As we approach this Sunday with the massacre at Emanuel AME in Charleston heavy on our hearts and burning passion on our lips, many clergy are sharing their prayers, liturgies, hymns and confessions. Here are some I have written or prepared to use in worship at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. You are welcome to use or tweak any of these if you need something for your worship or private prayers. May we who lead people in worship of God be bold tomorrow in proclaiming God’s call to seek justice and to love our neighbors. May God have mercy on us all. May God replace our hate, rejection, and silence, with God’s justice, love and joy.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Psalm 9:9-20)
|Voice 1||The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
|ALL||And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
|Voice 2||Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion.
Declare his deeds among the peoples.
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
|Voice 3||Be gracious to me, O LORD.
See what I suffer from those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,
so that I may recount all your praises,
and, in the gates of daughter Zion,
rejoice in your deliverance.
|ALL||The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.
The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.
|Voice 2||The wicked shall depart to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
|Voice 3||For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
|Voice 1||Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
Put them in fear, O LORD;
let the nations know that they are only human.
O God, we are only human. We are so very human. Which is why we turn to you and your perfect love, your abundant grace, and your eternal peace. This morning, Lord, help us to greet one another, not with our human hands, but with your holy peace.
May the peace of the Lord be with you. (And also with you.) Please share a sign of God’s peace with one another.
HYMN #314 Longing for Light, We Wait in Darkness
Call to Confession: When the blood of our brothers and sisters is spilled in your house, O Lord, we have much to grieve, and to confess. O Lord, hear our prayer.
Prayer of Confession: (Unison) Good and loving God, we come to you in pain. We weep for the nine lives lost in your sanctuary this week. We weep for the hurts of our community, nation and world. But we are fools if we weep without admitting our role in hurting your people. We confess now that we have failed you. We close our eyes to the pain of others. We support and maintain systems that abuse your creation and your beloved children. We refuse to acknowledge our privilege. We shy away from awkward conversations. We stand silent in the name of peace and unity, when we should be calling out in the name of your justice and radical love. O Lord, have mercy on us, your humble servants. Forgive us. Renew us. And teach us to boldly proclaim your message of love for all, in our thoughts, words, and deeds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(A BUNCH OF OTHER WORSHIP PARTS HERE)
Affirmation of Faith: From the Confession of Belhar:
We believe in the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects and cares for the church through Word and Spirit. This, God has done since the beginning of the world and will do to the end. We believe that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ; that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker, that the church is witness both by word and by deed to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells. We believe that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
To the one and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be the honor and the glory for ever and ever.
And here is the link to a prayer I wrote on Thursday for the RevGals website: