Violence

Remembrance Day Prayer

Remember with clear eyes the uncountable cost of war.
Remember with deep sorrow those who killed and were killed.
Remember with grief the blood-stained battlefields.
Remember with horror the destroyed neighbourhoods.
Remember with tears the trail of people fleeing their homeland.
Remember with compassion the bereaved and the wounded.

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Sermon: Jesus in the Synagogue; Terror and Hardheartedness – Mark 3:1-6, Psalm 143:3-8

If I was making a movie of this story, I’d start with a shot of Jesus and a few of his disciples walking up a dirt road in the bright sun.  They’re talking among themselves, but Jesus is looking ahead.  The camera pans around…”What is he looking at?”  It’s a road lined with white clay buildings, women scattered here and there.  No one is working, because it’s the Sabbath.  They look at Jesus and his followers with curiosity. There are no men on the street. At the end, at the top of the hill is a building set apart a bit.  The door is open, but you can’t see in.  A closeup then of Jesus’ face, there’s a determination around his eyes….

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Sermon: Praying for Hope in Gaza – Matthew 2:1-23, Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

Jesus was a child refugee in Gaza. We can see Jesus’ face in the many children in Gaza today. And the weeping of the parents in Bethlehem described in our scripture resonates with so many images we’ve seen in the last few weeks of Israeli and Arab parents wailing. “A voice was heard in Rama, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children, she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

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Prayer for Those Committing Sexual Offences

This prayer is for all who are making a big mistake today,
especially those who are committing a sexual assault
or abusing someone who trusts them.
God of truth, you know their actions, you hear their words.
Lies, manipulations, plotting.
Threatening, hunting, cornering.
Overpowering, hurting, dominating.
All of these actions devastate the victim.
They also lead the one who does them towards death:
each act obliterating tenderness,

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Longest Night Prayer

There are good years and bad years,
and then there are years from hell.
Hear our prayer O God, for all who are tortured by war.
You know the anguished cries,
and the hearts that have turned to stone.
These are people who will die unless you save them.
We need a Saviour for those who sit in the shadow of death:
for children who have lost their parents,
and have no one to take care of them;
for teenagers forced to fight,
and who can’t imagine a normal life;
for all who have killed and have witnessed the killing;
for all who are fleeing the violence

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When Family Violence Devastates a Community…

God of hope, hear our lament.
Since we heard the news of ____________________
our minds are reeling.
This is violence happening in our own neighbourhood.
Some of us knew the victims,
some know people who knew them.
Our community is grieving.
We pray for family and friends of the victims.
We pray for police officers who responded.
We pray for counsellors called in,
and everyone touched by this crime.
We need your help because this crime is not singular.
Every year women are murdered by their partners,

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Prayer Against Patriarchy

God, you see our world.
The girl baby told she is sweet and lovely,
the boy baby praised for strength and power.
The little girl told to be quiet and sit still,
the boy allowed to run and play because boys will be boys.
The adolescent girl not giving the answer in school,
because the boys make fun if she stands out.
The teenage girl crossing her arms over her breasts,
after the boys comment and reach out to touch.
The young woman watching where she walks,
noticing in every room if there is a threat,

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Prayer for a Battered Woman

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
When I think I can change another person,
remind me that I can change only myself.
When I think that being hurt is your will,
remind me of your exodus call to flee from oppression.
When I think I should sacrifice myself unto death,
remind me that you died for our sins, so I don’t have to.
 
O Lord grant that I may not so much seek to endure abuse,
as to escape it entirely;
that I may not so much seek to model victimization,
as to model being a faithful survivor.
For it is in new beginnings that we find your grace,
it is in standing on our own two feet that we find your strength,
it is in leading our family to safety, that we find peace.

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Prayer for the Terror-Stricken

God of the afflicted:
On this anniversary of [the Montreal massacre
where a man who declared feminists his enemy
opened fire in a school,
killing fourteen, wounding fourteen]
on this day we turn to you.
We pray for healing for all affected by acts of terror.
Terror from a bomb, or a gun,
or a knife, or a rope, or a body,
terror from any force poised for cruelty….
You know what happened next.
Be with all who are picking up,

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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