A meditation on walls

by Ken J. Nafziger

Opening words
For Christ is our peace,
who made both groups into one
and broke down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart.
Ephesians 2:14

Spirit of Life and Love,
we dwell in You, willing to be held here in an immense and eternal love
whose origins we do not know,
whose reality is irresistible.
It calls us on.
It reaches between us to fill spaces.
It consoles the grieving, and it calms the anxious.
It gives new vision to eyes dimmed by tears and exhaustion;
it opens the ear to deeper truth.
It makes a place in the heart as hope.
Let us rest in this peace, and be held here. Amen.
Adapted from a prayer by Victoria Weinstein

Singing together
STS 31 Jesus, be the center
STJ 2 Come, walk with us

Praying together
Based on these readings about walls we construct, or on experiences of members of the congregation, invite individuals to prepare and lead a reflective time of prayer. Begin with the reading or story, follow with a period of silence, and then pray together.

Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred. Categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob. It makes cowards brave. And there is nothing more fearful than a religious mob, a mob overflowing with righteousness–as at the crucifixion and before and since. This can happen only after we have made a categorical refusal to kindness: to heretics, foreigners, enemies or any other group different from ourselves. –Wendell Berry, January 2013

and/or

We are called to serve and always be ready to serve, to serve Jesus in one another, and we serve Jesus by serving in the way that Jesus serves us–breaking down difference, bringing people into a family of love, in our own neighborhood, in our own Province, in our nation, in the whole world.
–Archbishop Rowan Williams, October 2012

Singing together
HWB 377 Healer of our every ill
STJ 67 Let there be light, Lord God
STS 117 How can I say

Reading from the Scriptures
God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, and to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
–Micah 6:8

Sung response: STS 54 What does the Lord require

Jesus said to him,
“You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.”
This is the greatest and first commandment.
And a second is like it:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
–Matthew 22:37-39

Sung response: STS 55 Love the Lord

Closing song
Play “Bring the breaking”

(opening refrain)

Bring the breaking in me
Reduce me to love
Let your life now be lived through me
And the walls come down . . .

“Bring the breaking” by Casey Corum, © 1998 Mercy Vineyard Publishing. Found on the out-of-print album “Holiness,” available used online.

HWB Hymnal: A Worship Book
STJ Sing the Journey
STS Sing the Story

Ken Nafziger is professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University.

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