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Prayers of lamentation for peace, justice and reconciliation

Order of service being used in the Ecumenical Centre chapel for prayer concerning Zimbabwe

19 June 2008

The following order of service was prepared by the worship committee of the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva for a prayer of lamentation held at the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, 19 June 2008. It may be reproduced and adapted for parish use freely.

Silence

How lonely sits the city
that once was full of people!

How like a widow she has become,
she that was great among the nations!

She that was a princess among the provinces
has become a vassal. (Lamentations 1.1)

Song: Mayenziwe…

Blessed is our God now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen

A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children;

she refuses to be comforted for her children,

because they are no more. (Jer 31:15)

Even when I cry out, "Violence!' I am not answered;

I call aloud, but there is no justice. (Job 19:7)

Silence

For these things I weep;
my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
one to revive my courage;
my children are desolate,
for the enemy has prevailed. (Lamentations 1.16)

Song: Mayenziwe…

Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and an impious people reviles your name. Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals; do not forget the life of your poor forever. Have regard for your covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence. Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame; let the poor and needy praise your name. Rise up, O God, plead your cause; remember how the impious scoff at you all day long. (Ps 74:18-22)

Remember this, O Lord,

Remember this, O Lord

Silence

My eyes are spent with weeping;
my stomach churns;
my bile is poured out on the ground
because of the destruction of my people,
because infants and babes faint
in the streets of the city. (Lamentations 2.11)

Song: Mayenziwe…

Remember this, O Lord,

Remember this, O Lord,

Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame.

Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame.

Rise up, O God.

Rise up, O God.

Silence

They cry to their mothers,
‘Where is bread and wine?'
as they faint like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
as their life is poured out
on their mothers' bosom. (Lamentations 2.12)

Song: Mayenziwe…

Prayers

Eternal God:

In your sight nations rise and fall, and pass through times of trial.

We pray with and for Zimbabwe in this hour of national decision,

and we ask your divine blessing on all the people of the land.

May Zimbabwe's leaders seek justice by means that are just;

May the voters take action to promote the common good;

may international observers and mediators be guided by your wisdom.

Lead us not into temptation, Lord, and deliver your people from evil:

Empower us all to overcome anger, jealousy, division and violence;

help us to respect one another despite our differences;

and teach us the things that truly make for peace.

This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Amen.

Silence or time for free prayer

We are longing for the day, when the prophecy of Micah will come true, when "they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Affirmation (St. Yared, Ethiopia)

The cross is the way of the lost.

The cross is the staff of the lame.

The cross is the guide of the blind.

The cross is the strength of the weak.

The cross is the hope of the hopeless.

The cross is the freedom of the slaves.

The cross is the water of the seeds.

The cross is the consolation of the bonded labourers.

The cross is the source of those who seek water.

The cross is the cloth of the naked.

The cross is the healing of the broken.

The cross is the peace of the church.

Song: Mayenziwe…

You are invited to leave the chapel in silence

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