A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Chicago Coalition of Clergy has declared this a "Weekend of Peace" in the Chicago region, and called upon all who live here to attend a religious service at a mosque, synagogue or church in order to pray for an end to violence on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Following is the litany I wrote that we will use at my parish tomorrow morning:

Litany for the Weekend of Peace in Chicago
Deacon: As people across our region gather this weekend in churches, synagogues, and mosques, let us bring before God our grief and righteous anger at the violence in our region and beyond, as well as our hopes for and commitment to a more peaceful future, responding after each petition, "Lord, have mercy."

For every life extinguished by an act of violence, and for every family and community plunged into mourning; we pray to you, O Lord:

For those who believe their lives to be devoid of purpose, and for those whose dreams of a new and different life are thwarted, we pray to you, O Lord:

For an end to societal structures that foster division, inequality, fear, and violence; and for those who, actively or passively, help maintain such structures, we pray to you, O Lord:

 For those who believe that violence must be answered with more violence; and for those who feel they have no other adequate response, we pray to you, O Lord:
For those who believe themselves far removed from the region’s violence, that they may understand the interconnectedness of all humanity and our responsibility for one another, we pray to you, O Lord:

For those actively working to bring an end to the root causes of violence; and for those who turn a blind eye to its existence, its causes, and its consequences, we pray to you, O Lord:

For civility in public discourse, and for an end to polarization of political debate, we pray to you, O Lord:

For an end to the exploitation of tragedy for religious validation or political gain, we pray to you, O Lord:

Concluding Collect (Presider):
Lord, make us instruments of your peace in all times, places, and situations. Where enmity, rage, and despair rule the day, may we sow the seeds of reconciliation, love, and hope. Bring all of us to the knowledge that true peace is found not in the absence of violent conflict, but rather in the presence of charity, understanding, and genuine desire for the common good; through Him whose death on the cross embraced all the world’s pain and whose resurrection is the hope of the world, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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