Central African Republic—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 people of the Central African Republic. It is bordered by Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon. The country is noted for its population of forest elephants and western lowland gorillas.
Scripture Reading—Matthew 18:15-20 NRSV
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Prayer for Peace
Holy God who is love. We come to this holy place, made holy by those who have gone before who have sought, listened and discerned your mind and will. We come that we may pray for peace in a world of much conflict. We realize that much, if not most, of the conflict is fundamentally over money (resources) and power.
We have been counseled to “seek the cause of Zion” your peaceable kingdom in which your will “will be done on earth as it is done in heaven”. Lord, just what is “the cause of Zion”? What is it that will “cause” Zion to be? Are we to wait for your Son, Jesus, to physically return to be with us?
Perhaps the “cause of Zion” is love. Perhaps when we, your human creation, decides to love rather than to fear or hate, then the “cause of Zion” will be met. For when we decide to love we will naturally live together in righteousness and will see to it that there “is no poor among us”.
So God, may we allow you to enter our hearts and help us to make the decision to “love our neighbor as ourselves”. Our neighbor as described in the parable that Jesus told, “The Good Samaritan.”
The gospel of John says that you are love. If this is so, then grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, the healing of the spirit, and all other good things come out of love. It is my prayer, O God, that we will choose to love and to “be love” in the world, for then we will truly see peace throughout the world.
It is in the name of the One that we follow, the Prince of Peace, who has shown us how to love that this prayer is in, even Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Today’s hymn is “Dios está aquí” number 150 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 then, enlarging life’s circle, move outward to include those we know and love, to strangers and enemies, to the entire world, and to all of creation.
Will you pause for the next few moments in the quiet of this sanctuary, away from the worries of the world, to silently add your own thoughts and prayers to the prayers of the people?
God of all time and space, I stand waiting for your peace to enter my broken and chaotic soul, just as you wait for me to pause long enough to breathe and simply be. May your peace fill the space that I now create with my breath and my being. Hear my often-impatient cry, “Be with me, O Prince of Peace, and make me whole.”
Source of our being, we stand waiting for your peace to enter our broken and chaotic relationships, just as you wait for us to pause long enough to invite you in. May your reconciling presence bring us to a point of apology and forgiveness, of offering and receiving, and unity. Hear our impatient cry, “Be with us, O Prince of Peace, and make us one.”
Lord of all Earth’s people, the world stands waiting for your peace to calm the warring nations, to stem the tide of violence we inflict against one another, just as you wait for us to stop the madness long enough to see one another as family. We remember all nations, including the Central African Republic, the country we pray for today. May your profound compassion for your children flow within us. Enable us to surrender our hatred and fear and be filled instead with your loving kindness and mercy. Hear our often-impatient cry, “Be with our human family, O Prince of Peace, and make us one.”
Creator of all, your creation stands waiting for your healing touch to restore all living things to oneness and wholeness, just as you wait for us to revere what you have given us as a sacred gift. May your generous offering of water, earth, air, and all that has life remind us of our physical and spiritual connection with everything that was, is, and will be. Help us honor our call as stewards of the Earth. Hear our impatient cry, “Be with our Earth, O Prince of Peace. Make all things one.”
We ask for this blessing of your peace in and through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Make every breath one of thanksgiving;
Make every deed a channel of justice;
Make every thought a peaceful one;
Go in peace.
Susan Naylor, snaylor@CofChrist.org, 816-529-3718 (call or text)