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.

 

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