Liturgy for Peace

I continue to wrestle with how we as Christian people might respond with wisdom, compassion, and integrity to the world at war (and otherwise lacking peace).

The combination of rightly identifying God as a God of peace, of crying out to God to make that character known in the real world, and of confessing our own failures to be a peaceable people is woven into this “Liturgy for Peace” that we read together at our church’s worship service last night.

A Corporate Confession and Prayer for Peace

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 to 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 San Francisco
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 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 they 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 diving walls,
Or to white-wash them with in 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:
For the alien at our borders,
For the civilian at the other ends of our guns,
Even for those whom we have labeled enemies.

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

Silent Meditation

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 will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20-21 NRS)

12 thoughts on “Liturgy for Peace”

      1. Mr. Kirk, is that response what years of theology have concluded for you?

        Is not the church considered Christ’s bride ( gender specifically given, to show a relationship )?

        Is not Wisdom spoken of by a certain a gender ( perhaps eluding to the mystery of man and wife / Christ and church )?

        Is not the Father portrayed with a specific gender ( showing the hierarchy of His kingdom, having a King at the head and not a queen )?

        Did not Christ teach, speak and reveal the Father and as “Father” and not a neutral gender?

        Surely God grants these perspectives for man’s intellectual benefit; so man may somehow via the faith God allots him to understand what so many miss ( who God is ).

        Please share where you are pulling the “mother of the world” phrasing / train of thought from.

  1. A read of these would shed light onto what has happened and may happen yet again, although a new era / age / time / wine skin exists with far too many not realizing:

    Deuteronomy 4 ( specifically 27-40 )

    Leviticus 26 ( specifically v 33-46 )

    Ezekiel 22 ( specifically 15-31 )

    Jeremiah 9 ( specifically 16-26 )

    The consequence of Israel’s unfaithfulness has been seen time and time again… and the Lord promised He would leave a remnant… and a remnant has existed living peacefully on the land after the several expulsions, from the times of the Roman Empire to the Ottoman Empire, we see God’s promise hasn’t failed.

    The believer Today must understand that Yeshua Christ fulfilled all things in God’s law and today His kingdom is not one you can see or easily identify, it is not a political entity or a religious organization ( although that is sadly how many have been led to ‘see’ it ).

    His fulfillment of the law also eliminated the monopoly the people of Israel ( descendents of Abraham ) “believed” they held: worship and knowledge of the One and only God. This is why Peter was surprised that the Spirit was poured out onto gentiles / the uncircumcised.

    Today we see that His kingdom has in fact become greater than all other kingdoms before ( His being a spiritual kingdom unseen while all others before it being material kingdoms with political borders and political ideologies; kingdoms made of men and for worldly purposes, even the corporate entity called “the state of Israel” ).

    The fighting over a piece of real estate is not part of the path of peace that Christ commands the faithful to follow, we saw the first disciples leave everything to follow Christ.

    I am glad people are starting to acknowledge their programming and conditioning in blindly supporting genocide, blindly supporting their and other governments who cause and make war, blindly supporting hostile political entities and blindly supporting those who say they know God yet do not know His Christ ( you will know them by their deeds ).

    Look at the new wine, which has no political affiliation, no nationality, no pride in patriarchy or blood lines, no delusion from secular success and no duality caused by believing the manipulations of man:

    “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” – Galatians 3:7-11

    “So in Christ Yeshua you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Yeshua. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:26-29

    “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” – Romans 9:6-8

    “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” – Colossians 3:11

    “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars — I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” – Revelations 3:9-10

    Remember also that a new Jerusalem is promised, not one made by human hands nor brought about by human efforts… when Yeshua calls His faithful to Zion, why do people believe He is talking about that strip of land that has seen so much war when the entire earth is the Lord’s and the entire earth will be quenched with fire??

  2. Daniel,
    Thanks for this thoughtful litany. I could imagine using this as part of a sermon on peacemaking and just providing some guiding words around and in the middle – leading people to do these various reflections and that would be that! So now that I’ve imagined it, can I?? Can I please!?

  3. Thank you SO much for this thoughtful and sensitive liturgy … I have struggled to know how to lead our school chapel this week as I wanted to somehow cover the Israel/Palestine conflict but didn’t want to take an “informing/educational” approach to it – I wanted something more spiritual …
    And I for one appreciated the inclusive language for God despite some of the comments you have received about this!! :)

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