Worship Resources: On domestic violence

Call to worship

randomtruth/Flickr

One: We gather in the name of God, who loves us and who is in our midst.

All: We gather in the name of the One who proclaims justice and mercy.

One: We gather to name our sorrow and share new visions.

All: We gather to heal our pain and rekindle our hope.

One: We gather because the journey is long.

All: We gather because we hunger and thirst for a new heaven and a new earth.

One: The Spirit of life has called us to be together. The Spirit of compassion has called all of creation to be trans-formed by love. May this gathering serve to strengthen, encourage, and renew us.

All: Thanks be to God.

—Adapted from Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing by Louise Briscoe, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Ottawa, 1998.

Prayers

Reader 1: Come, all who are poor in spirit; come, all who mourn; come, all who are meek; come, all who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Reader 2: Come, all who would be merciful; come, all who would be pure in heart; come, all who would be neighbor to those who suffer.

Reader 1: Let us come together. Let us confess that the source of our life is Christ Jesus who taught us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.

All: Let us worship the Lord our God so that we may learn anew what it means to love our neighbor.

—Adapted from Lord, Hear Our Prayers, MCC Domestic Violence Worship Resources.

Leader: God of compassion, give us openness and compas-sion for those who suffer from domestic violence and other forms of abuse.

All: May our churches be a safe place where those whose lives are affected by abuse can name the truth of the violence in their lives and be heard with a spirit of oneness and caring.

Leader: May it be a place where perpetrators of abuse are called to account.

All: May it be a place where all can find justice and healing.

Leader: May we hear and respond to Jesus’ call, “Come, follow me,” as we work to end violence in all its forms.

All: This is our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ who knows the pain of violence. Amen.

—Adapted from Lord, Hear Our Prayers, MCC Domestic Violence Worship Resources.

Readers’ theater

Reader 1: Loving Creator, we come before you with spe-cial concern for all who suffer from violence. For children who are harmed and humiliated by adults. We pray for healing and intervention.

Reader 2: For women who are not safe in their own homes. We pray for healing and courage.

Reader 3: For all people who are treated as commodities by others. We pray for healing and empowerment.

Reader 4: For people seeking change in institutions, only to find retaliation and fear. We pray for healing and hope.

Reader 5: For all people who suffer the violence of poverty. We pray for healing and positive change.

Reader 6: For women and men, adults and children who suffer rape, molestation or assault. We pray for healing and justice.

Reader 7: For all people who suffer from war and conflict. We pray for healing and reconciliation.

Reader 8: For all people who suffer from discrimination and hostility by others. We pray for healing and wholeness.

Reader 9: For all people everywhere who are oppressed and harmed by the sin of violence. We pray for healing, intervention, courage, empowerment, hope, positive change, justice, reconciliation and wholeness. May all for whom we pray experience your compassion and love. May we all know that you never forget us. Amen.

—Adapted from Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing

 by Louise Briscoe, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Ottawa, 1998.

Scripture

Read the words of the Psalmist in one or more of the following texts and imagine that this is a person caught in an abusive relationship:

Psalm 9:9–10, 18–20

Psalm 44:23–26

Psalm 55:4–8, 12–14, 20–23

Psalm 118:5–7

Other Scripture texts that would be appropriate include:

Ezekiel 34:1–11

•Matthew 18:6, 10

Luke 4:16–19

Music

All selections from Hymnal: A Worship Book.

307  Will you let me be your servant

372  O healing river

627  There is a balm in Gilead

Children’s story

Invite children to gather for a children’s feature. Ask if there is someone in this church who is the perfect person to love and serve God. Listen to their responses. Tell them you want to find out if any of them are absolutely perfect enough to love and serve God. Your dialogue might go something like this:

“Does anyone here have perfect knees? Do you? Let’s see you bend your knees . . . it seems to work really great! Are there any scratches, how about on your other knee?

How about you, how’s your knee? Do your knees work okay? Oh, looks like you got a little bit of a scrape. How about ears . . . does anyone here have perfect ears? (This one is great because they have to check each other’s ears and will say they are perfect or that they found a good one.) Can anyone find some good eyes too? How about elbows. . . does anyone here have perfect elbows? Any scrapes? Hmmm, seems like most of us have some scars or bruises somewhere.

“You know what, to serve and love God and to come to church, we don’t have to be perfect. God loves us and each of us is the perfect person to serve God even though we all get bumps and bruises and scars and sometimes we get angry or hurt. God made each one of us exactly like we are and each one of us is totally perfect enough to love and serve God.

“God made each one of us different with different things we can do and can’t do. Some of us might have perfect hands or eyes, some of us can sing or talk lots without get-ting tired, and every one of us is perfect enough to love God, no matter what we are like.”

—by Elsie Wiebe Klingler, 2003

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s