Share |

Give Us Peace Beyond Our Fear: Resources dealing with the pain of domestic violence

These worship resources are designed to encourage pastors and worship teams to bring the issue of domestic violence before the faith community. Doing so in a worship setting can raise awareness, offer help and healing to those who are hurting, and affirm the biblical standard for loving relationships with one another.

The resources are taken from Responding to Domestic Violence by Beth Swagman (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2002). Swagman is Director of Abuse Prevention for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The book also includes notes for two sermons and a powerful drama, and many strategies for helping churches respond to and prevent domestic violence. (Available from Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2002; 1-800-333-8300; www.FaithAliveResources.org.)

Litany of Hope

Group 1: We believe that beyond the violence,
Group 2: there can be love;
Group 1: beyond the despair,
Group 2: there can be hope;
Group 1: beyond the torment,
Group 2: we will find rest;
Group 1: beyond our brokenness,
Group 2: there can be healing;
Group 1: beyond our agony,
Group 2: we will find joy.
All: O God, transform our disbelief and gently carry us from darkness to light.

—Carolyn Holderread Heggen, Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches, © 1993, Herald Press. Used by permission. To request permission to use in your local church, contact Herald Press, 616 Walnut Ave., Scottdale, PA 15683-1999; 724-887-8500; fax 724-887-3111; www.mph.org.

Prayers of Confession

God of Love and Justice
God of love and justice,
we long for peace within and peace without.
We long for harmony in our families,
for serenity in the midst of struggle.
We long for the day when our homes
will be a dwelling place for your love.

Yet we confess that we are often anxious;
we do not trust each other,
and we harbor violence.
We are not willing to take the risks
and make the sacrifices that love requires.

Look upon us with kindness and grace.
Rule in our homes and in all the world;
show us how to walk in your paths,
through the mercy of our Savior. Amen.

—Ruth C. Duck, Flames of the Spirit, New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1985, p. 45. © 1985, The Pilgrim Press. Used by permission. To request permission to use in your local church, contact The Pilgrim Press, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115-1100; 216-736-3764; fax 216-736-2207; www.pilgrimpress.com.

Jesus, Son of God, Son of Mary

Jesus, Son of God,
son of a woman.
You taught us well,
you showed us how to live.
And yet, and yet—
we falter.
We deny injustice,
hurt instead of heal,
use hands as weapons,
choose faithlessness
instead of loyalty,
choose security instead of risk,
smile instead of weep.
We choose indifference in the face of violence.
Jesus, Son of God,
forgive us, for we know not what we do.

—Carolyn Holderread Heggen, Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches, © 1993,

In Despair
Artwork from Art Explosion (© 1998, Nova Development Corporation, 23801 Calabasas Road, Suite 2005, Calabasas, CA 91302-1547, 1-818-591-9600). Used by permission.

Herald Press. Used by permission. To request permission to use in your local church, contact Herald Press, 616 Walnut Ave., Scottdale, PA 15683-1999; 724-887-8500; fax 724-887-3111; www.mph.org.

Prayers of Intercession

Prayer for Victims
The Lord is my strength and my salvation.
Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
The Lord is my strength and my salvation.

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net,
along the road they have set snares for me.
The Lord is my strength and my salvation.

Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their plans.
Those who surround me lift up their heads;
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
The Lord is my strength and my salvation.

I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
and executes justice to the poor.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall live in your presence.
You, O Lord, are my refuge. Into your hands I commend my spirit.

—Based on Psalm 140 (NRSV)

Prayer for a Victim or Survivor of Crime

Lord God of liberation,
you saw your people as slaves in Egypt
and delivered them from captivity.
You see works of violence and weep.
Relieve the suffering of [name].
Grant peace of mind and soul
and a renewed faith in your protection and care.
Protect us all from the violence of others.
Keep us safe from the weapons of hate,
and restore us to tranquility and peace.

At Your Feet
Artwork from Art Explosion (© 1998, Nova Development Corporation, 23801 Calabasas Road, Suite 2005, Calabasas, CA 91302-1547, 1-818-591-9600). Used by permission.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

—Adapted from Book of Blessings, © 1988, United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Washington, D.C.202-541-3000. www.usccb.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Prayer for Justice

Almighty God, you created us in your own image.
Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil
and to make no peace with oppression.
And, that we may reverently use our freedom,
help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice
to the glory of your holy name;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

—The Book of Common Prayer

Prayer of Dedication

Leader: We offer ourselves to you, O God, our Creator.

All: We offer our hands.

Leader: Use healing touch to comfort sisters, brothers, and children who are afraid.

All: We offer our eyes and ears.

Leader: May we see and hear the signs and stories of violence, so that all may have someone with them in their pain and confusion.

All: We offer our hearts and our tears as their hurt and sorrow echo within us.

Leader: May we be healed as we embrace each other.

All: We offer our anger.

Leader: Make it a passion for justice.

 

Excerpt
Texts for Sermons on Human Relationships
  • Hosea 2:14-20
    This passage portrays God’s intentions for covenantal relationships. Note the emphasis on loyalty (vv. 16-17), love (vv. 14-15, 19), compassion (vv. 14-15, 19), blessing (vv. 15,18), tenderness (vv. 14, 16, 18).
  • John 15:12-15
    This passage describes God’s intentions for how we are to love one another. We are called to sacrifice (v. 13), friendship (vv. 14-15), and servanthood (vv. 15).
  • Philippians 2:1-7
    This passage reflects on the virtue of humility for Christian living, including within the marriage relationship. Humility requires sacrifice (vv. 3-4), humbleness (vv. 6-7), love and tenderness (vv. 1-2).
  • Isaiah 59:1-15
    This passage reflects on God’s hatred of violence and speaks of separation from God (vv. 1-2) and guilt (vv. 2-3). It describes verbal violence (vv. 3-4), treachery and oppression (v. 13), evil (vv. 6-8), darkness (vv. 9-10), unjustness (vv. 4, 8-9, 11, 14-15), and notes that violence is unstoppable (vv. 4-6).
  • Isaiah 59:15-21
    This passage speaks to God’s call for justice and a response to violence. It emphasizes God’s righteous anger (vv. 15-19), God’s call for justice (vv. 17-18), and the response God expects from his people (vv. 19-21).
  • Lamentations 3:1-24
    This passage pictures the misery of the oppressed and their hope in God for relief. It describes the damage done by violence and oppression (vv. 1-16), the loss of joy (vv. 2, 5, 7, 11, 14-15, 17-18, 20), and the control that violence and oppression have over a victim (vv. 2, 5-11). All that remains is hope in God (vv. 19-24), who is faithful and cares for his people (vv.

 

Other Hymns of Lament and Healing

“God Weeps” FWS 2048
“God! When Human Bonds Are Broken” WOV 735
“Healer of Our Every Ill” FWS 2213; SNC 205, WOV 738
“How Long, O Lord” (Ps. 13) FWS 2209,
“In All Our Grief” WOV 739
“In Labor All Creation Groans” SNC 270
“Open Our Eyes” SNC 263
“Out of the Depths (Ps. 130:1) FWS 2136
“The Servant Song” FWS 2222; SNC 277
“There Is a Balm in Gilead” WOV 737
“We Cannot Measure How You Heal” SNC 69
“Who Can Sound the Depths of Sorrow” SNC 63

Sources
  • FWS The Faith We Sing (Abingdon, 2001; 1-800-672-1789)
  • SNC Sing! A New Creation (CRC Publications, 2001; 1-800-333-8300).
Two Other Resources
From the Darkest Night: Meditations for Abuse Survivors

Pastors or other congregational caregivers who are working with survivors of abuse or their family and friends will want know about this new book. Author Melanie Jansen asks hard questions: Where was God when I was abused? Why does it hurt so much to be in church? How can I go on? She does not offer easy answers. But she does share with fellow survivors some of the insights that have helped her along her own journey to healing and wholeness. Available from Faith Alive Christian Resources, 1-800-333-8300; www.FaithAliveResources.org.

Circles of Care: Hymns and Songs

A collection of 48 hymn texts by Ruth Duck set to music. The texts address issues of healing and reconciliation, offering fresh images for praise and celebration. Musical settings include both traditional tunes and new compositions by modern composers. Ruth Duck is professor of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago. Available from United Church of Christ Resources, 1-800-537-3394, fax: 216-736-2206.