Spiritual Formation is a shared journey of awakening to our belonging in love that enables discernment of the daily choices and ways of being that lead to union with God, the self, others, and the created world. Street Psalms explores particular ways of being in the world shaped by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Centuries ago, the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus taught that “whatever happened to Jesus happens to the soul.” Earlier still, St. Irenaeus proclaimed that “the glory of God is humanity fully alive.” The Apostle John introduced his account of Jesus by saying, “The Word became flesh, and lived among us, and we beheld his glory.” read more

Street Psalms Prayer of Vocation Liturgy

 

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.  (Is. 50:4)

 Greeting

(Leader) Peace be with you.

(All) And also with you.

Centering Prayer

(A) Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life, have mercy on us. Reveal yourself in all things, to all things, and through all things. Grant us the gift of becoming a community of Christ-like desire who sees and celebrates good news in hard places.

Prophetic Vision

(Women) Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Invocation of the Spirit

(Men) Come, Holy Spirit. Show us the way of the Lord that we might see your salvation. Quiet our souls. Teach us how to pray. Be our guide, our counselor, our advocate, and our defender.

Renewal of Baptism

(W) Baptize us again in the sea of your love where we release our useless fears and relax into your mercy. Inside this new love we die to all that is false. By your power made perfect in weakness, awaken us to the mystery of life. Speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you:  “You are my sons and daughters whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”

Call to Creation

(L) YHWH, you formed us from the dust of the ground and breathed into us the breath of life. Breathe on us, in us and through us now that we might become fully human and be one with you.

Breathe God’s Name – YHWH

(All, silently) 

Call to Peacemaking

(A) Lord Jesus, make us instruments of your peace that we might act, reflect and discern like you. May our wounds and the wounds of this world become wombs of new creation. Free us O Lord, to be midwives to the holy in all things and to seek the peace of the cities in which we serve.

Where there is blindness call forth the gift of sight.

Where there is voicelessness call forth the gift of voice.

Where there is despair call forth the gift of joy.

Where there is isolation call forth the gift of community.

Our Lord’s Prayer

(A) Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Benediction

(L) The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because She* has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of Love. Amen.

Go in peace.

 

*The Benediction scripture has been paraphrased from several translations. In particular, we enjoy the freedom to imagine the Holy Spirit in feminine gender—inspired by the numerous feminine as well as masculine images of God in Scripture. In doing so, our paraphrase reflects what many English translations do not, that is, that the pronoun used for the Spirit in the early Greek texts was not masculine but neuter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing of a New Home

 

Invocation

Gracious God, creator, redeemer, and sustainer of life, have mercy on us. Fill this home with your peace and joyful presence. Grant the (name of homeowner/s)’s home the gift of becoming a community of Christ-like desire that blesses all who enter this sacred and holy place.

Send your Spirit to guide, protect, comfort, and defend this home and make it a place of life.

Prayers of Intention

(A time of sharing) What intentions do you have for the (name of homeowner/s) home?

Blessing of Water

Come Holy Spirit and fill this home and all who enter it with your love, your presence, and your joy. Bless each room with your goodness, your laughter, and your Sabbath rest. Season each meal, enliven each conversation, and may all activities, morning, noon and night, be animated by the Spirit of Jesus.

St. Francis Prayer

Lord, make this home an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Compline Hymn (in the bedroom)

Before the ending of the day
creator of the world we pray
that with thy gracious favour thou
wouldst be our guard and keeper now.

From fears and terrors of the night
defend us Lord by thy great might
and when we close our eyes in sleep
let hearts with Christ their vigil keep.

O Father, this we ask be done
through Jesus Christ thine only Son
who with the Paraclete and thee
now lives and reigns eternally.

St. Patrick’s Blessing (blessing of homeowner/s)

Christ be with you. Christ within you.
Christ behind you. Christ before you.
Christ beside you. Christ to win you.
Christ to comfort and restore you.
Christ beneath you. Christ above you.
Christ in quiet and in danger.
Christ in hearts of those who love you.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
— St. Patrick

Benediction

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or even imagine.
To him be the glory
To the earth be peace
To this home be Joy,
To the (name of homeowner/s)’s hearts be courage

We pray this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of love.

Image: “My House In Cuba” by Philippe Moreau Chevrolet (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Rite of Passage to Adulthood Liturgy

Assign readers from community as indicated by blank spaces. Find a list of liturgical supplies at the end.

Welcome (______________________)

Poem (______________________)

A Voice through the Door – Rumi

Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
calling you, as a fish out of water
hear the waves, or a hunting falcon
hears the drum’s Come back. Come back.

This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you. Read the book of your life,
which has been given you.

A voice comes to your soul saying,
Lift your foot. Cross over.

Move into the emptiness
of question and answer and question.

Invitation (________________________)

(Name of young person), today we celebrate your transition from childhood into young adulthood, from boyhood into being a young man. What lies before you is a huge adventure – a story that you are co-authoring with God and the rest of us. We have gathered here as family and friends to bear witness to your life. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14) and you have already done amazing things

Amazing Things (______________________)
Customize a list of amazing things about young person

  • Such as story of birth
  • Good deeds and kindnesses
  • What young person loves
  • What kind of family member young person is

(Name of young person), you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You will do things you never thought possible and your soul will become bigger than your biggest dream. Drink life like water and death like wine… be not afraid, dear one.

Holding the Mystery (________________________)

We stand before the mystery that is your life filled with awe and full of delight. Life holds great beauty as well as great affliction. Your task is to receive beauty in one hand and affliction in the other, honoring both of them.

• A rose in one hand: Given by Grandmother or elder – (______________________)

• A piece of ice in the other: Given by Grandfather or elder – (_____________________)

 

Blessing (_______________________)

And so we stand with you at the threshold of your adventure and we declare for you what God declared to all of creation. (Name of young person), your life… all of it… the good and the bad, the successes and failures, the beauty and affliction – all of it is – good, good and VERY GOOD (Gen. 1).

Jesus began his great adventure with a blessing from the Father. We offer this blessing to you now… (Mark 1:11)

Father: You are my son/daughter whom I love and I really like you.

Mother: You are my son/daughter whom I love and I really like you.

Community (ALL): You are our son/daughter whom we love and we really like you.

Mortality (___________________)

(Name of young person), the adventure that lies ahead is bigger than you – way bigger. You are human, imperfect, limited. You will make mistakes. You’ll need help. One day you will leave home and chart your own path. But life is not like a mountain that you conquer. It is not like a math problem that you solve. It is a mystery – a huge amazing mystery. Like all mysteries it wants to be experienced, not explained. It holds great joy but it also holds failure, frustration and futility. The mystery of life includes death. Life and death are one, not two!

God told Adam when he left his garden home, ”From dust you came and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). This is a hard but liberating truth.

Yes, death is certain, but do not be afraid, it opens more doors than it closes (1 Cor. 15:55). Everything you love will one day pass through death, even your dreams will die – at least the parts that are too small. This can be very painful. But do not be afraid. God gives beauty for ashes (Is. 61:3). You can count on it! Your deepest desires are already yes, in Jesus (Ps. 37:4). Do not be afraid.

Imposition of Ashes (____________________)

(Name of young person) will have written out some hopes and dreams before hand… these will be burnt and the ashes will be imposed on his forehead with these words: “From Dust you came and to dust you shall return.”

Celebration of Life (______________________)

(Name of young person), adulthood is not all doom and gloom. We are here to remind you that there is great joy that lies ahead. You have tasted this joy already. In fact, Jesus’s first miracle was to throw a huge party (John 2:1-12). He made 120 gallons of the best wine. That’s a lot of wine! Perhaps one day you will fall in love, have a family of your own, do good work, and love this wild and crazy world, especially people and places that are labeled the least. Let the beauty that awaits you break your heart wide open to the goodness of life.

Drink deeply of the wine of gladness (Eccl. 9:7).

Young person drinks a small glass of good wine; (___________________ serves young person)

Journey to the Cross (_________________________)

(Name of young person), beauty and affliction are trusted guides. They will lead you to the place of transformation. It’s a very strange place called the Cross. It is the place where caterpillars become butterflies – where boys become men, where girls become women, where wounded souls become fully human. It holds the deepest mystery of all. At the cross, beauty and affliction meet face to face and greet each other with a holy kiss. (Name of young person), do not be afraid. God meets you there and there you will know the secret that has been hidden since the foundation of the world (Matt. 13:35). At the cross you will come to know yourself for who you really are – your deepest and Truest Self. Jesus is revealing this secret even now. And here it is: (name of young person), you are FORGIVEN. God loves you and God really likes you, no matter what and you are completely free in Christ! Wear this cross as a sign of the secret that is hidden in you.

(________________________ presents young person with the cross)

Resurrection

________________________ (Name of young person), the cross is not the end of the story. Jesus came to his disciples in the resurrection. He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” And then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whomever you forgive is forgiven. Whomever you refuse to forgive, well then, you retain their sins as though they were your own” (John 20:21-23).

________________________ (Name of young person), receive the Holy Spirit that gives you the power to live out your highest calling. Yes, your highest calling is to forgive. It is how you become your truest self. It is how you become bigger than you ever thought possible and do greater things than you ever imagined (Eph. 3:20). It frees you to play the game that God wants to play.

________________________ (Name of young person), as you know, the breath we breathe is the very name of God. Take a moment to become aware of your own breath. Feel it. Every time we breathe we say God’s name. (Yah-wey, Yah-wey). (Name of young person), the first thing you did when you came into this world was breathe God’s name (Yah-wey) and the last thing you will do when you leave this world will be to breathe God’s name. God is with you in every breath you take empowering you to give and receive forgiveness. And so we all join you now in a moment of silence, breathing God’s name together: (Yah-wey, Yah-wey, Yah-wey)

 

Provisions For the Journey (_______________________)

(Name of young person), God gives you everything you need for the journey ahead: God gives you… a blessing, a bed, a bath, a meal, and a community of friends with whom to walk.

Blessing: As a reminder of God’s blessing on your life the community presents you with the book of blessings. (____________________ presents the book)

Bed: As a reminder that God begins the adventure with his own Sabbath rest the community presents you with a blanket inviting you to remember to get your rest and relax into the Goodness of life. (_____________________ presents the blanket)

Bath: As a reminder that you have been bathed in Christ at your baptism the community sprinkles you with water. (_________________________ sprinkles

Meal: As a reminder that God gives you food and drink for the journey we now celebrate the meal that Jesus gave us. (____________________ leads communion)

Community: As a sign that you do not travel alone and are always part of a big and ever-growing community we light the candle of friendship and pray the Lord’s prayer together. (_________________________ lights candle and leads prayer)

Questions (_______________________)

(Name of young person),

• Will you embrace the adventure that is your life with an open heart, open mind and open hands?

• Will you honor the beauty and the affliction that is uniquely yours?

• Do you promise to always say please and thank you AND remember to lift and put down the toilet seat?

To the Community (_______________________)

• Do you promise to be a community of friends who bless (name of young person)‘s journey?

(Name of young person), do you receive the blessing of God and this community?

(Name of young person), do you have any words you would like to share before we give you one final blessing?

Benediction (______________________)

Christ be with you. Christ within you.
Christ behind you. Christ before you.
Christ beside you. Christ to win you.
Christ to comfort and restore you.
Christ beneath you. Christ above you.
Christ in quiet and in danger.
Christ in hearts of those who love you.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
– St. Patrick

Go in peace.

 

Liturgical Supplies

1. Copies of liturgy for readers
2. Rose and ice
3. Five dreams written on paper – a bowl to burn in, lighter and water.
4. Glass and wine
5. Cross
6. Book of Blessings/or Bible
7. Blanket
8. Water/basin for renewal of baptism
9. Communion set
10. Candle and lighter

Image: Stephanie Dunlap, Street Psalms

Street Psalms Prayer of Vocation

 

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. (Is. 50:4)

Centering Prayer

Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life, have mercy on us. Reveal yourself in all things, to all things, and through all things. Grant us the gift of becoming a community of the Incarnation – mystery of Word made flesh, filled with Christ-like desire, that we might see and celebrate you at work in the world, especially in hard places. Give us the tongue of a teacher to sustain the weary with a word, and mobilize leaders from all walks of life to love their city and seek its peace with the Gospel of Jesus.

Prophetic Vision

Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Invocation of the Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit. Show us the way of the Lord that we might see your salvation. Quiet our troubled souls and teach us how to pray. Be our guide, our counselor, our advocate, and our defender.

Renewal of Baptism

Lord of Life, baptize us again in the sea of your love where we release our useless fears and relax into your mercy. Inside this new love we die to all that is false. By your power made perfect in weakness, awaken us to the mystery of life. Speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you: “You are my child whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”

Call to Creation

YHWH, in the beginning you formed us from the dust of the ground and breathed into us the breath of life. Breathe on us, in us and through us now that we might embody our most sacred vocation – to become fully human, and be one with you and all creation.

Breathe God’s Name – YHWH.

Call to Peacemaking

Lord Jesus, make us instruments of your peace and a sign of your unity in the world that we might act, reflect and discern like you. May our wounds and the wounds of this world become wombs of new creation, bearing seeds of new life. Free us O Lord, to be midwives to the holy in all things.

Where there is blindness call forth the gift of sight.
Where there is voicelessness call forth the gift of voice.
Where there is despair call forth the gift of joy.
Where there is isolation call forth the gift of community.
Where there is fear and violence of any kind, call forth the gift of peace born of your love, and make us a community of the Incarnation who sees and celebrates you in all things, even here, even now.

Our Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Benediction

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because She has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of Love. Amen.

Street Psalms Prayer of Discernment

 

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:21)

 

Greeting

Peace be with you.

 

Centering Prayer

Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life, have mercy on us. Reveal yourself in all things, to all things, and through all things. Grant us the gift of becoming a community of Christ-like desire who sees and celebrates good news in hard places.

 

Invocation of the Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit. Quiet our souls. Teach us how to pray. Be our guide, our counselor, our advocate, and our defender. Speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you: “You are my sons and daughters whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

Breathe God’s Name – YHWH

 

Presence

You are Immanuel—the God who is with us. There is nowhere we can flee from your presence, and nothing can separate us from your love. We accept your invitation to relax into this miracle—to notice and to welcome your presence in all things. We name your presence in places where it is particularly needed and hard to see, as well as where your presence is clearly visible…

 

Gratitude

The deepest form of gratitude we can offer is our own joy. We recognize that your presence is the substance of all that we hope for. Our deepest desire is your delight and your Yes. As we learn to trust our deepest desires, we give thanks…

 

Gift of the Spirit

We welcome you Holy Spirit, who gives us courage and compassion to see ourselves, our relationships, our world, and even our enemies as we really are. Ease the fear that blinds us, binds us to our false selves, and keeps us from the Truth that sets us free. Spirit, we receive your light in the movements of our emotions, naming these today…

 

Reflection

As those who are being renewed by your love, we freely confess to you our wounds—the deep wounds of blindness, voicelessness, despair, and isolation. We confess our misplaced desires that bind us to our wounds in deceptive and destructive ways. We recognize in experience fear or freedom, trust or fixation, false or true selves, anxious attachments or release into you as the Ground of Being. Re-create us in your desire that we might discover ourselves again in you. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. For ourselves and our communities we confess and acknowledge…

 

Resolve

As your beloved ones who are forgiven and free, we freely forgive those who have done harm. We eagerly loose the chains of injustice that hold your children captive. May we be midwives to the holy and seek the peace of the cities in which we serve. We gladly participate in the ongoing act of creation, expressing your lavish beauty in our daily work and play. Gracious God, we ask for one more grace: to do and to will your good pleasure. Lord have mercy. As your Spirit leads, we resolve to…

 

Our Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

 

Benediction

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because She* has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of Love. Amen.

Go in peace.

 

*The Benediction scripture has been paraphrased from several translations. In particular, we enjoy the freedom to imagine the Holy Spirit in feminine gender—inspired by the numerous feminine as well as masculine images of God in Scripture. In doing so, our paraphrase reflects what many English translations do not, that is, that the pronoun used for the Spirit in the early Greek texts was not masculine but neuter.

Note: This prayer has been adapted by the Street Psalms Community from the Prayer of Examen in the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola. It may be used for individual or group prayer.

Moment of Blessing – Occasion of Assault

 

Date ­­­­­­­­­­______________________   Place ­­­­­­­­­­_______________________

Greeting (_____________)

Grace and Peace to all of us in the name of our Loving God. We stand on holy ground – for God is with us, doing what God always does, calling forth life, especially here, especially now. Immanuel is the God who is with us always and everywhere! There is nowhere we can flee God’s presence and nothing can separate us from God’s love – not tragedy, not violence not even death. This is why we reclaim this space as a place of life, community, hope and forgiveness. Yes, even the violence that has occurred here is being reclaimed in love, and called forth as holy witness to life itself.

 

Bearing Witness: What We Know About This Tragedy (__________________)

 

Declaration (____________)

We come together in this space and at this time of grief, acknowledging the violent act committed against our [sister/brother] ________________.

We confess that this tragedy is part of a wider failure to create safe communities that are humane, compassionate, just, and filled with dignity and hope for all.

 

Prayer (________________)

We ask that God may grant us peace.

That in our pain we may find comfort,

That in our confusion we may find a measure of understanding,

That in our anger we may find forgiveness,

That in our sorrow we may find hope,

That in the aftermath of fear we may find strength and healing.

Come Holy Spirit and baptize us again in the sea of your love, where we release our useless fears and relax into your mercy. Inside this new love we die to all that is false. By your power made perfect in weakness, awaken us to the mystery of life and speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you. “You are my child whom I love with you I am well pleased.”

 

Psalm 23 (__________________)

Leader: The Lord is my Shepherd.

ALL: I shall not want.

Leader: The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures.

ALL: The Lord leads me beside still waters.

Leader: The Lord restores my soul.

ALL: The Lord guides me in right paths.

Leader: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

ALL: I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and staff give me courage.

 

Matthew 5 (___________________)

Leader: Blessed are the poor in spirit.

ALL: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Leader: Blessed are those who mourn.

ALL: For they will be comforted.

Leader: Blessed are the meek.

ALL: For they shall inherit the earth.

Leader: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

ALL: For they shall be satisfied.

Leader: Blessed are the merciful.

ALL: For they shall obtain mercy.

Leader: Blessed are the pure in heart.

ALL: For they shall see God.

Leader: Blessed are the peacemakers.

ALL: For they shall be called children of God.

Leader: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake

ALL: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

A Time of Sharing

What are we seeing, hearing, and feeling in this moment? (Participants may share briefly)

 

Affirmation of Sight

ALL: [Sister/Brother] ____________________, we see you. We acknowledge your life, your pain, and your healing. We hold you in our love and care, and in the strong and tender love of God.

 

Litany of Deliverance (_______________)

(The response is “Save us, O God”)

Leader: From the prevalence of sexual assault (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the hopelessness of suicide (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the brutality of murder and violence (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the corruption of senseless death (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the ways human dignity is stripped (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the bitterness of homelessness and empty pockets (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the snare of mental illness and all discrimination (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the silence of apathy and neglect (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the deserts of ignorance and suffering (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the arrogance of racism and despair (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: And from all evil… (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: And from all evil…. (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: And from all evil…. (ALL: Save us, O God)

ALL: Amen

 

Song – Jesus Name Above All Names

Jesus, Name above all Names

Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord

Emmanuel, God is with us

Blessed Redeemer, Living Word

 

Christo, Nombre Mas Alto;

Salvador Nuestro, Glorioso Senor

Emmanuel, Dios Con Nosotros;

Pan De La Vida, Cordero De Dios

 

Song – Our Cities Cry to You (sung to the tune of Amazing Grace)

Our cities cry to you, O God

Out from the pain and strife,

You made us for yourself alone

But we chose alien life.

 

Our goals are pleasure, gold and power

Injustice stalks our earth,

In vain we seek for rest, for joy,

For sense of human worth.

 

Yet still you walk the streets, O Christ!

We know your presence here,

Where humble people love and serve

In godly grace and fear.

 

O Word made flesh be seen in us

May all we say and do

Affirm you God incarnate still,

And turn all hearts to you.

 

Reading adapted from Isaiah 61:1-4 (__________________)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me

because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.

to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion –

to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,

the oil of joy instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated.

They will renew the cities that have been devastated for generations.

 

Prayer for the Neighborhood (__________________)

(adapted from Walter Brueggemann’s Prayers for a Privileged People)

 

Leader:

You are the God who has set us in families and clans and tribes, in communities and in cities.

We give you thanks this day that you are Lord of the city of _________________ and Lord of this very neighborhood.

We pray for the city of _________________ today, and we pray for this neighborhood

and for neighborhoods like it in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Moscow

and a thousand other villages in your cities around the world.

In all of our cities this day

there will be violence, crime and sharp moneymaking,

and also compassion and forgiveness and generosity,

and leaders who work for both justice and injustice.

ALL:

Be our God this day and prosper in the city of ____________________

We pray in the name of the One who wept over the city,

Amen.

 

Reclaiming Ritual – Blessing of the Water (________________)

Leader: We come together this day to reclaim this space of assault as a place of life. This place where violence occurred we are reclaiming as a place of peace. This place that causes fear, anger, and pain, we are reclaiming as a place of hope and community. We reclaim the humanity of both victim and victimizer in God’s name.

(Water is sprinkled on those present)

Leader: Come, Holy Spirit, to this place. As we sprinkle this water, come Holy Spirit, and redeem this space and people from the pain and violence that occurred here. Return it as a safe place, a place of love, a place of life, a place of hope. Amen.

ALL: That which was taken away from us by violence, we reclaim as a place of life, community, and hope. We pledge to work toward a world free from violence and self-destruction and full of love and hope. We commit ourselves to building community that is humane, compassionate, just, and filled with dignity.

 

Blessing of Survivors (If Present) (_______________________)

(Hands are laid on survivors of the event)

Christ be with you, Christ within you,

Christ behind you, Christ before you,

Christ beside you, Christ to win you,

Christ to comfort and restore you,

Christ beneath you, Christ above you,

Christ in quiet and in danger,

Christ in hearts of those who love you,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

 

Neighborhood Blessing (____________________)

Leader: What is a blessing but a rain of grace falling generously into the lives of those in need; and what neighborhood in this city is without need?

ALL:   God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May the Spirit touch _______________ in this morning pause. May this day provide a pathway filled with hope and renewal. May there be work here today that is God’s love made visible.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May a heart of grace and benevolence be born here today. And may that birth bless each person in this community with hope for the future.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May the resurrection be experienced in _______________ today. As old enemies are moved toward reconciliation, exclusion becomes embrace, and as voices of criticism and hate are transformed into encouragement.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May greed and excess dissolve into the soil of community gardens where neighbors and families share meals together and where children are free to play and explore their curiosities.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: God, breathe upon _____________ so when the people look in the mirror, they may see themselves as they truly are… a beautiful reflection of You.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood. Amen.

 

Benediction (_____________)

Leader: Our service is ended. As we leave this place, our prayer is that each of us might act in some way to uphold the dignity of every person – so that all would see that violence will not prevail in our community and peace will endure.

Beloved of God, may we go on our day with the courage to love. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted. Support the weak. Love one another as God loves you. As this is home to the trauma and healing of our [sister/brother] ________________, it is also home to God. God blesses both this space and ________________.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because we have been anointed to announce good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to declare the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of love. Amen.

All: Thanks be to God.

 

© Street Psalms. Permission granted for this liturgy to be reproduced for local community gatherings only; may not otherwise be distributed without permission from Street Psalms.

Memorial Liturgy

Welcome –
This is a holy place
This is a place of gratitude
This is a place to say goodbye
This is a place to return and remember
This is a place of rest
But, this is not the final place. We offer ____________________ body to rest that his/her spirit might run free in God’s playground.

_____________________ is now more present to us in spirit than he/she was in his/her body. He/she now knows God’s heart in a way that gives us hope.

Invocation and Prayers
Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of life. Have mercy on us. Reveal yourself in all things, to all things and through all things. Grant us the gift of becoming a community of Christ-like desire, that we might see and celebrate you in all things, especially the hard places, even here…even now.

___________________You are Immanuel—the God who is with us. There is nowhere we can flee from your presence, and nothing can separate us from your love. We accept your invitation to relax into this miracle—to notice and to welcome your presence in all things everywhere—even here, even now.

__________________Open our hearts Lord, as we gather at this sacred place. Give us the eyes to see your transforming presence, calling forth life from death, hovering among us, dancing with delight.

__________________Come, Holy Spirit and be our guide and comfort. Our heart’s are filled to the brim with gratitude for Francis’ life. We return to your loving care, our dear friend, father, grandfather and great grandfather, great, great grandfather, Francis.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; 
he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies; 
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
 all the days of my life, 
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
 my whole life long.

Poems by Rumi
Every object, every being, every person, is a jar full of delight. Be a connoisseur and taste with caution…

…It is sad to leave the people you travel with. How much more so those who remind you of God. Hurry back to the ones protecting you.

On every trip, have only one objective, to meet those who are friends inside the Presence. If you stay home, keep the same purpose – to meet the innermost Presence as it lives in people.
Be a pilgrim to the Presence inside a human being and heaven will rise into view on its own.

So…

Start the drumbeat! Everything we have said about the Friend is true. The beauty of that peacefulness makes the whole world restless. Spread your love-robe out to catch what sifts down from heaven. You, heart, closed up in a chest, open! For the Friend is entering you. You, feet, it is time to dance. Don’t talk about the old man for he is young again. And don’t get stuck in the past. Do you understand? The Beloved is here!

Eulogy – Good Words:
Write a word that comes to mind when you think of _______________

Litany of Peace
Jesus, you said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred… let us sow love;
Where there is injury… pardon;
Where there is doubt… faith;
Where there is despair… hope;
Where there is darkness… light;
And where there is sadness… joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled… as to console;
To be understood… as to understand;
To be loved… as to love.
For it is in giving… that we receive;
It is in pardoning… that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying… that we are born to eternal life.

Share the sign of Peace

Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven. Holy is thy name. Thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us and lead us, not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Committal Words –
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, we commend to God _________________. We thank you for his/her life. We now commit his/her body and return it to the elements, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And we return________________ spirit to You, along with our blessings. Merciful One, we trust you now to be the God of all life everywhere and receive and awaken_______________________into your presence.

In silence: Burn blessings and place ashes in the Urn or place blessings on coffin as it is being lowered. A sign that we return our loved one with our blessings.

Final Blessing
All: (Raise hand in sign of blessing to each other)

Christ be with you, Christ within you,
Christ behind you, Christ before you,
Christ beside you, Christ to win you,
Christ to comfort and restore you.
Christ beneath you, Christ above you,
Christ in quiet and in danger,
Christ in hearts of those who love you,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

We pray this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of love.

Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory, to the earth be peace, our family be hope and to our heart’s be courage.

Notes:
– This is a participatory liturgy where all who are comfortable are invited to participate.

– Bold print indicates that ALL will read in unison.

– Readers are encouraged to read slowly… intentionally.

Moment of Blessing – Occasion of Homicide

 

Date ­­­­­­­­­­______________________   Place ­­­­­­­­­­_______________________

Greeting (_____________)

Grace and Peace to all of us in the name of our Loving God. We stand on holy ground – for God is with us, doing what God always does, calling forth life, especially here, especially now. Immanuel is the God who is with us always and everywhere! There is nowhere we can flee God’s presence and nothing can separate us from God’s love – not tragedy, not violence not even death. This is why we reclaim this space as a place of life, community, hope and forgiveness. Yes, even the violence that has occurred here is being reclaimed in love, and called forth as holy witness to life itself.

 

Bearing Witness: What We Know About This Tragedy (__________________)

 

Declaration (____________)

We come together in this space and at this time of grief, acknowledging the violent act committed against our [sister/brother] ________________.

We confess that this tragedy is part of a wider failure to create safe communities that are humane, compassionate, just, and filled with dignity and hope for all.

 

Prayer (________________)

We ask that God may grant us peace.

That in our pain we may find comfort,

That in our confusion we may find a measure of understanding,

That in our anger we may find forgiveness,

That in our sorrow we may find hope,

That in the aftermath of fear we may find strength and healing.

Come Holy Spirit and baptize us again in the sea of your love, where we release our useless fears and relax into your mercy. Inside this new love we die to all that is false. By your power made perfect in weakness, awaken us to the mystery of life and speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you. “You are my child whom I love with you I am well pleased.”

 

Psalm 23 (__________________)

Leader: The Lord is my Shepherd.

ALL: I shall not want.

Leader: The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures.

ALL: The Lord leads me beside still waters.

Leader: The Lord restores my soul.

ALL: The Lord guides me in right paths.

Leader: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

ALL: I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and staff give me courage.

 

Matthew 5 (___________________)

Leader: Blessed are the poor in spirit.

ALL: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Leader: Blessed are those who mourn.

ALL: For they will be comforted.

Leader: Blessed are the meek.

ALL: For they shall inherit the earth.

Leader: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

ALL: For they shall be satisfied.

Leader: Blessed are the merciful.

ALL: For they shall obtain mercy.

Leader: Blessed are the pure in heart.

ALL: For they shall see God.

Leader: Blessed are the peacemakers.

ALL: For they shall be called children of God.

Leader: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake

ALL: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

A Time of Sharing

What are we seeing, hearing, and feeling in this moment? (Participants may share briefly)

 

Affirmation of Sight

ALL: [Sister/Brother] ____________________, we see you. We acknowledge your death and your life. You did not leave this world unnoticed. We hold your memory in our love and care, affirm that your life was and is treasured by God.

 

Litany of Deliverance (_______________)

(The response is “Save us, O God”)

Leader: From the prevalence of sexual assault (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the hopelessness of suicide (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the brutality of murder and violence (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the corruption of senseless death (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the ways human dignity is stripped (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the bitterness of homelessness and empty pockets (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the snare of mental illness and all discrimination (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the silence of apathy and neglect (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the deserts of ignorance and suffering (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: From the arrogance of racism and despair (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: And from all evil… (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: And from all evil…. (ALL: Save us, O God)

Leader: And from all evil…. (ALL: Save us, O God)

ALL: Amen

 

Song – Jesus Name Above All Names

Jesus, Name above all Names

Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord

Emmanuel, God is with us

Blessed Redeemer, Living Word

 

Christo, Nombre Mas Alto;

Salvador Nuestro, Glorioso Senor

Emmanuel, Dios Con Nosotros;

Pan De La Vida, Cordero De Dios

 

Song – Our Cities Cry to You (sung to the tune of Amazing Grace)

Our cities cry to you, O God

Out from the pain and strife,

You made us for yourself alone

But we chose alien life.

 

Our goals are pleasure, gold and power

Injustice stalks our earth,

In vain we seek for rest, for joy,

For sense of human worth.

 

Yet still you walk the streets, O Christ!

We know your presence here,

Where humble people love and serve

In godly grace and fear.

 

O Word made flesh be seen in us

May all we say and do

Affirm you God incarnate still,

And turn all hearts to you.

 

Reading adapted from Isaiah 61:1-4 (__________________)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me

because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.

to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion –

to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,

the oil of joy instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated.

They will renew the cities that have been devastated for generations.

 

Prayer for the Neighborhood (__________________)

(adapted from Walter Brueggemann’s Prayers for a Privileged People) 

Leader:

You are the God who has set us in families and clans and tribes, in communities and in cities.

We give you thanks this day that you are Lord of the city of _________________ and Lord of this very neighborhood.

We pray for the city of _________________ today, and we pray for this neighborhood

and for neighborhoods like it in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Moscow

and a thousand other villages in your cities around the world.

In all of our cities this day

there will be violence, crime and sharp moneymaking,

and also compassion and forgiveness and generosity,

and leaders who work for both justice and injustice.

ALL:

Be our God this day and prosper in the city of ____________________

We pray in the name of the One who wept over the city,

Amen.

 

Reclaiming Ritual – Blessing of the Water (________________)

Leader: We come together this day to reclaim this space of assault as a place of life. This place where violence occurred we are reclaiming as a place of peace. This place that causes fear, anger, and pain, we are reclaiming as a place of hope and community. We reclaim the humanity of both victim and victimizer in God’s name.

(Water is sprinkled on those present)

Leader: Come, Holy Spirit, to this place. As we sprinkle this water, come Holy Spirit, and redeem this space and people from the pain and death that occurred here. Return it as a safe place, a place of love, a place of life, a place of hope. Amen.

ALL: That which was taken away from us by violence, we reclaim as a place of life, community, and hope. We pledge to work toward a world free from violence and self-destruction and full of love and hope. We commit ourselves to building community that is humane, compassionate, just, and filled with dignity.

 

Blessing of Survivors (If Present) (_______________________)

(Hands are laid on survivors of the event)

Christ be with you, Christ within you,

Christ behind you, Christ before you,

Christ beside you, Christ to win you,

Christ to comfort and restore you,

Christ beneath you, Christ above you,

Christ in quiet and in danger,

Christ in hearts of those who love you,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

 

Neighborhood Blessing (____________________)

Leader: What is a blessing but a rain of grace falling generously into the lives of those in need; and what neighborhood in this city is without need?

ALL:   God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May the Spirit touch _______________ in this morning pause. May this day provide a pathway filled with hope and renewal. May there be work here today that is God’s love made visible.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May a heart of grace and benevolence be born here today. And may that birth bless each person in this community with hope for the future.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May the resurrection be experienced in _______________ today. As old enemies are moved toward reconciliation, exclusion becomes embrace, and as voices of criticism and hate are transformed into encouragement.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: May greed and excess dissolve into the soil of community gardens where neighbors and families share meals together and where children are free to play and explore their curiosities.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood.

Leader: God, breathe upon _____________ so when the people look in the mirror, they may see themselves as they truly are… a beautiful reflection of You.

ALL: God, we ask your blessing on this neighborhood. Amen.

 

Benediction (_____________)

Leader: Our service is ended. As we leave this place, our prayer is that each of us might act in some way to uphold the dignity of every person – so that all would see that violence will not prevail in our community and peace will endure.

Beloved of God, may we go on our day with the courage to love. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted. Support the weak. Love one another as God loves you. As this is home to the trauma and healing of our [sister/brother] ________________, it is also home to God. God blesses both this space and ________________.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because we have been anointed to announce good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to declare the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of love. Amen.

All: Thanks be to God.

 

© Street Psalms. Permission granted for this liturgy to be reproduced for local community gatherings only; may not otherwise be distributed without permission from Street Psalms.

Behind the Prayer of Discernment: The Examen

 

For a number of years the Street Psalms Community has developed and shared a Prayer of Discernment as a way of shared spiritual formation that listens to the movement of the Spirit in our inner experience and our public life. This prayer is based on the Examen, which is a guide for prayer that helps us review the events of our day (or other period of time) with gratitude, reflection, and intention.

The Examen was developed by Ignatius of Loyola as part of his “Spiritual Exercises” more than 400 years ago, and has proven across many eras and cultures to be a reliable guide for the life of the soul. Ignatius was a brilliant, ambitious man of action who was forced into a time solitude and introspection as a result of a war wound. During his recovery he underwent a spiritual conversion and devoted himself to guiding others into a vibrant life with God.

The form of the Examen is highly adaptable, but typically includes five movements such as these:

  1. Presence – awareness of God in this moment
  2. Gratitude – for the events of the day
  3. Gift of the Spirit – who uses our desires and emotions to illuminate paths to freedom
  4. Reflection – on our choices, actions, and thoughts in this day
  5. Resolve – how will we act on the Spirit’s invitation and leading?

Ignatius paid keen attention to the function of desire in our hearts. He expressed fundamental trust that we were created to desire God, and can trust our deepest desires to lead us into God’s delight for our lives. While aware that our desires are often terribly misplaced and disordered on a surface level, he urged us toward awareness of the more deeply implanted desires for God stirring within. The Examen is a prayerful way of listening to these stirrings so that we may respond to the Spirit’s prompting.

The Examen invites honesty. For this reason, some portions can be uncomfortable and even painful. We can risk this level of honesty in the awareness that we are protected by God’s Spirit and held in love. In the mystery of Christ, we are invited to die to what is false and be born into what is true.

The Examen is particularly suited for reflective activists engaged in transformation in vulnerable communities, because of its congruence with asset-based approaches (e.g. asset-based community development and empowerment). This way of prayer cultivates an awareness of God’s abundance that is present in any context. For a number of years the Street Psalms Community has practiced a form of the Examen in our individual prayer times and corporate worship gatherings.

 

Lectio Divina – Personal Reading

 

Seek in READING
and you will find in MEDITATION
knock in PRAYER
and it will be opened to you in CONTEMPLATION
– St. John of the Cross, paraphrasing Luke 11:9

Lectio Divina, or “sacred reading,” is an ancient way of prayerfully receiving the Word of God. There are typically four movements:
• Lectio – reading a selected text
• Meditatio – meditating on a specific word or phrase that stands out
• Oratio – speaking to God in prayer, journaling, or sharing with others in a group
• Contemplatio – contemplation… simply “being” with God, resting in God’s embrace without words, awake to the movement of the Spirit.

These guidelines are for individual Lectio. Lectio is a way of prayerful listening, so leave space for silence throughout your time.

To begin, choose the Scripture passage you wish to pray. A few verses are better than a whole chapter. You might start with a short story from the Gospels or a portion of the Psalms. Get in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become attentive. Some people focus for a few moments on their breathing; others have a “prayer word” or “phrase” they slowly recite to become centered. When you are ready, move through the following four phases of interaction with your chosen Scripture:

Phase One – Lectio (reading)
What does the text say?
Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently, out loud. Savor the reading, feel the sensation of words in your mouth. Pay attention to gut-level responses. Does a particular word or phrase stand out? Listen for the “still, small voice” of a portion of the reading that says, “I am for you today.”

Phase Two – Meditatio (meditation)
What does the text say specifically to me at this point in my life?
Take the word or phrase into yourself. Slowly repeat it, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, joys, hopes, memories, and ideas. Let your imagination engage the text. Is there an invitation here from God?

Phase Three – Oratio (prayer)
What do I say to God through the text?
Speak to God in response. Be honest with emotions and thoughts – even perhaps, any resistance you might be experiencing. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Wrestle honestly if you need to. Finally, give to God what you have encountered in your heart today.

Phase Four – Contemplatio (contemplation)
Be still, resting in God’s embrace, letting God work in your spirit.