Making Peace With Loss -- Peace Month January 2, 2011

Setup

Pews in a circle?

Three center candles

Hand out Candles

Redecorate

Get sand

Instruction to readers: Let’s take our time and go slow. Read clearly and loudly. It is okay to pause and have silence between sentences and sections of reading.

Welcome

Host:

Good morning, my name is ____________ and I will be hosting our worship space this morning. I want to welcome you to Camas Friends Church. We are a Christ-centered Quaker community that seeks to live out faith by loving God and loving our neighbors. If you are visiting with us this morning we hope that you feel welcome and if you would like to leave your contact information for us you can fill out the little white cards found in the black book at the end of each pew. If you have any questions about what we do you or who we are you are welcome to find me after the service and I will do my best to help.

This morning we are having a worship and prayer service meant to help us grieve and make peace with the losses we have suffered over the past year. We want to take time to do that as we enter a new year, preparing for new movements and life in the Spirit. This morning will be a little different than other services and will require that you respond and read aloud in a number of places. You can follow along in your bulletin.

Introduction

Wess:

January is peace month for Friends Churches that are a part of Northwest Yearly Meeting. Quakers are one of what is now called the “Historic Peace Churches” which means that our tradition has always taken seriously Christ’s call to live peacefully. We want to encourage this further this year by looking at the theme is “Our Stories of Peace.” The goal is to educate those in Northwest Yearly Meeting about our denomination’s history of peacemaking and its roots in the bible and the life and teachings of Christ and his early followers. We also want to make space for those of us who, in one way or another, have advocated for those being treated unjustly in our communities or around the world.

I think we have a really exciting month planned for us.

Today we are looking at making peace with loss because peace is something that is both individual and communal, it is something we work towards in both the inner and outer life. Quakers believe that working towards peace within goes a long way towards cultivating a peaceful world. This coming week we will be doing Laundry Love at Riverside laundry. It is one way that we help to practice peace in our own town and if you haven’t come yet, we’d love for you to join us (5:30 at the meetinghouse). Next week our musical friend Seth Martin will be joining us to lead us in song and on that Sunday we are asking all of you to bring back your participation cards. We will be discussing “peace through cooperation that Sunday.” The following week Quaker theologian and recorded minister T. Vail Palmer Jr. will be visiting us and sharing about his experience as a CO during WWII. Debbie Hagen will be hosting a bible study called “Fair Trade: Using Our Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope” starting Wednesday January 12.  We will be showing a movie about peace activist and Catholic priest John Deer on Wednesday January 19th and on the last Sunday of the month in the evening we will be having a woman from Canaan Fair Trade visit us and tell us about how they are working for peace in Palestine. There are also the daily devotionals on the back free for you to take.  And if that’s not enough, you are welcome to host a group, outing or activity and discuss some of these things.

So there’s a lot of things for you to participate in this month if you’d like. I hope you find something that will challenge you and will be life giving for you and draw you closer to Christ.

For now, let’s turn our attention towards making peace with loss.

Will you stand.

A. Facing Grief and Loss

Opening Prayer

Host: (Lighting the candles)

We light a light in the name of the Maker, who lit the world and breathed the breath of life for us.

We light a light in the name of the Son, who saved the world and suffers with us when we suffer.

We light a light in the name of the Spirit, who encompasses the world and who comes to us in our time of despair.

ALL:  

We will light three lights for the Trinity of love:

God above us, God beside us, God beneath us;

The beginning, the End, the Everlasting one.

Recognition of Loss

Reader 1.

This morning I invite you to consider the many ways we have experienced loss this year so that we might be able to grieve together as a community and prepare ourselves for a new year. (You can find the responses in the bulletin).

For those who have gone before us, whether spouses, family members, close friends, or colleagues, we know the feelings of longing for those who parted ways abruptly and the feelings of relief for those who no longer suffer from their ailments. We pray:

ALL:

God we hold up our brothers and sisters in the Light of our Lord Jesus,

may they be comforted by your Spirit and surrounded by your love.

There are many ways we experience loss in this world. Death is one powerful event that takes those we love away from us, but death is not the only way we experience what it means to suffer loss. For those who have lost jobs, friendships, trust, a good name, long-time relationships, dreams held dear, a sense of purpose and or their way, we pray:

ALL:

God we hold up our brothers and sisters in the Light of our Lord Jesus,

may they be comforted by your Spirit and surrounded by your love.

Grant them peace and sustain them, Lord. Amen.

Scripture

Reader 2:

A reading from the book of Psalms chapter 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.                 

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;                 

he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths

        for his name’s sake.

 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

        I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

        your rod and your staff—

they comfort me.

  You prepare a table before me

        in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

        my cup overflows.

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

        all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

        my whole life long.  (Psa 23:0–6)

Amen.

You may be seated.

Worship through Song

2 Songs

Suggestion: Le Tenebre (Our Darkness) #101 in Sing the Journey

B. Making Peace with Loss

Scripture

Reader 1:

A Reading from Matthew 5:1-10:

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:1-10)

Host:

Leo Tolstoy once wrote:

Suffering is not an evil that you must be rid of, but the work of your life that you must accept. In wishing to evade your suffering, you resemble someone who fails to push the plow where the ground is hardest. (199)

We recognize that the work of mourning is the work of life. And as we attend to this work, the Spirit of Jesus is with us and comforts us.

Let’s Pray: God there are many of us who mourn this year. And we confess that we wish we could do away with suffering. Come to us so that we may be comforted even as we are filled with despair. Help us to accept and make peace with the suffering we face so that our lives may be deeper and more centered in you. And from that place of peace and love may we be made open to your Spirit’s movements in the new Year.

Music

2 or 3 more songs

Dismiss kids to Godly Play

Lighting the Candles

Wess

When you came in this morning you were given a candle. For the next 15 minutes or so let’s take time to reflect on the losses we’ve experienced this year and to make peace with this loss through the lighting of these candles.

When you are ready. Bring your candle up and light from one of the three candles here in the front. You are welcome to stay here and say a prayer or you can say aloud the name of the person you are remembering. Then when you are done, place the candle in the sand and return back to your seat.

[Directions: I’d like for people to walk down the main isle here and return to their seats by walking through the outer isle if possible (this won’t work if the pews are in a circle).]

May God who makes all things new dwell among us and give us life.

I will be up front to help.

Music

Strumming a song quietly

C. Sharing Together the Burdens

Scripture 

Reader 2:

A Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome:

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Open Worship (and communion)

Wess

As a community we too are called to be this kind of that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 12. We are called to be a people who are marked by a genuine love and concern for one another. Who hold fast to the good, rejoice in hope and perseveres in prayer (for each other). Paul calls the whole church to be Christ in the world for those around us and echoes the words of Christ read earlier when he says: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Offering mutual care and support is what it means to be the church.

And so as we grieve this morning let us share in each other’s burdens. One way we do this as a community is by sitting silently with one another in open worship. So let us have communion with Christ in the shared silence as we hold one another in prayer. This is how we as Quakers receive the body and blood of the risen Christ together celebrating his presence here with us.

And in keeping with this morning’s theme, during this time of open Worship, we want to make space for sharing our experiences of loss and making peace over the past year. If you feel led to share or the Spirit prompts you to speak on your experience please rise and speak clearly so that all can hear.

Offering

Host -- Pray for offering as a sharing of burdens together.

A few words // Reflection

Wess

Play Music: Over the Rhine

Closing Song:

?? Praise the one who breaks the darkness

Closing Prayer:

Host

Compassionate God,

You who made us, whose love will not let us go,

have brought us to the end of another year of grace.

Thank you for the people whose lives we have shared this year.

We mourn our separation from those who have died, yet not without hope.

We grown with all creation for our redemption,

for the coming of your kingdom.

We wait for Christ to return to complete work with us.

Give us grace to wait for him patiently, passionately, doing his deeds.

Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.

Announcements 

Peace Month Devotionals, Information about MMA, New Quaker Books on the Back Table