resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

The heartbreaking aftermath of chemical warfare in Syria (April 2017), followed by targetted bombing by the US, is the background to this reflection by Steve Garnaas-Holmes in Holy Week:

The Empire Feeds
Cold and dark clamp down on us.
The Empire feeds itself,
human bodies as fuel,
boots tracking blood.
Rachel weeping for her children,
we’ve heard it before.
The man with the megaphone doesn’t care.
The emperor has spoken.
Only the most fragile voice
cries out for hope.
The gentle bear it,
weeping in our language.
Always the target,
amid the smoke and carnage,
the fallen stones,
the ruined toddlers,
the Beloved stands,
a little tree –
who planted you here? –
offering fruit to anyone,
blood-red and life giving,
arms outstretched,
quietly crying,
“Fear not; it is I.”
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

WCC condemns terror attacks on churches in Egypt
The World Council of Churches (WCC) condemns the vicious attacks on innocent worshippers celebrating Palm Sunday at St George (Mar Girgis) Coptic church in Tanta and in front of St Mark´s church in Alexandria, Egypt. WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expresses profound sorrow and offered condolences and prayers for the families of the victims, for the wounded and for all the people of Egypt. He encourages Egyptians to stand firm and united through the many trials and tribulations that continue to threaten. “In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence.” See the full statement here.

As we grieve this tragic loss of life and attack on the Church body, we hold our Coptic brothers and sisters in prayer.
Prayer for the Coptic Church in Egypt
On this Holy Week,
As we journey with Jesus to the cross,
We hold our brothers and sisters in Egypt in prayer.
We pray for the congregations in Alexandria and Tanta,
We pray for Coptic Pope Tawadros II,
and the families of the victims.
May our condolences be a support in their sorrow,
May the passion of Christ be their solidarity
as communities in the process of counting of their losses.
If one part of the Body of Christ is suffering, all members are suffering.
We pray for Coptic communities in Australia,
In the face of this brutality, we speak faith-inspired peace.
Where there are hateful deeds, we pray for good will and actions.
In the world of religious diversity,
We pray for Muslims and Christians, and people of all faiths.
Be unified in the common good of humanity.
May their interfaith dialogue be a pathway towards understanding and respect.
We pray for national leaders to work in collaboration for the people
May they recommit to upholding religious rights.
We also pray for ourselves
In this Holy Week, we look to each other.
Where fear distorts people’s judgement,
Let us step forward and lay our burdens onto the Cross.
Where anger intensifies violence,
Let us put the sword away and proclaim compassion to all.
In this Holy Week, we look deeply into the Passion of Jesus.
Where hopelessness rests in the minds of many
Let us listen to the cry of Jesus.
In the emptiness of his forsakenness,
There rests the source of perpetual truth
– His passion is our path of salvation.
(Source: Rev Dr Ji Zhang, Uniting World)
A prayer for the floods devastating Queensland and New South Wales
(April 2017)
God of all goodness and love,
in whom we can trust in every time of need:
be close to all those who are enduring the devastation and destruction of cyclones and flooding,
those living in fear and distress and anxiety,
and those who have been isolated by floods and need help.
We pray for wisdom and strength for all who seek to help,
and that through this emergency,
people and communities may be drawn more closely together in service to one another.
[Adapted from a Prayer by Christian Aid]

We mourn  with France…..(attack in Nice, 14th July 2016)




Anne Lamott: Life has always been this scary here, and we have always been as vulnerable as kittens. Plagues and Visigoths, snakes and schizophrenia; Cain is still killing Abel and nature means that everyone dies. I hate this. It’s too horrible for words. When my son was seven and found out that he and I would not die at the exact same second, he said, crying, “If I had known this, I wouldn’t have agreed to be born.” Don’t you feel like that sometime?
My father’s mother lost a small child in the 1918 flu pandemic. Someone in the family is having a nervous breakdown. A yoga teacher was shot down the road last year by some druggies, while walking on a foot path. A yoga teacher! And then in recent weeks, Orlando, police shooting innocent people, and innocent police officers being shot, and now Nice.
How on Earth do we respond, when we are stunned and scared and overwhelmed, to the point of almost disbelieving?
I wish there was an 800 number we could call to find out, so I could pass this along to my worried Sunday School kids.But no. Yet in the meantime, I know that we MUST respond We must respond with a show of force equal to the violence and tragedies, with love force. Mercy force. Un-negotiated compassion force. Crazy care-giving to the poor and suffering, including ourselves. Patience with a deeply irritating provocative mother. Two dollar bills to the extremely annoying guy at the intersection who you think maybe could be working, or is going to spend your money on beer. Jesus didn’t ask the blind man what he was going to look at after He restored the man’s sight. He just gave hope and sight; He just healed.
To whom can you give hope and sight today. What about to me, and disappointing old you? Radical self-care: healthy food, patience and a friendly tone of voice, lotions on the jiggly things, forgiving pants, lots of sunscreen and snacks. Maybe the random magazine.
Do you have your last computer on the shelf, that you really don’t have time or effort to take to the after-school program in your town–but you are going to do today? Go flirt with the oldest people at the market–tell them you are glad to see them. Voila: Hope and sight.
Remember the guys in the Bible whose friend was paralyzed, but couldn’t get in close to see Jesus preach and heal, so they carried him on a cot, climbed the roof, and lowered him down for the healing? Can a few of you band together–just for today–and carry someone to the healing? To the zen-do? To a meeting? Help a neighbor who is going under, maybe band together to haul their junk to the dump? Shop for sales for a canned food drive at the local temple or mosque? How about three anonymous good deeds?
There is no healing in pretending this bizarre violent stuff is not going on, and that there is some cute bumper sticker silver lining. (It is fine if you believe this, but for the love of God, PLEASE keep it to yourself. it will just tense us all up.) What is true is that the world has always been this way, people have always been this way, grace always bats last, it just does–and finally, when all is said and done, and the dust settles, which it does, Love is sovereign here. (Published on Anne Lamott’s Facebook page)

In the wake of the shooting tragedy in Orlando and attack on LBGTQI community (June 2016) – on the 163rd day of 2016, the 173rd mass shooting of the year in the USA: 
Gracious God, our tears are exhausted. Yet we weep again for the dead and injured. This time in Orlando. How long, O God, must we weep for slaughtered children so numerous that we no longer remember a time when we didn’t weep? Embrace us who mourn as we wipe our tears on your soaked shoulder. Shine your light on those whose only companions are fear and anger. As we step from this sanctuary give us the strength to live out the justice that is your desire. We turn our eyes to your mercy in this time of confusion and mounting loss. God in your mercy, …
(from a Facebook post by Steven Chapman)

As we hold in prayer the now 50+ lives that were taken in the tragic shooting in Orlando, and those who loved them, we remember the ways in which our society and our church encourage violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people, especially those who are also people of color. We pray to God for an end to violence against all who are marginalized and we remember that the same God we pray to is also the one who calls each of us to be involved in the work of creating a more just church and world. May the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer be spoken this morning in every pulpit and may every pastor preach what is true: they are beloved people of God. (Facebook post, Reconciling Ministries Network)

Let speeches fall silent – a hymn after the Orlando massacre.
This hymn may be freely used through July 31, 2016.
Music – click here for two options.

Let speeches fall silent and platitudes cease
from hawkers of violence they brand as “peace.”
Let people who suffer find places to speak,
and holders of power give way to the weak.

Let teachers of hatred, suspicion, and fear,
and those who would kill for the views they hold dear,
be turned from their ways and disarmed of their wrath
to walk on a new, more compassionate path.

Forgive us the times we neglected to act;
forgive our excuses for courage we lacked.
God, teach us the wisdom that leads us to grace:
your image is found in our enemy’s face.

Adam M. L. Tice, June 15, 2016
©2016 GIA Publications, Inc.

And this new hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, in response to the Orlando tragedy

To a Place of Celebration
EBENEZER D (“Why Do Nations Rage Together”)

To a place of celebration filled with laughter, dancing, joy,
Came such violent devastation— one man’s efforts to destroy.
God, we grieve for loved ones taken; we lament, “What can we do?”
Now, we’re feeling lost and shaken; heal our nation! Make us new!

Weapons kill— and so does silence; hear our prayer as we confess:
We have given in to violence, we have bowed to hopelessness.
God, we’ve lost our sense of vision of a world where there will be
Plowshares made from violent weapons, justice in society.

Give our leaders strength for action, give them minds to mend our flaws,
Give them courage and compassion and the will to change our laws.
May we work for legislation that will curb guns’ awful toll.
God, renew our dedication to a world that’s just and whole.

Give us love to change our vision; give us love to cast out fear.
Give us love to speak with wisdom— love to work for justice here.
Give us love to welcome difference— love no hatred can destroy.
Only love can stop the violence; only love will bring back joy.

Biblical References: Isaiah 4:2; 1 John 4:18; James 3:1-12; Micah 6:8; Matthew 25:35
Tune: Thomas John Williams, 1890.
Alternative Tune: BEACH SPRING
Text: Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:

See sheet music here.


Natalie Sims has created a page on Singing from the Lectionary, with songs to lament the deaths in Orlando, and to gather songs that celebrate and seek the inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church. Thanks, Nat!

This one by John Bell, There is a Place, written after Dunblane tragedy but seems appropriate for Orlando.

There is a place prepared for little children
Those we once lived for, those we deeply mourn,
Those who from play, from learning and from laughter
Cruelly were torn.

There is a place where hands which held ours tightly
Now are released beyond all hurt and fear
Healed by that love which also feels our sorrow
Tear after tear.

There is a place where all the lost potential
Yields its full promise, finds its lost intent;
Silenced no more, young voices echo freely
As they were meant.

There is a place where God will hear our questions,
Suffer our anger, share our speechless grief.
Gently repair the innocence of loving
And of belief.

Jesus, who bids us to be like little children
Shields those our arms are yearning to embrace,
God will ensure that all are reunited;
There is a place.

Praying with Psalm 42
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.

We cry out with those who long for justice,
who long to know your mercy and your comfort,
who yearn for a place of safety and belonging.

My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

We hollow out a space in our hearts for those
who are wounded by our words, our actions and inaction.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?

We mourn in solidarity and cry out in anger
with those who suffer persecution and bigotry.

By day the Lord commands steadfast love,
and at night God’s song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

We give thanks for your love that prevails,
that lives on in the hearts of the faithful,
and we repent of our closed and stony hearts.

I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?”

We acknowledge the gifts of those who are oppressed,
the beauty we have cast away from us.

Hope in God; for I shall again praise the Holy One,
my help and my God.

You give us the faith do justice;
you give us hope in your grace;
you give us love that we may love
on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Steve Garnaas-Holmes)

st aug

A Wellsprings liturgy – Words from Dark Spaces (can be adapted as a service in response to tragedies and natural disasters).

Prayers for those killed and injured in the attacked in Lahore, Pakistan.
Article, Where we Mourn by Dilshad Ali.

A sermon, The World Is Crowded With Gethsemanes. 
The World Is Crowded With Gethsemanes

A call to worship (in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston marathon bombs)
by Rev. Mantu Joshi
We come this morning, hoping for healing and rest.
Healing can be hard when the world seems harsh and cruel.
We come seeking peace after the blast, even among the shrapnel of images imbedded in our collective minds.
Peace can be hard when the world roars in chaos and pain.
We come to a God who knows what it is to have nails in flesh and bone.
We come to a God who knows our pain.
We come to you, O God, because you know how to change death into life
and chaos into beauty.
Anoint this hour with your peace as we worship in your name.

Prayer for Brussels: God of Peace, Where are You?

Here’s a prayerful reflection in the wake of yesterday’s terrorist attacks on the city of Brussels. 

God of Peace, Where Are You?
We ask this question as we watch what humans do.
We harm, destroy, and fight.
We look at each other with jealousy and spite
and yet we ask where you are
isn’t that bizarre?

Every day it seems thousands die in a war zone
and I just flick through the images like nothing on my phone.
The news says, “Hundreds of Refugees Sink”
and anymore I barely stop to think.
Yesterday, it was an attack on the Belgium nation
as bombs exploded in the Zaventem airport & the Maelbeek station.
Screams, shouts, fear, and dread
this is the scene of which I have read.
Toddlers’ squeal while their mother died
How can we claim to call ourselves civilized?

It isn’t God that is not there
I fear it is us that have forgotten to care.
It almost seems like we are jaded by these tragedies,
too much loss and too many casualties.
We say “another bomb”, “another school shooting”
“oh look there is a city with racial violence and looting.”
I fear we as a world have turned off our tears
and replaced them with ignorance and fears.

No longer do we stop and pray;
hoping to be inspired to another way.
Instead it is “I will offer up a prayer at some other time
because look the grocery store has oranges at 1.49.”
I worry for myself that I am becoming jaded
that my global compassion has faded.
Has something broken inside my psyche or soul
replaced with a cynical black hole?
Maybe that is more to my point
I feel like after a crisis we should feel a sense of disjoint.
For in each of these massacres
an impasse occurs
The World should be at a standstill, a moment of pain.
Where only silence may reign.
There is a part of humanity that dies
while the victims offer their final cries.

So what can I say?
The truth is there are no human words to address this disaster
only the heavenly message of Hope and Love.
The truth of the peace that comes with the Dove.
Only God can speak
for humanity is just too weak.
We are broken and lost.

But into these moments God speaks Easter and Pentecost.
God says remember “This is not the end
on me your world can depend.
I have watched your revolutions and world wars
seen your armies and your corps.
Been at battlefields in Rome, India, and Babylon
seen the world offer weaponry and brawn.
It is true I have been present at hangings and beheadings
but I have also been there at births and at weddings.
Stood with Friedensengel and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
Whispered in emperor’s ears to not be so territorial.
I cannot stop everything because of your free will
but do not think I am silent or still.
I was there in that airport wrapping the dying in grace.
You, humanity, may look away but for me that is not the case.
I am there in your terror, in your wars, in your worst
under the cover of gunfire, I have nursed.

I challenge you, humanity,
in the midst of such horror and insanity
to not get caught up in political outspokenness
but live in the pain of the brokenness.
Do not distance yourselves just because it doesn’t make sense
Work on sharing kindness and openness not building a fence
Emotional walls are the worst kind
for all you protect is your mind.
To be a real change you must face the hurt
do not let your sense of fear make your eyes avert.
Know that there is hope somewhere, sometime
because Love can and will speak even in Wartime.”

~ written by Pastor Shannon Diana Keeney, First United Methodist Church – Littleton, NH.

prayer circle

A small prayer circle forms near where police responded to the shooting

“The type of healing we need can only be borne out of lament — a lament that holds space in the deepest pits of our beings for the piercing sorrow and rage being expressed by black communities, cultivates empathy, and puts restorative justice at the center of our collective action.” (Sojo)

Sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber, The Martyrs of Charleston and the power of Christ crucified and risen

A hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette for Charleston:
They Met to Read the Bible

ST. CHRISTOPHER (“Beneath the Cross of Jesus”)

They met to read the Bible, they gathered for a prayer,
They worshiped God and shared with friends
and welcomed strangers there.
They went to church to speak of love,
To celebrate God’s grace.
O Lord, we tremble when we hear
What happened in that place.

O God of love and justice, we thank you for the nine.
They served in their communities
and made the world more kind.
They preached and sang and coached and taught,
And cared for children, too.
They blessed your church and blessed your world
With gifts they used for you.

We grieve a wounded culture
Where fear and terror thrive,
Where some hate others for their race
And guns are glorified.
We grieve for sons and daughters lost,
For grandmas who are gone.
O God, we cry with broken hearts:
This can’t continue on!

God, may we keep on sowing
the seeds of justice here,
Till guns are silent, people sing,
and hope replaces fear.
May seeds of understanding grow
And flourish all our days.
May justice, love and mercy be
The banner that we raise.

Tune: Frederick Charles Maker, 1881
Text: Copyright © 2015 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:
Permission is given for free use by local churches and in ecumenical services.

When aimless violence takes those we love
Tune: Sursum Corda

1 When aimless violence takes those we love,
When random death strikes childhood’s promise down,
When wrenching loss becomes our daily bread,
We know, O God, You leave us not alone.

2 When passing years rob sight and strength and mind
Yet fail to still a strongly beating heart,
And grief becomes the fabric of our days,
Dear Lord, You do not stand from us apart.

3 Our faith may flicker low, and hope grow dim,
Yet You, O God, are with us in our pain;
You grieve with us and for us day by day,
And with us, sharing sorrow, will remain.

4 Because Your Son knew agony and loss,
Felt desolation, grief and scorn and shame,
We know You will be with us, come what may,
Your loving presence near, always the same.

5 Through long, grief-darkened days help us, dear Lord,
To trust Your grace for courage to endure,
To rest our souls in Your supporting love,
And find our hope within Your mercy sure.
Joy F Patterson

A call to worship for the tragedy at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston
We stand before you today, oh Lord
Hearts broken, eyes weeping, heads spinning
Our brothers and sisters have died
They gathered and prayed and then were no more
The prayer soaked walls of the church are spattered with blood
The enemy at the table turned on them in violence
While they were turning to you in prayer
We stand with our sisters
We stand with our brothers
We stand with their families
We stand to bear their burden in Jesus’ name

We cry out to you, oh Lord
Our hearts breaking, eyes weeping, heads spinning
The violence in our streets has come into your house
The hatred in our cities has crept into your sanctuary
The brokenness in our lives has broken into your temple
The dividing wall of hostility has crushed our brothers and sisters
We cry out to you, May your Kingdom come, may it be on earth as it is in heaven
We cry out for our sisters
We cry out for our brothers
We cry out for their families
We cry out for peace in Jesus’ name

We pray to you today, oh Lord
Our hearts breaking, eyes weeping, souls stirring
We pray for our enemies, we pray for those who persecute us
We pray to the God of all Comfort to comfort our brothers and sisters in their mourning
We pray that you would bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes
We pray that you would give them the oil of joy instead of mourning
We pray that you would give them a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair
We pray for our sisters
We pray for our brothers
We pray for their families
We pray for their comfort in Jesus’ name

We declare together, oh Lord
With hearts breaking, eyes weeping and souls stirring
We will continue to stand and cry and weep with our brothers and sisters
We will continue to make a place of peace for even the enemies at our table
We will continue to open our doors and our hearts to those who enter them
We will continue to seek to forgive as we have been forgiven
We will continue to love in Jesus’ name because you taught us that love conquers all
We declare our love for you, our Sisters
We declare our love for you, our Brothers
We declare our love for you, their families
We declare our love as one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism
We declare they do not grieve alone today

Source: One Church Liturgy


Mindful of the floods in Manila and earthquakes in Iran in August 2012, and so many other natural disasters that devastate communities:

Most merciful God
in the midst of natural disaster
we look to you in hope and trust,
acknowledging that there is much in life
beyond our present understanding.
Accept our compassion for the suffering;
bless those who are working for their relief;
and show us what we can do to share in their task,
as servants of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning, Noon and Night, from New Parish Prayers, Ed. Frank Colquhoun, Hodder and Stoughton, London, Sydney, Auckland. 1999.

All things look to you, O Lord,
to give them their food in due season.
Look in mercy on your people,
and hear our prayer for those whose lives and possessions have been destroyed by the raging waters.
In your mercy, restore your creation and heal the land.
So guide and bless all your people,
that all may enjoy the fruit of the earth
and give you thanks with grateful hearts,
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Adapted from Occasional Prayer No. 12, A Prayer Book for Australia.

O God, we are stunned.
We cannot take it in.
It seems unreal and yet too real.
Bear with us in the pain of what has happened
and give us the healing of wounds that now run deep.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Adapted from Funeral Services of the Christian Churches in England, Canterbury Press, Norwich, 2002.

God of compassion,
You created a world for us
to know your love and peace.
Yet amidst the beauty of creation we encounter pain and hurt
and forces beyond our control.
At times like this our hearts are shaken and ache with sorrow
at the destruction of lives, homes and livelihoods.
Hear our prayers for those affected
by the floods and for all those working
to bring relief and fresh hope. Amen.
prayer: locally adapted from an original by

Liturgy (can be adapted to suit the context for disasters)

Prayer and Reflection to remember those whose lives have been devastated by (type of disaster and place)

I pray to you, Lord! Please listen.
Don’t hide from me in my time of trouble
Pray attention to my prayer and quickly give an answer.

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

Let us pray (silence)

We come to you O God, in shock and grief, with our hearts full of sorrow
for the suffering of our sisters and brothers.
Comfort us, we pray,
and stay close to all who are working with the survivors of these tragedies
to find the lost, to care for the living,
and build new hope from the ruins.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

Psalm: 90

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations,
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust,
and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands. O prosper the work of our hands!

EITHER of the following songs, A Trusting Psalm OR When Human Voices Cannot Sing could be placed here.

Song: A Trusting Psalm K. Bates

Lord, let your mercy be on us
As we place our trust in you.

The word of the Lord is faithfulness and love.
His love can never be measured.
His beauty is like nothing we have ever seen,
So let us place our trust in him.

The word of the Lord means a patient, gentle God.
His love can never grow weary.
His mercy is as though our sins have never been,
If we can place our trust in him.

The word of the Lord is fire burning strong.
His love can never grow weary.
He will seek and save the lost until we all return,
So let us place our trust in him.
©1989, Kevin Bates. Copyright agent: Willow Connection Pty Ltd. Used with permission. Word of Life International License No. 1550.

Song: When Human Voices Cannot Sing

  1. When human voices cannot sing
    and human hearts are breaking,
    we bring our grief to you, O God
    who knows our inner aching.
  2. Set free our spirits from all fear –
    the cloud of dark unknowing,
    and let the light, the Christ-light show
    the pathway of our going.
  3. Make real for us your holding love,
    the love which is your meaning,
    the power to move the stone of death,
    the hope of Easter morning.Words: Shirley Erena Murray. Words© 1992 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, II.60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Word of Life International License No. 1550.CELEBRATION OF THE WORD


A reading from the Book of Genesis

God said to Noah and to his sons with him,
“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you,
and with every living creature that is with you;
the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you,
as many as came out of the ark.
I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh
be cut off by the waters of a flood,
and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
God said,
“This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you
and every living creature that is with you, for all generations:
I have set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh;
and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the
Earth should change, though the mountains shake
in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
He utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
See what desolations he has brought on the earth;
He breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
He burns the shields with fire.

Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Gospel: A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (4:35-41)

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them,
“Let us go across to the other side.”
And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat,
just as he was.
Other boats were with him.
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat
was already being swamped.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;
And they woke him up and said to him
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea,
“Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?
And they were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this, That even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ



Litany of Petitions

God the Father,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy and blessed Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

In these days of shock and mourning
Have mercy on us.
In the pain of lost life and shattered hopes,
Have mercy on us.
In our grieving for those who have died,
Have mercy on us.
In our compassion for all who are bereaved,
Have mercy on us.
For the rescue workers and medical teams treating the injured,
Lord hear our prayer.
For people searching for those who have not been accounted for,
Lord hear our prayer.
For the leaders of our state and nation, offering sympathy, support and aid,
Lord hear our prayer.
For emergency services and their workers responding with practical care,
Lord hear our prayer.
For a generous response to appeals for support,
Lord hear our prayer.
For those who have friends and family in the disaster areas,
Lord hear our prayer.
For the survivors who are left alone and bereaved of their loved ones,
Lord hear our prayer.
For communities that have lost their homes and livelihoods,
Lord hear our prayer.
For wisdom in planning the future for devastated communities,
Lord hear our prayer.
For solidarity with the suffering of the dispossessed,
Lord hear our prayer.
For the people of (name the places of concern)
Lord hear our prayer.
For the victims of drought, flood, fire or earthquake, everywhere on earth,
Lord hear our prayer.
For Christ to bring all the peoples of the world into one flock with one shepherd,
Lord hear our prayer
For Christ to bring healing and comfort for those we love who are sick or in mourning,
Lord hear our prayer.
For Christ to bring us with all who have died in faith to a joyful resurrection,
Lord hear our prayer.

N.B. A significant time of silence is suggested at this time.

Lord’s Prayer

And now as Christ our Saviour has taught us, we are confident to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
Now and for ever. Amen.

EITHER of the following songs, Comfort, Comfort All My People OR Eye Has Not Seen could be placed here.

Song: Comfort, Comfort All My People R.Mann

Comfort, comfort all my people
with the comfort of my Word.
Speak it tender to my people:
All your sins are taken away.

1. Though your tears be rivers running,
though your tears be an ocean full,
though you cry with the hurt of living:
comfort, comfort.

Every valley shall be lifted,
every mountain shall be low,
every rough place will be smoother:
comfort, comfort.


2. Though your eyes see only darkness,
though your eyes can see no light,
though your eyes see pain and sorrow:
comfort, comfort.

Every night will have its morning,
every pain will have an end,
every burden will be lightened:
comfort, comfort.


Words and music © R. Mann. All rights reserved. Used by permission. 

Song: Eye Has Not Seen Marty Haugen

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard
what God has ready for those who love him;
Spirit of love, come, give us the mind of Jesus,
teach us the wisdom of God.

  1. When pain and sorrow weigh us down,
    be near to us, O Lord,
    forgive the weakness of our faith,
    and bear us up within your peaceful word.
  2. Our lives are but a single breath,
    we flower and we fade,
    yet all our days are in your hands
    so we return in love what love has made.
  3. To those who see with eyes of faith,
    the Lord is ever near,
    reflected in the faces of all the poor
    and lowly of the world.
  4. We sing a myst’ry from the past
    in halls where saints have trod,
    yet ever new the music rings to
    Jesus, Living Song of God.

Text: 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, Marty Haugen, b. 1950. © 1982, GIA Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Consoling God, source of all comfort,
Lift the burden of despair and grief from those who suffer.
Enkindle in us the hope of your Spirit.
Show us how you want us to live and give us the courage
and the goodness to reach out to others in their distress.
Do not abandon your people in their time of need.
We ask this in the name of the One who knew suffering and loss,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing and Dismissal

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May he look upon you with kindness, and give you his peace.
And may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you and all those you love;
this day and forever more. Amen

Song: Prayer for Peace D.Hass

  1. Peace before us, peace behind us,
    Peace under our feet.
    Peace within us, peace over us,
    Let all around us be peace.
  2. Love before us, love behind us,
    Love under our feet.
    Love within us, love over us,
    Let all around us be love.
  3. Light before us, light behind us,
    Light under our feet.
    Light within us, light over us,
    Let all around us be light.
  4. Christ before us, Christ behind us,
    Christ under our feet.
    Christ within us, Christ over us,
    Let all around us be Christ.
  5. Peace before us, peace behind us,
    Peace under our feet.
    Peace within us, peace over us,
    Let all around us be peace.
    Let all around us be peace.
    ©1987, GIA Publications, Inc.
    All rights reserved. Used with permission. Word of Life International

N.B. Hymnals: When Human Voices Cannot Sing and Comfort Comfort All My People (Together In Song). A Trusting Psalm and Eye Has Not Seen (Gather Australia and As One Voice I). Prayer for Peace (As One Voice I).

Silence: Ensure that pronounced times of silence are made after psalms, readings and reflection.

Liturgy prepared by combined Anglican, Lutheran, Uniting and Roman Catholic Churches of Toowoomba Qld. Adapted by Diocesan Liturgical Commission, Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba, Qld.

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.
This entry was posted in Violence & Natural disasters. Bookmark the permalink.