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Peace Liturgy

Geraldine Martin |  19 April 2017

This Liturgy could be adapted and used for Anzac Day or Remembrance Day. As the world seems to be tumbling into a conflict we need to remember those who fought for freedom and peace for us and to pray for all those caught up in conflicts in the Middle East and for those who are starving in terrible droughts in Africa. We need to remember what Matthew says, ‘God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.’ (Matt 5: 9)

Anzac Day and Remembrance Day remind us to pray for peace, to think about what we are doing as individuals, as a community and as a country to bring God’s peace into the world. This is a time when a believing community should once again turn towards prayer and towards ideals Jesus gives us in the Beatitudes.

Setting the scene

This liturgy could be held in a classroom or in a chapel. Place a large map of the world at the foot of the cross or in the middle of the gathering (if you are in a circle). Place a tealight (you can get them with batteries in them) on all the troubled parts of the world – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, Sudan, etc.

Students could also write the names of nations and peoples on a Roll of Remembrance which they would put at the foot of the cross. If you used this liturgy for Anzac Day you could ask the class to make a Roll of Remembrance of any family members that they know who have died in any of the wars that Australia took part in. Put a small vase of poppies next to it.

You will need a leader and a number of readers.

Opening Prayer

Leader: We gather today to think about, pray for and discover ways that we can spread peace. Let us begin in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God of peace you call us to peace,

Peace within and peace without

Peace before us and peace behind us

Peace on our right and peace on our left.

Christ of Peace you call us to peace,

Peace with our brother and with our sister,

Peace with our neighbour and with the stranger

Peace with friends and with foes

Spirit of peace you call us to peace,

Peace in work and in play

Peace in thought and in deed

Peace in word and action

Grant us peace, O God of peace. 

Gospel Reading

Reader: A Reading from John 15: 25-27

Jesus said ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have

said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world give.

Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

All: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Response Hymn: 'Make me a channel of your peace'

Chorus: Make me a channel of your peace

Where there is hatred let me bring your love

Where there is injury, your pardon Lord

And where there's doubt, true faith in you

Refrain: Oh, master grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love with all my soul

Chorus: Make me a channel of your peace

Where there's despair in life let me bring hope

Where there is darkness, only light

And where there's sadness ever joy (Refrain) 

Chorus: Make me a channel of your peace

It isn't pardoning that we are pardoned

In giving to all men let we receive

And in dying that we're born to eternal life. (Refrain)

Prayer

Reader: Bruised and black clouds shed heavy tears on the fields of Flanders’ Fields become graveyards in which we buried the flower of a generation.

All: And God wept, for these were His children.

Reader: Bruised and black clouds shed heavy tears on the cities of Syria, cities shrouded in the dust of desolation, camps wreathed in the smoke of human cremations. People in confusion whispering – ‘Please God never again'.

All: And God weeps, for these are his children.

Reader: Bruised and black clouds shroud cities, shopping streets, business centres, refugee camps and people gaze on the devastation wrought by evil on innocence.

All: And God weeps, for these are his children.

Reader: Bruised and black clouds shed tears over a whole world, bowed – bloodied by battle, cowed and weary of war her roads clogged by refugees - with nowhere but earth to call home.

All: And God weeps, for these are his children.

Reader: God of life, drawing life and death together in Yourself, Uniting the lost and the loving be among us as we remember.

All: Guide our praying and loving, cherish our remembering God, our God who forgets no one. Amen.

Video: Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, 1940

Reader: Charlie Chaplin is considered one of the best filmmakers in American cinema history and an icon of the silent film era. Beginning his acting career as a child, Chaplin acted, wrote, directed, produced and composed throughout his life. In his academy award nominated film, The Great Dictator, through satire Chaplin exposes the greed and madness behind tyranny. In the final speech of the film, Chaplin addresses the crowd reminding them of their shared humanity and reassuring liberty will prevail. 

Play the following speech by Charlie Chaplin in 1940. You can find the speech on Youtube here.

(Please note: The language is gender specific as it would have been at that time but says so much about peace and hope.)

Blessing

Reader: From the rising of the sun until its setting

All: God of Peace, God of Justice, God of Infinite mercy - Remember your people.

Reader: From the bleakness of war to the lavish warmth of peace

All: God of Peace, God of justice, God of Infinite Mercy – Remember your people.

Reader: From the peace of eternity to the pain of the present moment

All: God of Peace, God of Justice, God of Infinite mercy – Remember your people.

Reader: We turn to you God, asking that you enfold our planet in your justice, peace and truth. Enlighten the minds of those making decisions, melt the hearts of those that inflict cruelty upon your children and strengthen the resolve of all who pray for peace.

May God bless us and the peoples who share our planet.

All: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Reader: And may God hold our world and all its peoples in the palm of his hand. Go now to be bearers of hope, love and peace. Denounce violence and console those who are hurting. Go and be the hands and heart of Jesus Christ in our world today.

All: Amen.

 

Topic tags: buildingpeace, prayer, liturgyandthesacraments

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