcyon God,
and full of peace is your Child, Jesus, our comfort.
Walking streets flowing with disarray,
he pointed out the pathways of peace;
experiencing the madness of anger,
he responded with gentle words of calmness;
confronting the madness of fear at Calvary,
he accompanied death into the tomb,
rising in peace on the third day,
discovering, as we will one day,
that you do not withhold your peace
to those who walk in faith.

As we remember his gentleness and grace,
as we give thanks for his death and resurrection,
we proclaim that mystery of the gospel called peace:

Christ died, that peace might walk this earth;
Christ is risen, that peace might fill our hearts;
Christ will come again, with peace in his arms.

Pour out your Spirit of placidness
upon those who gather in this place,
to feast on the bread come down from heaven.
Here, at this Table, with our sisters and brothers,
we find that peace is not a difficult teaching,
but the way to complete trust in you.
As we taste of that bread broken for us,
may we bring the healing wholeness of reconciliation
to all whose lives are in disarray.
As we drink from the deep wells of peace,
may we go from place to place of discord,
lifting others to their feet
and placing them on the highway of peace.

And when all madness, anger, and tumult
have come to an end,
and we are gathered around the Table
in that peace which has no end,
we will lift our voices in praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
our peace, now and forever more. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman