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Congregation Unitarian Universalist

PRAYING FOR PEACE

A Litany used for candle lightings and vigils
International Day of Peace
September 21, 2017

    Prelude    Dona Nobis Pacem

      Dona nobis pacem, pacem,
        Dona nobis pacem.
          Dona nobis pacem.
            Dona nobis pacem.
              Dona nobis pacern.
                Dona nobis pacem.

    Opening Words: by Wayne B. Arnason (adapted)

    We are here as a community dedicated to all that is good and just and beautiful. May we be strengthened in our dedication to a better world. In time of war, when national pride and anger overwhelms the call for world community, We would remember all those around the world who suffer from acts of violence, Whether committed by terrorists or by nations.

    We go to war as to a funeral, And so we hold in our hearts all those who are oppressed by forces of privilege and power, Whose lives are torn by war, Who are prisoners of conscience. May we find it within ourselves to capture a vision of a future that can be, To recognize a brother or a sister in a distant nation, That we may serve without fear the cause of justice for all. In the name of all we find holy.

    Lighting the Chalice:

      We come to this time and this place
        To rediscover the wondrous gift of free religious community;
          To renew our faith in the holiness, goodness, and beauty of life;
            To reaffirm the way of the open mind and full heart;
              To rekindle the flame of memory and hope; and
                To reclaim the vision of earth made fair, with all her people one
    Prayer: ( followed by a moment of silent meditation)

      In the quietness of this place and in the Spirit of this Community in which we share and find strength let us pray. Prayer cannot bring water to parched land, not stop a roaring flood, nor mend a broken bridge, nor rebuild a ruined city, but prayer can water an arid soul, change the tide toward rightesness, mend a broken heart and rebuild a weaken will. Let us pray.

    Joys and Concerns: (We throw a small stone into this bowl filled with water, to symbolize our thoughts, which move in circular rings eternally, like concentric waves.)
      We invite you to share your joys and concerns since our last meeting

    Story for All Ages:  (the children go to Religious Education at the end of the story and the adults sing "Spitit of Life" )

    Hymn:   # 123  (STLT)   "Spitit of Life"   by Carolyn McDade (adapted)

      Spirit of Life, come unto us,
        Sing in our hearts all the stirrings of compassion.
          Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
            Move in our hands, giving life the shape of justice.
              Roots hold us close; wings set us free;
                Spirit of Life, come to us, come to me.

    First Reading: (Responsively) A Litany of Light for Peace
      PRAYING FOR PEACE: A Litany used for candle lightings and vigils

    LEADER: May the Peace which passes all understanding be with you!
    PEOPLE: And also with you!
    FIRST READER: Light is an image associated with peace, harmony and oneness with the earth. When all was in the darkness the first light and stars were created and it has been called good.
    PEOPLE: Light is a symbol of goodness and of all that is created. Let us celebrate the light of the world.
    SECOND READER: In the great story of the Exodus from Egypt the people were afraid and fearful for their lives. It is told there was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night that they might find their way to freedom and peace.
    PEOPLE: We too are afraid that the nations will lose their way. Spirit of life and all that is eternal give us light that we might find our way to peace.
    LEADER:Let us place among us this candle. Let us light it and let it stand as a beacon calling us from darkness and warfare to light and peace. (Here, a member of the congregation lights the candle and it is momentarily lifted up above the bearer's head and placed on the altar.)
    LEADER: Let us pray for a life of Peace:
    ALL: Lght had been created that all the peoples of this earth might walk in light and live an abundant life, we gather in faith and in hope that even now the nations might choose to walk in light and put aside warfare and killing. Drawn to the light of this candle we make bold to pray that it will touch the hearts and minds of world leaders afresh. May the councils of the powerful yield to your everlasting wisdom. Wherever wars and rumors of war abound may Peace and understanding quiet all fears and animosities. We work for new and powerful gifts of courage and leadership for those who speak and work for Peace. We acknowledge that war in this time is a mark of our failing one another and contrary to your will. In these days of anxiety, war and preparation for war we resolve to stand strong that we might not be paralyzed by fear but rather empowered to speak on behalf of Peace, work for Peace, pray for Peace, and live in Peace each with one another.
    LEADER: Then let us dedicate ourselves to the ministry of Peacemaking, for only we can brings true Peace.
    PEOPLE: Make us all instruments of Peace, skilled in peacemaking!
    LEADER: Let us declare ourselves again in opposition to war and killing.
    PEOPLE: Make us all instruments of Peace, skilled in peacemaking!
    LEADER: Let us again denounce war as a final rupture of the human family and violation of all mankind.
    PEOPLE: Make us all instruments of Peace, skilled in peacemaking!
    LEADER: Let us seek the ways of security that hold promise for life and lasting peace rather than an expeditious exercise of military domination.
    PEOPLE: Make us all instruments of Peace, skilled in peacemaking!
    LEADER: Then let us go from this place when worship is concluded to bring light in darkness, hope in despair, and to sow true and lasting peace by word and deed
    PEOPLE: Make us all instruments of Peace, skilled in peacemaking!
    LEADER: Peace be with you!
      PEOPLE: And also with you!
      ALL: Amen

    Second Reading:

      From the curse of war and all that creates it,...deliver us. From believing and speaking lies against other nations,...deliver us. From narrow loyalties and selfish isolation,...deliver us. From fear and distrust of other nations, from all false pride, vainglory, and self-conceit,...deliver us. From the lust of the mighty for riches, that drives peaceful people to slaughter,...deliver us. From putting our trust in the weapons of war, and from want of faith in the power of justice and good will,...deliver us.

    Discussion Theme : Peace

      Gandhi once wrote, 'If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.' And as peace educator and journalist Colman McCarthy has written, 'unless we teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence.' This morning we will consider our role - all of us! - as Unitarian Universalists. According to our sixth Principle, we 'covenant to affirm and promote' 'the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.' What are we doing achieve peace? We rely on violence, or the threat of violence, to solve conflicts. We trust in the power of violence to fix what is wrong in the world. We put our trust in the weapons of war. We have faith in violence. And an 'extraordinary skepticism of nonviolence;' a lack of faith in the power of justice and good will.

    *Closing circle of hands: (Holding hands or link arms as you read these closing words by Gandhi together)

    I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides...a place of light, of love, of truth, of peace, of wisdom. I honor the place in you where when you are in that place I am in that place...there is only one of us.

    Extinguish Chalice:

      Bless the work that we do,
        And the silence that falls upon us,
          And the joy that stirs within us.
            And let praise rise to our lips
              Naturally out of the fullness of our hearts.

    *Hymn:    Go now in Peace     

      Go now in Peace, Go now in Peace,
        May the Love of God surround you
          Everywhere, everywhere, You may go
    *Stand as you are willing or able