compassion

Residents pray for end to violence

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

in News

Feeling the weight of recent events, Jennings residents sought a way to take action. Sister Valerie Sweeney, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings, coordinated a prayer service that offered an activity of unity that also reflects Jennings’ value of compassion. All who wished to participate were invited to join, with residents also taking on parts as readers.

If you too are seeking prayer for an end to violence, we invite you to see this prayer service content from the service:

A Prayer Service to End Gun Violence

Opening Song: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace or Peace Is Flowing Like a River

Reader 1: Merciful Lord, we come to you heavy hearted, for we have heard the cries of the slain calling to us from the ground. We come remembering all the lives lost to the weapons of war that have flooded our communities. We come reminded of the many bodies locked in jails and prisons all across this country.  And we ask for your mercy.

Reader 2: Although we find ourselves in a broken world – a world in which hurting people hurt other people, it is no mystery that you are a God capable of healing our world through justice and fairness.  Your own revelation has shown us that you stand firmly with those people whose backs are against the wall. Your own life demonstrates how you came from heaven to earth to redeem creation, our communities and our own lives. So we ask for this same redemptive power to be unleashed among us as it was on the day of Pentecost. May we be empowered by your Spirit to reverse the conditions that produce men and women who are driven to resort to violence and destructive behavior for no reasonable purpose.

Reader 3: We know that you take no pleasure in the death of anyone, so we boldly come to the throne of grace today dear Lord, seeking your wisdom as we create strategies that provide pathways and lifelines to hope and healing. Help us to remember we are all your children, created in your image, and we are connected by a single garment of mutuality and destiny. Help us to never forget how our needs are the same and our calling to address these needs is the same. Reveal to us Lord, that the pain felt in Newtown is the same pain felt in Chicago. The tears shed in Las Vegas are the same tears shed in Orlando. The lives lost in Sandy Hook are the same lives lost in Detroit.

Reader 4: We cry out to you, heal our souls from this scourge of violence. Endow us with the courage to step down from the pulpits and out of our homes to seek the peace of the land. In the coming days and weeks as our leaders debate solutions, Lord we ask that you grant us the voice to speak truth to power and demonstrate sacrificial compassion to the hurting.

Reader 5: Teach us your ways, O God. Bless us with the wisdom and strength to put down our swords and be peacemakers. Use us, work through us and, if necessary, work in spite of us to mend our nation’s brokenness. We thank you for your protecting embrace and unfailing love. All of these requests we bring to you, in the name of Jesus the Lord, we pray. Amen.

Gospel Reading: Matthew: 10:28-33
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 80:4

All: O Lord of Hosts, restore us. If Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Reader 1: Hear our prayer, O Lord, rouse Your power and come. We are in the dark, with no light to lead our way. We stumble and fall without Your beacon of peace to guide us.

All: O Lord of Hosts, restore us. If Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Reader 1: Lord, we beseech You to show yourself. Come to our aid, guide us in our despair, assist us to break free of the violence in our hearts, homes and communities.

All: O Lord of Hosts, restore us. If Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.

Prayers of the Faithful: Our response is “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Reader 2: For all victims of violence, crime, abuse and terrorism, for the elderly who feel imprisoned, for the youth on the streets, for children who are victimized. We pray…

Reader 3: For all those who commit acts of violence; from those who speak harsh words in anger, to those who hate others who are different from themselves, to those who take the life of another. We pray…

Reader 4: For our youth who experience violence from their peers, strangers and family members in their schools, neighborhoods and homes. We pray…

Reader 5: For each of us gathered here today, that we may learn to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God. We pray…

Closing Prayer: Good and loving God, we ask you today to show us the way to peace. Comfort those who mourn and bless those who have died with eternal life with you. Soften the hearts and steady the minds of those who would do violence to others. May hate be replaced with love, violence with peace, and darkness with your light. We ask these blessings in your goodness and love, Amen.

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