Indigenous Peoples of South America—map
Gathering in Silence
Call to Prayer
Lighting of Candle
In the name of Jesus Christ, welcome to this service of peace. “The rise of Zion the beautiful, the peaceful reign of Christ, awaits your wholehearted response to the call to make and steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ.”
—Doctrine and Covenants 164:9b.
Today in our prayers we remember the Indigenous Peoples of South America, from the Isthmus of Panama to Tierra del Fuego. An estimated 30 million people were living there when the Europeans arrived. Their descendants live today in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northwestern Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, the Guianas, Paraguay and Brazil.
Scripture Reading—Matthew 4:1-11 NRSV
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Prayer for Peace
Holy One, Mysterious One, we have entered this quiet, curving, spiraling space in search of peace. Muted colors, softness and safety surround us, almost enfold and cradle us.
It is good to be here in this place where our minds can be still, our breathing can slow, our spirits can be soothed.
We need these moments. Within them we can open our deep places, our soul places to you. And it is in you that we find the possibility of peace awakening and igniting our dreams once more.
We become weary, God. Weary of believing in the healing of all nations, weary of hoping for the reign of your compassionate justice in all lands.
We become afraid of the violence and toxic hatreds that engulf the human family.
We weep for the children, for the mothers and fathers of the children.
We hope we will not have to hear another story of human life, beautiful, miraculous life wasted frivolously as though it were of no value.
But the world outside these walls is a sea of such stories. And at times we feel we will drown in the tears of earth’s peoples, your people, God.
Creator, we come with dissonance in our beings: A longing for the holy peace that would name all persons sacred and in which none would hurt or destroy in your holy mountain forever more.
And coexisting with this longing, a knowledge of brutality and suffering of such magnitude we cannot bear to understand the depth of its reality.
Meet us now, God, in this aching, yearning, empty space and break our hearts wide open. Connect us with both the suffering and the sacredness. For if you are the strand of grace between these realities, we shall be able to bear the anguish of the “not yet” as we live into the healed, holy creation of the “yet to be.” Breathe your enlivening spirit upon our weary frames. Wipe the tears from our eyes, lift the dark curtain from our minds, enflame our cold hearts with the bright joy of your love. Speak peace, your peace into the silence of this moment, Creator. And we shall believe it in this moment and work for it in all the moments to come. In the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Today’s hymn is 451 in Community of Christ Sings, “The Glory of These Forty Days.” Sing or silently reflect on the meaning of the text as it is sung. Hymn number 451.
Prayers of the People
As we enter a time of guided prayer, meditation, and musical reflection, you are invited to offer silent prayers or meditate during the moments of quiet. The Prayers of the People begin with individuals and groups, then move out from this Temple of peace to include the human family and the planet.
Within all aspects of our lives and our world exist situations and conditions that need the healing touch of the Holy. Will you join with me to listen to the voice that speaks peace to each of us from beyond the farthest hills, from the infinite heavens above, and the vast seas below?
Listen to the voice that invites you to surrender your fears and frustrations, anger, and anxieties, and to await with an open heart the peace that only Christ can bring. Allow the one who seeks only the best for you to offer the comfort you seek.
Listen to the voice that whispers the invitation to reconciliation with those whose lives, words, decisions, or actions have wounded you. May you find space in your heart for healing to occur in your relationships with brothers and sisters, as well as your enemies.
Listen to the voice that calls all into unity and oneness. We remember all peoples, including the Indigenous Peoples of South America, for whom we pray today. May we be attuned to hear the cries for mercy, forgiveness and generosity. Listen to the one who reminds us that in the welfare of another resides our own well-being.
Listen to the voice that echoes across the eons of time and yet speaks anew in this moment. The Earth shudders in distress because creation’s natural and living systems are becoming exhausted from carrying the burden of our greed and conflicts. Listen to creation which struggles to provide life to the seas, the hills, and the heavens above.
May the one who spoke calm to the storm and stilled the waves with a word, bring peace to us and through us. May we be among those whose lives whisper, shout, and proclaim peace to those far and near for the sake of God’s shalom. Amen.
Be witnesses of hope,
Shed tears for injustice, and
Make a difference in the world.
Go in peace.