Matters of Interpretation

what it's all about is what it's all about


This is the liturgy for the Service for Wholeness and Reconciliation held at the Corydon Presbyterian Church, Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

Words for Meditation: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” (from Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address)

One:     The grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you
All:       and also with you.
One:     Our help is in the name of the Lord,
All:       Who made heaven and earth. Amen.

Welcome, everyone, to this brief service for wholeness and reconciliation. Because the past several months have been a uniquely troubled time in our national life, and because people have expressed so many strong feelings around this recent election, and because we know many people are looking at the future with apprehension, we felt called to remember in this way that God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and giving us the ministry of reconciliation in the gospel of Jesus Christ; so we invite ourselves and our neighbors to accept the healing offered to us in Christ, and to recommit ourselves to that ministry of reconciliation, in our individual lives and in our community.

Hymn #306      Blest Be the Tie that Binds, verses 1 & 3

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION (adapted from the Service of Light, Book of Common Worship)
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation.
In the beginning you separated light from darkness
And placed all your works in our hands.
You have given us the light of day
That we might see your wonders
In all we say and do;
You have given us the light of your Word,
As a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path;
Break through the darkness of our sins
With the splendor of your mercy and love.
Send your light to dispel our fears and anxieties
And fill us with your peace.
Glory, praise and honor are yours, O God,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
In the power of the Holy Spirit,
Now and forever, Amen.

A reading from the Old Testament: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7, 11
A reading from the Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48, 7:12
A reading from the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 13
A reading from the Psalms: Psalm 46 (responsive reading)

Hymn #175      Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, verse 1

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE ending with the Lord’s Prayer

This prayer will be what we call a “bidding prayer” – I will say “let us pray for …” and will leave some moments for silent prayer … and then we will conclude that section of the prayer with a few words; then I will say “Lord in your mercy,” and you will (I hope) respond “Hear our prayer”

As we pray, we invite those of you who have special prayer concerns, anything that is heavy on your hearts, or would simply like to participate in this way, to come to the table, and light one of the candles here – as a tangible way of offering your prayer to God. When everyone who wishes to light a candle has done so, we’ll end our prayers with the Lord’s Prayer. We invite you to use the wording of that prayer that you feel most comfortable with.

Please pray with me:

God who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in it, who made all nations and peoples, and placed their histories under your governance, we praise you for your greatness, and stand amazed that you bid us to bring our concerns before you.

let us pray for the peace of our world … silence
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love, guide the nations of this world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the gift of your Spirit;
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Let us pray for our nation … silence
Almighty God, ruler of all the peoples of the earth, we commend this nation to your merciful care, that being guided by your providence we may dwell secure in your peace; forgive we pray, our shortcomings as a nation; purify our hearts to see and love truth; give wisdom to our counselors and steadfastness to our people; and bring us at last to the fair city of peace, whose foundations are mercy, justice, and goodwill, and whose builder and maker you are;
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Let us pray for our national leaders … silence
King of kings and Lord of lords, endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government. Give to our President of the United States, to our President-Elect, to the Governor of our State and to our Governor-Elect, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know your will and to do it. Make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people before you. O God, fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth, we beseech you so to guide and bless our elected officials, in Congress, in the state legislature, and in our County deliberative bodies, that they may enact such laws as would lovers of truth and justice. Bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give to them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of you alone;
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

Let us pray for our state and local officials … silence
Only Wise God, bless all those who hold office in the state of Indiana, the county of Harrison, the towns of Corydon, Lanesville, New Salisbury, Palmyra, and the other communities here, that they may do their work in a spirit of wisdom, kindness, and justice. Help them use their authority to serve faithfully and to promote the general welfare;
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

Let us pray for all who sought public office or worked in the recent election … silence
Great God, under your law we live, and by your will we govern ourselves. You tell us that all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves in your sight will be lifted up. Give humility and charity to those who have won election to public office; comfort and sustain those who sought but did not receive a call to serve; grant compassion to those who rejoice, and sustain the faith of those who mourn. Uphold with your spirit all who sought public office during this past election, their aides and assistants, their families and supporters, and so call them to your service and guide them in your paths, that whatever their work, they may serve the common good.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Let us pray for reconciliation and healing from conflict … silence
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, Holy in One, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; give us ears to hear one another, and the willingness to listen and to understand; grant that your Holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We lift these prayers to you, Father of Lights, in the name of the Light of the World, Jesus, who taught us when we pray to say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.

HYMN  #306    Blest Be the Tie that Binds verse 5

Give praise to God the Almighty, by whose great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3), and in that resurrection hope,
“Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold fast to what is good; return no one evil for evil, but strengthen the fainthearted, support the weak, and help the suffering, honor all people, love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

And may the Grace of Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forever . . . Amen.

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