World Week for Peace Palestine Israel:16 – 23 September 2018

The third week of September is the annual World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI). It includes the International Day of Peace. This week is a time for people of faith to join together in worship and prayer in support of an end to the occupation of Palestine. WWPPI calls on its participants to work for an end to the occupation, so that Palestinians and Israelis can finally live in peace. Learn more about this issue at Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel.

The 2018 theme is “Youth and Children: Raising Hope and Making Change”. Youth and children are the ones who suffer the most in conflicts and under occupation. They are also the ones who will hold the future of Palestine and Israel in their hands, the ones we pray will grow up with peace and prosperity.
WCC background information and prayers here. WWPPI-2018

2017 marked 50 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine. 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the Gaza blockade. The young people of Palestine and Israel have known nothing else but the tragic division created by the occupation.

wwppiWorld Week for Peace in Palestine Israel
As participants in the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples. Events and activities are planned around the following three principles:
1. Praying with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week.
2. Educating about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to the wall.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

WWPPI – World Council of Churches website
The 2018 theme will be published in the end of April. Focus on children and youth in Palestine and Israel. Resources will be published at the end of June.

Here’s a wonderful prayer resource on the Christian Aid website. Well worth checking out.

Useful websiteSabeel Kairos

Prayer for peace by Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah

Video shows 3,000 Israelis, Muslims, Jews and Christian together in Haifa singing Matisyahu’s “ONE DAY”

Gallery of images (WCC)

Letter from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on the occasion of the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, 2016
Geneva, 16 September 2016
“He . . . has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” Ephesians 2.14

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I write to you on the occasion of the upcoming World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI). This has been an annual event for several years. Beginning on 18 September, churches throughout the world will join in prayer for the sake of peace based on justice for the peoples of Israel and Palestine. We need to continue our work together and our prayers together for a just peace. Israel and Palestine should be two states living in peace with justice as neighbors. We know this is not the reality. The region is still marked by lack of peace, by occupation, violence in many forms, violations of human rights and lack of trust and confidence between the two peoples and the three religions.
The theme for this year’s WWPPI is “Dismantling Barriers.” In the Israeli-Palestinian context, references to barriers bring up images of the separation barrier dividing Israelis from Palestinians and many Palestinians from their families, farms, and communities. This barrier continues to be blight on the landscape. It is a tragic monument of failures to establish a just peace. It was built as a means to bring security for the population on one side, but not for the people on the other side, rather to the contrary. It is a monument of a policy of occupation that seems to be leading to annexation of land, by including illegal settlements on occupied land into Israel. It brings direct harm to many Palestinians. It is built on occupied territories, not on internationally recognized borders, and therefore defined as illegal where it is now.
But it is not the only barrier standing in the way of peace. In this week of prayer, we will focus on many barriers that stand in the way of flourishing for all in Israel and Palestine: barriers of mistrust and hostility, barriers of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, barriers of self-centeredness and entitlement.
Many member churches of the WCC have made peace with justice in Israel and Palestine a matter of our highest concern and of our prayers. The global church effort to promote awareness and advocacy informed by the perspectives of Christians in Palestine and Israel is growing. Many have visited our brothers and sisters there and saw and heard themselves what the reality is. The voice of the churches is being received in many national and international arenas.
As a global fellowship of churches, we know of the many problems plaguing our world. The Israeli-Palestinian context is not the only place where injustice and fear reign. Even in the Middle East, Israel and Palestine do not constitute the only acute sites of human suffering. It is, however, one of the few places in the world where injustice is directly supported or at least accepted by a broad coalition of worldly power. For their own interests and reasons, today’s most powerful countries choose to allow this situation to continue and intensify.
What then shall we do? Now is the time for Christians around the world to stand with all who are seeking peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. Our witness cannot be compromised or muted. The vulnerable communities of the Middle East—and Christians are unfortunately counted among these—must not be left alone.
It is time for our global fellowship of churches to challenge all of the barriers that perpetuate injustice in Israel and Palestine. The WWPPI provides us with an opportunity to focus our efforts in order to amplify our voices for justice and peace, in global solidarity with all who are suffering from these barriers and the unsolved conflict they bear witness to.
I therefore invite you to participate in the WWPPI. You have to find your own ways to participate in this significant week of witness and peacebuilding. The material and proposed activities are for your use or to be amended in a way that is suitable for you and your church. I hope that you will be strengthened in your solidarity and commitment to justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.
In order to prepare for your participation in this global collective prayer, I commend to you this segment of the proposed WWPPI liturgy:
O God of mercy,
Free humanity from our sinful ways.
Where walls have been built up
Teach us to build bridges of understanding.
When hearts are hardened
Open them to the sufferings of the neighbor.
When we are oppressed
Preserve our dignity and give us courage to resist.
When we are the oppressor
Change our hearts and reform our ways.
(Source: Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC General Secretary)

Prayer for Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine
(inspired by Psalm 23 and A Moment of Truth: Kairos Palestine, section 3)
God, you are our hope, we shall not let go.
You help us seek peace, justice, hope, and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis,
You lead us towards courageous actions.
We stand in solidarity with those in places of unrest, and living with instabilityand fear, to advocate for the basic human rights of all people, support the peace-builders who are actively resisting the dehumanizing forces of violence, and better proclaim the gospel of peace for your sake.
Even though there is uncertainty, indifference, and opposition,
grant us the strength to continually seek an end to the occupation,
so that Israelis and Palestinians can create a better future for themselves.
Even as we dream of a time when Israel/Palestine will be a symbol of hope, peace, and reconciliation, help us to be mindfully aware of the volatile present.
Draw close to the multitude of injured and grieving people in the Holy Land;
gather up the hopeless, and abide with the physically and emotionally oppressed;
may your presence and your kin’dom comfort our siblings in their suffering.
God, prepare tables of dialogue and opportunities for truth-telling around us.
Open the hearts of hurting people so that they may witness small signs of hope.
Surely, with your help, we will continue to seek justice and resist evil, all the days of our lives, until all are able to live abundantly. Amen.
(Source: United Church Canada)

Prayer: Where are you, God?
Voice A: Just and merciful God,
we glimpse your presence in the world you have created,
its power and its beauty, music and poetry,
its diversity, fertility, the possibility of food for everyone
ancient olive trees and fruit to be harvested
the dream of fullness of life for all your children:
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Voice B: Yet we see that power misused, beauty marred,
Discord, lies and fear dividing humankind
as well as concrete walls and barbed wire
failure to share causing hunger or consuming anger.
Where are you, God?
Where are you, God?
Voice A: We hear the Good News that Jesus brought,
the affirmation of the value of every human life,
the Gospel that commands us to seek peace with justice;
we understand that costly reconciliation is at its heart:
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Voice B: Yet we see that good news denied by apathy,
mocked by prejudice, hatred and refusal to forgive,
and we feel helpless in the face of suffering.
Where are you, God?
Where are you, God?
Voice A: You are present where women and men of good will
still choose to live in your way,
caring for creation and for each other,
courageously speaking truth to power.
Voice B: You are there when elderly people share their wisdom,
And young people share their dreams.
You are there when street children dance in the rain,
where, over the rubble, kites are flying.
You are present wherever, in this broken world, hope is alive.
(Source: Jan Sutch Pickard, Pax Christi)

“Then justice will dwell in the land and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace 
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” — Isaiah 32:16-17
O God of life and love and peace,
We witness the violence and injustice in your Holy Land
And our hearts break.
Our hearts break for all Palestinians –
For the victims of violent attacks from Israelis
For those who have endured decades of occupation and oppression
For those whose homes and olive orchards have been demolished
For those who languish in Israeli prisons and in the “open air prison” of Gaza
For those without nearly enough water and electricity and medical care
For those who are refugees, long displaced from their homes.
Our hearts break for the Jewish people of Israel—
For the victims of violent attacks from Palestinians
For those who live with fear and insecurity
For those who re-live the trauma of the Holocaust over and over.
Our hearts break for the wider world—
For those who are indifferent to the pain and suffering in your Holy Land
For those who distort or turn their eyes from truth
For those who fail to see the humanity of all your children.
Heal us all, O God.
Heal the broken and comfort the sorrowful.
Give hope to the hopeless and courage to the fearful.
Strengthen the peacemakers and reconcilers.
Confront those who practice injustice and commit violence.
We especially pray—
That weapons of war be laid down
That walls of separation and the machinery of occupation be dismantled
That prisoners be released
That demonizing of “the other” cease
That political leaders seek the good of all people in Palestine and Israel.
We pray also for ourselves –
That our eyes will be opened to the ways in which our beliefs and actions have contributed to injustice and to violence.
O God, whose heart breaks for the world,
May your justice dwell in the land
May your righteousness abide in fruitful fields
May the effect of righteousness be quietness and trust forever
May the effect of justice be peace – enduring peace.
Amen
(Source: Mennonite Central Committee 2018)

Sabeel Wave of Prayer – Thursday 27th September 2018
The ‘Great March of Return’ continues with more Palestinians coming under live fire from the Israeli military forces. It has also been reported that Palestinian fishermen are coming under pressure from frequent arrests and live fire from the Israeli Navy. This constant pressure on the livelihoods of these fishermen means that 95% of the fishing industry in Gaza now live below the poverty line.
Lord, we continue to hold the protestors in our prayers; cast your net of protection over Gaza and its fisherman so that they may catch abundant fish without the threat of arrest or injury.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayers.
Thirty-four Democratic senators, more than a third of the U.S. Senate, have signed a letter criticising the Trump administration’s recent decisions to withhold American aid from the Palestinians. The senators warned that these cuts, including the loss of aid to hospitals in Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem, will harm Israel’s security. Now, Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on President Trump to reverse his decision to impose cuts, saying that they will contribute towards a humanitarian crisis in the region.
Lord, you never faint or grow weary. We pray for the efforts of lawmakers around the world who work for the powerless and the dispossessed. We pray that you would renew their strength and encourage them in their work for justice.
Lord, in your mercy . . .hear our prayers
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) have recently completed work on a wastewater reuse project in Ramallah to increase the amount of water available for drinking by using wastewater for non-domestic uses including firefighting and irrigation of crops and gardens. Ramallah City, the West Bank, suffers from severe water shortages resulting from drought, population growth, and Israel’s limiting Palestinian access to groundwater resources.
God who called us forth from the dust and watered our lands with countless streams and great rivers, as we gaze upon this world that so thirsts for your water let it remind us of all the thirsts in this land: the thirst for justice, the thirst for peace, the thirst for opportunity, the thirst for reconciliation and the thirst for hope.
Lord, in your mercy . . .hear our prayers
The Israeli Civil Administration announced an expansion plan of the Israeli settlement of Tina Omarim in the town of Dahriyeh, Hebron. The Land Research Centre, a Palestinian research centre, released a report on Monday, the 17th of September, which shows that the Israeli Civil Administration have published a plan that would change the classification of the Palestinian-owned land from agricultural to urban, in order to justify expanding the illegal Israeli settlement. The report said that the plan would lead to the seizure of 260 dunums, (64 acres) of Palestinian-owned land in the al-Thahriyeh town.
Lord, the Israeli occupation continues to dispossess the Palestinian people of their land. We pray that those who stand for international law and human rights would speak out and expose the illegal actions of Israel.
Lord, in your mercy . . .hear our prayers
Sabeel continues to organise local Bible study groups in the community to help Christians to come together and reflect on what it means to follow Christ today, living under the oppressive constraints in the land of Palestine and Israel.
Lord, your words are life and light. We give thanks to all the lay leaders who help organise the Bible Study groups and prepare the material. Accept our prayers as incense offered to you, and our upraised hands as an evening offering (Psalm 141).
Lord, in your mercy . . .hear our prayers
Several international groups are to participate in the Palestine Circus Festival, set to take place in 32 locations across the occupied West Bank, which will be held under the slogan ‘United for Freedom’.
Lord, we thank you for those willing to bring their creative gifts together to highlight injustice. May your innovative spirit bless all those involved with this project.
Lord, in your mercy . . .hear our prayers
(Source: Sabeel Kairos)

Why is this year different – a great liturgy by Jan Such Pickard (written for 2017 but easily adapted)

Blogsite of an EAPPI participant, 2017 (Ecumenical Accompanist Program to Palestine and Israel)

An EAPPI participant’s reflections, posted on Easter Sunday 2017:
I sit with despondency as my head tries to comprehend what it is that causes such deep distrust and enmity between two peoples who have shared this land for millennia. I see so many similarities in these deeply spiritual, tradition-rich peoples – love of family, music, culture, land. Read the full post here

2015 Theme:“God has broken down the dividing walls”. Worship, prayer, resources here.
The hashtag during the week was: “#WallWillFall”. #PrayForPeace
The focus was ‘pray, educate, advocate’.

World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 2015

“It is our sincere desire and prayer, shared with many Jews and Muslims, that there should be no hostilities among neighbours in Israel and Palestine, and beyond, in the whole Middle East region.” These were the words of the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, shared in his message for the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI). Read the WCC press release 18 September 2015.

palestineThe Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches invites member churches, faith-based communities, and civil society organizations around the world to join together in 2015 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel. Congregations and individuals around the globe who share the hope of justice shall unite during the week to take peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness.

As participants in World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, from 20 to 26 September 2015, churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own churches about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples.

Participants will organize and join in events and activities around the following three principles:

1. Praying with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week.
2. Educating about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to prisoners.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

Why?
This annual observance of a week of prayer, education, and advocacy calls participants to work for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine, so that Palestinians and Israelis can finally live in peace. It has been 66 years since the creation of the State of Israel. This has not led to the creation of an independent Palestinian state but has only deepened the tragedy of the Palestinian people. It is now 47 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza overwhelmed the peaceful vision of one land, two peoples.

Yet the dream of one nation cannot be fulfilled at the expense of another.
The action week’s message is that now:

  • It’s time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.
  • It’s time for freedom from occupation.
  • It’s time for equal rights.
  • It’s time for the healing of wounded souls.

wallIt’s time for Palestine
It’s time for Palestine.
It’s time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.

It’s time to respect human lives in the land called holy.
It’s time for healing to begin in wounded souls.
It’s time to end more than 60 years of conflict, oppression and fear.
It’s time for freedom from occupation.

It’s time for equal rights.
It’s time to stop discrimination, segregation and restrictions on movement.
It’s time for those who put up walls and fences to build them on their own property.
It’s time to stop bulldozing one community’s homes and building homes for the other community on land that is not theirs.
It’s time to do away with double standards.

It’s time for Israeli citizens to have security and secure borders agreed with their neighbours.
It’s time for the international community to implement more than 60 years of United Nations resolutions.
It’s time for Israel’s government to complete the bargain offered in the Arab Peace Initiative.
It’s time for those who represent the Palestinian people to all be involved in making peace.
It’s time for people who have been refugees for more than 60 years to regain their rights and a permanent home.
It’s time to assist settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to make their home in Israel.
It’s time for self-determination.

It’s time for foreigners to visit Bethlehem and other towns imprisoned by the wall.
It’s time to see settlements in their comfort and refugee camps in their despair.
It’s time for people living more than 40 years under occupation to feel new solidarity from a watching world.

It’s time to name the shame of collective punishment and to end it in all its forms.
It’s time to be revolted by violence against civilians and for civilians on both sides to be safe.
It’s time for both sides to release their prisoners and give those justly accused a fair trial.
It’s time to reunite the people of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
It’s time for all parties to obey international humanitarian and human rights law.

It’s time to share Jerusalem as the capital of two nations and a city holy to three religions.
It’s time for Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities to be free to visit their holy sites.
It’s time in Palestine as in Israel for olive trees to flourish and grow old.

It’s time to honour all who have suffered, Palestinians and Israelis.
It’s time to learn from past wrongs.
It’s time to understand pent-up anger and begin to set things right.
It’s time for those with blood on their hands to acknowledge what they have done.
It’s time to seek forgiveness between communities and to repair a broken land together.
It’s time to move forward as human beings who are all made in the image of God.

All who are able to speak truth to power must speak it.
All who would break the silence surrounding injustice must break it.
All who have something to give for peace must give it.
For Palestine, for Israel and for a troubled world,
It’s time for peace.

A prayer for peace in the Middle East

God of justice, bless those who work for peace through justice. Strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence. Guide the leaders of the people of the Middle East to know your will and to support a just peace for all of your children.

God of love, lifting up the holy land for all humankind, breathe love and compassion into our prayers with a desire for nothing other than peace: peace in our hearts, peace for all creation, and especially peace in the land that is called holy.

*God of hope, we lift up the city of Jerusalem, distracted and divided, yet still filled with promise as all the cities of the world. Come again into our cities, places of worship, Upper Rooms and Gethsemanes, that we may be given sight to recognize you.

God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in Palestine and Israel and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of the Holy Land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.

God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, give us faith in you that we may be strengthened to care for all those in need until the coming of your son, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer for Peace in Palestine and Israel
Holy One,
We long to be people who work for peace with justice.
But there are times when we are unsure if we can make a difference.
There are times when we become anxious about taking a step forward.
There are times when deep in our hearts we know we must face criticism from those who would prefer we remain silent.
Weeping God,
We long for peace with justice for the people of Palestine and Israel:
We hear Palestinians cry out, asking us 
“to speak for truth and to take a stand for truth regarding the occupation.”1
We hear Israeli peace activists echoing the voices of Isaiah and Jeremiah, Amos and Micah,
 calling their government to account for injustices against Palestinians.
We long for safe and secure living conditions for all:
For Israelis who worry about missile attacks from Hamas,
For Palestinians who live with the constant reality of Israeli military incursions into their homes and communities.
We long for safety for the vulnerable:
For children and other civilians who face live fire, missiles, plastic and rubber bullets,
stun grenades and land mines, tear gas and skunk water2 attacks.
We long for comfort to those who mourn:
For all who have lost loved ones to violence,
For those who have been wounded in body, mind, and spirit.
Steadfast God,
We long for safe shelter for all:
For those whose homes have been demolished,
For those who have lost access to the land tended by their families for countless generations,
For those who have been forced into refugee camps for 66 long years,
For those who are fearful about the safety of their streets.
May we be moved to tears whenever we hear of death or gratuitous violence.
We give thanks for the words of Jesus, who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,”
for it is through the peacemakers we find hope.
Grant strength to those who dare to speak truth to power.
Grant wisdom to those who work for non-violent solutions.
Healing God,
We ask that you open our hearts.
Help us to understand the sin, the injustice, and the horror that flow from an occupation.
As we struggle with how to make a difference,
Help us to recognize the ways we support injustice by our silence,
Help us realize that some of our purchases support those who benefit from the occupation.
Enable us to see a time when peace with justice prevails:
When the occupation ends and good news is proclaimed freely,
When the captives are released, and
When your favour is proclaimed across the Holy Land.
Loving God,
 Hear our prayers,
And guide us in the way of peace with justice, compassion, and mercy.
Amen.
1. A Moment of Truth: Kairos Palestine document
2. A weapon used for crowd control.
(Source: downloaded from UCC website)

Prayer for Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine
(inspired by Psalm 23 and A Moment of Truth: Kairos Palestine, section 3)
God,
you are our hope, we shall not let go.
You help us seek peace, justice, hope, and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis,
You lead us towards courageous actions.
Alongside agencies engaged for peace,
we faithfully journey to places of unrest, instability, and fear,
to advocate for the basic human rights of all people,
support the peace-builders who are actively resisting the dehumanizing forces of violence, and better proclaim the gospel of peace for your sake.
Even though there is uncertainty, indifference, and opposition,
grant us the strength to continually seek
an end to the occupation,
so that Israelis and Palestinians can create a better future for themselves.
Even as we dream of a time when Israel/Palestine will be a symbol of hope, peace, and reconciliation, help us to be mindfully aware of the volatile present.
Draw close to the multitude of injured and grieving people in the Holy Land;
gather up the hopeless,
and abide with the physically and emotionally oppressed;
may your presence and your kin’dom comfort our siblings in their suffering.
God, prepare tables of dialogue and opportunities for truth-telling around us.
Open the hearts of hurting people so that they may witness small signs of hope.
Surely, with your help, we will continue to seek justice and resist evil,
all the days of our lives,
until all are able to live abundantly.
Amen.
(Source: downloaded from UCC website)

“The Wall” 
Inspired by Ephesians 2: 14-18
O Lord, you came to us to demolish barriers between people,
To establish peace and to unite hearts
And to create a new “human being” who does not know enmity but only love Look at us all, we who live on this land that you, yourself, sanctified
You made it a land of encounter and reconciliation with all human beings.
Look at us in your sacred land,
We still live separated by walls
Though we believe that you love us all, with the same love for all
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, and hear our prayers (Ps. 4:1)
O God , the walls still exist and they are high
Not for protection but for isolation and separation, ignorance, discrimination and killing
The walls are silent but they create strife and drive love away
O lord, your children are fighting
Change their hearts,
Change the expenses of building walls and make these expenses for building fraternity and love among your children
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, and hear our prayers
They say: they are afraid
They say: They are satisfied and content
They say: They do not want to know anything about what lies on the other side of the wall And we say: we are besieged and our life is in a big prison
There is anxiety in our hearts and confusion in our speech We are all your children born to love and be loved
Have mercy on us, O Lord, and hear our prayers
We believe that your hour, the time for peace and justice will come
And we are patient
But fill our patience with your love and grant us the strength to do what you want us to
O Lord, fill our hearts with your divine security, and your power
So that fear will disappear and souls will meet in you
And walls will fall down and become bridges that join your children together
Have mercy on us, O Lord, and hear our prayers
O God, you have provided us with everything to love
The human being created in your image is capable of love
As you yourself are love
The human being is capable of peace and justice
As you, yourself, are peace and justice
But the human being refuses to be human, capable of love, peace and justice.
This obstinate refusal, you alone can change.
As you have triumphed over non-existence and death;
you created the human beings and on the Cross you recreated him/her
O Lord, re-instill his/her love again.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, and hear our prayers
Heal us of our paralysis , our inability for love, peace and justice
You are our Creator and Father, you are the “lover of all human beings” (Byzantine hymn) despite all their sins
O God, on this land there is a major sin:
One people is oppressing another people
Your children are oppressing your children.
Grant us that we may all see you
So that each one of us may see himself/herself as you created us
And see the other you created in your image able to love like you love us,
And see that both are your same image, your same love as you are love
And see ourselves as builders of justice and peace with the power of your love
Until when, O Lord,
Look down from the highest and see
Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy.
(Source: A prayer by Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah)

Prayer: Where are you, God?
Let us pray.
Voice A:
Just and merciful God,
we glimpse your presence in the world you have created,
its power and its beauty, music and poetry,
its diversity, fertility, the possibility of food for everyone
ancient olive trees and fruit to be harvested
the dream of fullness of life for all your children:
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Voice B:
Yet we see that power misused, beauty marred,
Discord, lies and fear dividing humankind
as well as concrete walls and barbed wire
failure to share causing hunger or consuming anger.
Where are you, God? Where are you, God?
Voice A:
We hear the Good News that Jesus brought,
the affirmation of the value of every human life,
the Gospel that commands us to seek peace with justice;
we understand that costly reconciliation is at its heart:
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Yes, God, you are with us in this world.
Voice B:
Yet we see that good news denied by apathy,
mocked by prejudice, hatred and refusal to forgive,
and we feel helpless in the face of suffering.
Where are you, God?
Where are you, God?
Voice A:
You are present where women and men of good will still choose to live in your way,
caring for creation and for each other, courageously speaking truth to power.
Voice B:
You are there when elderly people share their wisdom,
And young people share their dreams.
You are there when street children dance in the rain,
where, over the rubble, kites are flying.
You are present wherever – in this broken world – hope is alive.
(Source: Jan Sutch Pickard, Pax Christi)

Resources on Church of Scotland website.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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