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Friday, 21 August 2009 11:03

Prayer Service: Bless Our Lives

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Set-Up

Materials
• A central table decorated with cloth, candle, and the Scriptures. The candle is unlit until the blessing prayer. If possible, the cloth should be from a country from Africa, Asia, or the Americas. Also on the table, place the following:
• A bowl of earth and some seeds
• A pitcher of water
• A loaf of bread (or a roll, depending on the size of the group)

Ministers needed
• Leader
• Two or more readers (the additional readers can be used for the blessing and litany, if desired.)

Order of Service
Opening Song
If desired, an opening song may be sung or played. The song should reflect the theme of justice, peace, and/or blessing. One song that would greatly contribute to the theme of the prayer is "Against the Grain" by Donna Peña found on her own album, Against the Grain or on Marty Haugen's Tales of Wonder (both from G.I.A.)

Opening Prayer
LEADER: God of peace and justice,
we thank you for calling us together to participate
in your work of liberation and re-creation.
Support us, inspire us, and strengthen us
to continue to prepare for the coming of your Reign.
We make our prayer through Christ the Lord.

Reading
Five centuries of the Gospel's presence on [the American] continent have still not produced a fair distribution of the goods of the earth. And this is all the more painful when we think of the poorest of the poor: the indigenous groups, and together with them many campesinos, offended in their dignity by being excluded from the exercise of even their most fundamental rights, which also are a part of the goods destined for all. The situation of these brothers and sisters of ours cries out for justice from the Lord (Pope John Paul II, Lent 1992)

Scripture Reading
Isaiah 65:17-25 and/or Matthew 5:13-16

Prayer of Blessing
All may stand in a circle or semi-circle around the prayer table.
The first reader lights the candle and prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Flame of hope: may we be fuel and kindling for your fire.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The second reader lifts up the bowl of earth, then lowers it and plants several seeds in the dirt. He/She then prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Seed of justice: may we be fertile ground for your harvest.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The third reader lifts up the pitcher of water and then pours water onto the bowl of earth planted with the seeds. He/She then prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Water in the wilderness: may we be streams in your river of peace.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The fourth reader lifts up the loaf of bread and prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Bread of life: may we nourish our sisters and brothers.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The bread may then be passed so all may take a piece and eat.
Litany of Blessing and Intercession
There may be one or several leaders/readers for the intercessions. Inform the participants of the response, "Bless Us, God of Justice" before beginning.
READER: Bless us, O Holy One of Blessing, that we may bless you in our lives of justice and peace.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who mourn for their sisters and brothers who die from starvation or through war or injustice.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who experience your mercy through the work and witness of women and men who unloose the bonds of oppression.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who hunger and thirst for righteousness in solidarity with those who put their lives on the line for justice in their homelands.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who seek your face in the laughter of children, the wisdom of elders, the mystery of creation, and in the solace of prayer.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who work as your peacemakers to resolve conflicts, in our homes, communities and world.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
Concluding Prayer
LEADER: God of all peoples,
bless us in our work as members and supporters of development and peace.
Bless us through the challenges, struggles and joys we experience.
Bless us when we falter and when we grow weary.
Bless us with your peace.
We make this prayer through Christ the Lord.

Exchange of Peace
Invite all to exchange a sign of peace. An added option: As they greet another person, ask the participants to share with that person where or with whom they would like to share peace: a group of people, a country divided by war, places where violence or poverty is extreme, etc.

Closing Song
A good closing song that would greatly contribute to the theme of the prayer and balance the suggestion in the opening song is "Walk in the Reign" by Rory Cooney found on his album, Safety Harbor (from G.I.A.).

 

Copyright - Center for Ministry Development, PO Box 699, Naugatuck CT 06770, USA, 203-723-1622;
www.cmdnet.org
Used with permission, all rights reserved

 

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