Litany for Hope

hope

I wrote the following litany to be a part of the worship service at our presbytery meeting on July 12, 2016. I wrote it in early June … before Alton Sterling, before Philando Castile, before the murder of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, before the violence in Turkey and in Nice, France. As the pain and violence and distrust and abuse of power in the world around us continues to spiral out of control, our need for hope and for God’s peace grows. And so we pray – desperately and with light in our hearts – for that hope and peace.

If you desire, please feel free to use this litany in whatever way you need to. All I ask is that you credit it appropriately. Thanks, and God bless.

* Litany of Hope
Reader 1: From the voices of Scripture –
Reader 2: From psalms we’ve read and sung and prayed…
Reader 3: The Psalms boldly sing out,
“HOPE in the Lord!
Be strong!
Let your heart take courage!
HOPE in the Lord!”
ALL: We hear God’s words of HOPE. We hear the boldness of God’s CALL.

Reader 1: From the ancient echo of prophetic voices …
Reader 2: Isaiah, the Prophet, boldly declares,
“Those who HOPE in the Lord
Will renew their strength.
They will fly up on wings like eagles;
They will run, and not be tired;
They will walk and not be weary.”
ALL: We hear God’s words of HOPE. We hear the boldness of God’s CALL.

Reader 3: From the sermons of old …
Reader 1: Simon Peter boldly proclaims,
“My heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover, my body will live in hope,
Because you won’t abandon me to the grave,
Nor permit your holy one to experience decay.
You have shown me the paths of life;
Your presence will fill me with happiness.”
ALL: We hear God’s words of HOPE. We hear the boldness of God’s CALL.

Reader 2: From letters read over and over again …
Reader 3: To the Ephesians Christians and down through the ages, Paul boldly encourages,
“I pray that the eyes of your heart
Will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call,
What is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers,
And what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power
That is working among us believers.”
ALL: We hear God’s words of HOPE. We hear the boldness of God’s CALL.

Reader 1: We do indeed hear God’s words of HOPE.
Reader 2: We do indeed hear the boldness of God’s CALL.
ALL: But faith is about more than just hearing.

Reader 3: All around us, we see the world trying to tear itself apart –
Reader 1: Flood waters reaching devastating levels in a matter of hours …
Reader 2: Bullets flying and people dying in nightclubs, shopping centers, workplaces, schools …
Reader 3: Thousands of people fleeing the only lives they’ve ever known out of fear and desperation, fleeing into waters cold and dangerous, unwelcoming and deadly …
Reader 1: Countries and cities, provinces and regions where for far too long, violence and terror, conflict and rage, ruin and anguish have been the “normal way of life” …
Reader 2: Political posturing and finger-pointing and name-calling and an overall refusal to come to the table in peace that has left our political system in shambles …
Reader 3: Words of hate slung pointedly and deliberately at this group or that: refugees, Muslims, immigrants, the black community, the LGBTQ community, those who are poor, those who are homeless, those who struggle with mental illness, those who are “not like me” …

Reader 1: We see the headlines,
Reader 2: We see the news feeds,
Reader 3: We see the posts on social media,
ALL: But faith is about more than just seeing.

Reader 1: God calls to our hearts.
Reader 2: God calls to our minds.
Reader 3: God calls to our spirits.
ALL: God calls us to be people of bold faith, people of prophetic hope.

Reader 1: God calls to our talents.
Reader 2: God calls to our gifts.
Reader 3: God calls to our dreams.
ALL: God calls us to be people of bold faith, people of prophetic hope.

Reader 1: God calls us in the midst of our fears and our doubts.
Reader 2: God calls us in the face of our struggles and our failings.
Reader 3: God calls us in all our brokenness and messy humanity.
ALL: God calls us to be people of bold faith, people of prophetic hope.

Reader 1: Because we are not called to “leave well enough alone,”
ALL: God calls us to hope for a brighter future.
Reader 2: Because we are not called to let it all be “someone else’s problem,”
ALL: God calls us to hope for justice that is equal and unfailing.
Reader 3: Because we are not called to “maybes” and “not sures” and “I don’t knows,”
ALL: God calls us to hope as we confidently walk together, listening and discerning, leading and encouraging. God calls us with hope. God calls us to hope. God calls us for hope. And with the reassurance and the joy that that hope brings, we answer God’s call: HERE I AM. SEND ME.

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