Gathering in Silence
Call to Prayer
Lighting of Candle
In the name of Jesus Christ, welcome to this sacred time. The “Temple [that] calls the entire church to become a sanctuary of Christ’s peace, where people from all nations, ethnicities, and life circumstances can be gathered into a spiritual home without dividing walls.”
—Doctrine and Covenants 163:8c
Today in our prayers we remember the people of Norway, a nation on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula that includes islands and an archipelago. Bordered by Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, the North Atlantic Ocean, and Barents Sea, this nation is known for its picturesque beauty. Norway’s fjords, glaciers, mountains, and wildlife make Norway one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.
Scripture Reading—Matthew 21:33-46 NRSV
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
Prayer for Peace
First Walker of the Way,
How we long to follow in your paths—to be known among our friends, and in our communities, as the people of peace—to reflect the Light in our lives, in each space, where we find ourselves looking into Your face.
Your Spirit quickens within us—let us hear!
Your peace brings comfort—let us breathe!
Your vision draws us beyond the horizon—let us walk!
We yearn to walk in a way that leads to Your dream of Shalom. Let us take up the mission—Your mission—of giving birth to the world that is the already, but the not yet, of Your longings. A world where there is no doubt that the lives and bodies of Your Black children matter. A world where every transgender person can live their truth authentically and without shame. A world where no child is torn from their parent’s loving arms and locked in the terror of a cage. A world where every belly is full, where every head has a place to rest, where the Earth is esteemed, where the murderous hiss of guns and bombs and tanks are silenced.
Show us these ways, O God of Vision! Strip away our feeble excuses. Lay bare the fallacy of our apathy. Hold us to account in the faces of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, in the gaspings of patients succumbing to COVID isolated and afraid, in the shudder of the trees as we fell them in the name of progress.
Lift our eyes to the vision of what must be, not just what might be. Remind us we do not walk the way alone but are strengthened as we draw close to You and one another. When we falter, forgive us. When our hearts harden, break them open. When we encounter weary spirits, may we extend the invitation to come and see the One who revives us and brings us peace, for we yearn to walk in the way that leads to Your dream of Shalom.
Comfort our fears.
Strengthen our resolve.
Surprise us along the way.
Open us to new understandings and dimensions of Your grace.
Soften our hearts that we might see You and walk with You and live peacefully and passionately, following in the footsteps of the Living Christ.
May our time together shape us and send us to be the image of your peace in the world. Through us, may our neighbors know the expansive compassion of Your love and be drawn into the hope You gift. Walk beside us, speak within us, bring justice through us, we pray. In the name of the One who is The Way, even Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Today’s hymn is “O God, to Us Be Present Here” number 512 in Community of Christ Sings. Sing or silently reflect on the meaning of the text.
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 this day begin with ourselves and move outward, in rippling waves to those we know and love, to strangers and enemies, to the entire world, to all of creation. We begin by noticing our breathing. We breathe in spirit and exhale those things that separate us from you, O God. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Please enter into the silence with me as we pray for peace remembering God’s promise to be with us and to work in us. Listen for the sound of the beloved’s voice.
God of creation, in the beginning your breath moved over the waters and brought calm and peace to a chaotic world. Breathe into my being this day; bring respite to my frenzied soul. Refresh my frayed sense of self and bring alive my hope for peace through words and actions inspired by your spirit. Breathe on me, breath of God.
God of reconciliation, 2,000 years ago you breathed and the word became flesh among us, teaching us the way of forgiveness, mercy, compassion and peace. Breathe into our relationships this day; allow us to enflesh the teachings of your Son within our family, friends, neighbors, and even our encounters with those we do not yet know. Breathe on us, breath of God.
God of sacred community, your Holy Spirit seeks to blow through the discord, disruption, and disease of the world to bring healing and wholeness once again. We remember all nations, including Norway, the country we pray for today. Remind us that many of your children lack the basic needs of life, including freedom, space to grow, and love to support them. Breathe on your people, breath of God.
God of all, your planet is gasping for breath, heaving under the pressure and weight of unbridled consumption of resources and greed-driven destruction of your world. The Earth groans from forces of chaos that destroy what we have been given as a gift for all creation. Awaken us to our responsibilities to heal and bring peace to our earthly home. Breathe once again over the waters, skies, land, and all that inhabit them, breath of God.
May the awareness of our own breathing connect us to you, O God, and to all that lives because you create it, love it, and call it good. In and through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Be blessed this day with frustration at injustice.
To motivate us to work for peace.
Go in peace.