17.August.2014, #257

We went heavy on a confession today, lead by our friend Evan.  Even though it was a few weeks after the main headlines about the Gaza strife, it seemed very appropriate.  We edited it slightly; here's the original, and here's what we read together as a congregation (replete with poor punctuation, oh well):

We gather in the name of the God of Peace

May grace and peace be ours from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

We gather in the name of the Prince of Peace

The one who says, ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.’

We gather in the Spirit

Who is our life and our bond of peace

May peace be upon this place

May we be found worthy, that this blessing might rest upon us.

Give light to those who sit in darkness and the valley of the shadow of death

To guide our feet into the way of peace

Open our eyes, Lord

So that we might know the things which make for peace

We confess that we have not been peacemakers

But have sought our own good rather than the good of our neighbor

We confess that we have not been agents of your goodness and grace

But have looked out for our own interests rather than the interests of others

Gracious God, forgive us, your beloved children

In the name of Jesus, extend to us your reconciling peace

May we yearn for peace within our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in northeast Los Angeles

May this desire bear fruit in our lives through initiatives of love.

Mother of the world, and of all those who live within it,

You have reconciled this world to yourself in Christ

While we were yet enemies, aligning ourselves against you,

You gave your Son Jesus to die for us, that we might be at peace with You

Teach us how to live into the reconciliation created by Christ

So that we might learn what it is to be reconciled to one another

We confess that in our desire for peace, we often assume the postures of conflict

We have taken sides and set up ourselves as judges

We have listened to one side of the story,

And decided in its favor without waiting for the voice we have not heard

We have yearned for victory

And have believed that one side must lose for the other to win

We have seen the conflicts in the world, spurred on by an economy of scarcity

And we have not allowed the upside-down economy of your Kingdom’s abundance to create fresh vision for a world suffused with peace.

Hear our cry on behalf of the Palestinians:

may they know the fullness of life that you have created this world to provide

May they know absence of war

So that they might have hope for their children

May they know freedom upon their own land

So that they might know the dignity of fruitful work

May the know security in their homes

So that they might remember the value of their precious human lives.

Hear our cry on behalf of the Israelis:

may they know the fullness of life that you have created this world to provide

May they know peace upon their own land

So that they might raise their children in a place free from fear.

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem

May they prosper who love her

For the sake of sisters and brothers of all faiths who live within her walls,

We say: ‘May peace be within her.’

You have promised, O God, that love and faithfulness will meet

That justice and peace will kiss each other.

As your justice and peace kissed in the reconciling love of Jesus,

May we see in the world the joining of justice and peace

Make faithfulness spring up from even the desert ground,

And may righteousness rain down from the sky

Make a way of life in the midst of the desert

Where it seems that only death will reign.

Yours is the Kingdom of extravagant abundance,

And so we ask for vision to see how there is enough for all.

As we cast our eyes around the globe,

we confess that our nation is not innocent.

As we mourn the deaths in Gaza,

our own nation’s war in Afghanistan has cost lives this very week

While we protest the aggressions of our allies

We turn away thousands who come to us for safety and comfort

Forgive us, Father above, for we have confused the absence of war at home for the presence of peace.

Of old you warned the people who called themselves yours,

But were greedy for gain at any cost.

Of old you warned those who did not attend to the wound of your people

But said, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there was no peace.

Of old you warned your people not to rest in unjustly gained security,

And summoned us to be ashamed when we failed in justice and love.

Of old you warned your people not to speak falsely in your name,

And to hold our tongues from saying ‘peace,’ where there is no peace.

Of old you warned your people, not to build up dividing walls,

Or to white-wash them with the name of the Lord.

And so, when we build,

May we build on the foundation of the reconciling love of Jesus.

And so, when we speak,

May our speech be seasoned with salt, to give grace to those who hear

And so, when we seek security,

May we pursue it for those who are truly insecure.

Through the work of your son, Jesus, make us blessed peacemakers

So that we might be called children of God.

May our light of making peace upon the earth so shine before people

That they might see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his well, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

We followed that by singing Imagine, which we tagged with the smidge of "So I wait for you" from Hungry.  Which works pretty well I think - it's all the provocative from Lennon wrapped up with the "Where are you, God?" harkening back to the Psalmist.

Posted on September 30, 2014 .