“A Reconciling Rite of Consolation and Hope for the Broken-hearted”
Moving from Mourning into Joy, Reconciling Gifts of Grace from God
Preparation: Arrange the gathering in a circle, with some kind of table in the center. On this table have enough room to place at least one candle, any images or items representing the much needed reconciliation we have identified in our world, as well as a substantial metal, stone or wooden bowl into which the stones may later on be cast. Have ready as basket with enough small stones so that each person may take 2-3.
Leader: Blessed be God, who is near to the broken hearted People: The Holy One, who saves those whose spirits are crushed
A Litany of Wounds, Brokenness, and Injustice
Leader: We see in our own lives and the world around us these ingredients of injustice and tragic suffering, and manifestations of evil that distort and damage our relationships with one-another, with God, ourselves and the whole Creation:
(Each person reads one, aloud, until all are read.)
insecurity abandonment physical distance expectations, known & unknown isolation ANXIETY inevitable imperfection DIFFERENCES/ UNIQUENESS mental illness incomplete communications broken trust habits which allow for brokenness (denial) bitterness that stunts relationship betrayal blame, given / received death alcohol and drugs human development IGNORANCE resistance to change Prejudice racism ethnicity homophobia life approaches lack of RESPECT travel age related learning-curves (IT) fear of annihilation disease DENIAL OF REALITY conflict around being an “institution” vs. a community of spiritual and religious LIFE
Leader: When we become aware of the ways in which we engage in or fail to notice the ingredients of injustice and suffering around us, we come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray:
All: Have mercy on [us], O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out [our] offenses. Wash [us] through and through from [our] wickedness, and cleanse [us] from sin. For [we] know [our] transgressions only too well, and [our] sin is ever before us.
All: Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered himself to be sacrificed for us to the Father, forgives our sins by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Thanks be to God.
Leader: We are separated from God, each other and the Creation not only by what we have done, left undone or by “things done on our behalf”, but also by the wounds and brokenness of injustice and tragic suffering. At times, we receive these wounds and experience them in our own bodies and souls.
The Word of God for the Broken -hearted:
First Reading Jeremiah 31:1-7 http://bible.oremus.org/
Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people. People Thanks be to God.
A Psalm of Response Psalm 34, Saint Helena Psalter
1 I will bless God at all times; * and praise shall ever be in my mouth. 2 I will glory in Most High; * let the humble hear and rejoice. 3 Proclaim with me the greatness of God; let us exalt God’s Name together. 4 I sought, and God answered me * and delivered me out of all my terror. 5 Look upon the Most High and be radiant, * and let not your faces be ashamed. 6 I called in my affliction, and the God heard me * and saved me from all my troubles. 7 The angels encompasses those who fear God, & God will deliver them. 8 Taste and see that God is good; *happy are they who trust in the Most High! 9 Fear the Most High, you that are God’s saints, * for those who fear God lack nothing. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek God lack nothing that is good. 11 Come, children, and listen to me; * I will teach you the fear of God. 12 Who among you loves life * and desires long life to enjoy prosperity? 13 Keep your tongue from evil-speaking * and your lips from lying words. 14 Turn from evil and do good; * seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of God are upon the righteous, and the ears of God are open to their cry. 16 The face God is against those who do evil, *to root out the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry, and God hears them * and delivers them from all their troubles. 18 God is near to the broken hearted * and will save those whose spirits are crushed. 19 Many are the troubles of the righteous, but God will deliver him out of them all. 20 God will keep safe all their bones; * not one of them shall be broken 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, * and those who hate the righteous will be punished 22 O God, you will ransoms the life of your servants, * and none will be punished who trust in you.
Second Reading James 5: 13-18 The Message 13-15
Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out. 16-18Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people. People Thanks be to God.
A Psalm of Response 36, Saint Helena Psalter
1 There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked; * there is no fear of God before their eyes. 2 They flatter themselves in their own eyes that their hateful sin will not be found out. 3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; *they have left off acting wisely and doing good. 4 They think up wickedness upon their beds and have set themselves in no good way; * they do not abhor that which is evil. 5 Your love, O GOD, reaches to the heavens, & your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; * you save all your creatures, O God! 7 How priceless is your love, O God! * your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast upon the abundance of your house; * you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9 For with you is the well of life, * and in your light we see light. 10 Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, * and your favor to those who are true of heart. 11 Let not the foot of the proud come near me, * nor the hand of the wicked push me aside. 12 See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness! *they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.
Third Reading John 11:32-36 (NRSV)
Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
People Thanks be to God.
A Psalm of Response Psalm 41: 13-15
13 Hear my prayer, O God, and give ear to my cry; * hold not your peace at my tears. 14 For I am but a sojourner with you, * a wayfarer, as all my forebears were. 15 Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again, * before I go my way and am no more.
A Song “Some times I feel, like a motherless chil’”
Some times I feel, like a motherless chil’ Some times I feel, like a motherless chil’ Some times I feel like I’m almost gone, A long way, from home; a long way from home.
(In the silence following the song, pass around the basket of stones, and invite each person to take 2-3.)
A Ritual of Casting Cares, Grief, Fear, Anger, Rage…and other strong emotions:
On the table is a basket of stones. After a time of silence, we call to heart and mind some of the wounds, injustices, and suffering that break our hearts, distorting our relationships with each other, with God, with ourselves and with the whole Creation. As so moved by the Spirit, each person is invited come to the table in the center, to place (or even throw) their stones, one at time, into the bowl. If desired, the people are invited to say out loud a name, offer a prayer of petition or lament, or other brief comment about their distress.
Once all have cast their stones…pause in silence before reading aloud, together the following:
Cast your burden upon God, who will sustain you; * God will never let the righteous stumble. Psalm 55:24 Saint Helena Psalter & I Peter 5:7 3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 2 Corinthians 1:2-4
A Psalm of Hope, Psalm 126, Saint Helena Psalter
(Reading antiphonally in two sides, and then together after verse 5…)
A 1 When God restored the fortunes of Zion, * then were we like those who dream. B 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, * and our tongue with shouts of joy. A 3 Then they said among the nations, * “God has done great things for them.” B 4 God has done great things for us, * and we are glad indeed.
All 5 Restore our fortunes, O God, like the watercourses of the Negev. 6 Those who sowed with tears * will reap with songs of joy. 7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, * will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.
Let us bless God, who is near to the broken hearted People: The Holy One, who saves those whose spirits are crushed Thanks be to God!
A Blessing May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah, and of Jesus Christ, born of Mary, and of the Holy Spirit who broods over the world as a mother over her children, be upon us and remain with us always. Amen.
Compiled by Kathryn Rickert, PhD., September 21, 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Seattle WA