A Litany of Grief Amid Days of Violence


The Lord be with you.

And with us all.

The Psalm

A psalm of longing for the kingdom of God.

I’m in trouble. I cry to GOD,

      desperate for an answer:

“Deliver me from the liars, GOD!

      They smile so sweetly

      but lie through their teeth.”

Do you know what’s next,

can you see what’s coming,

      all you bold-faced liars?

Pointed arrows and burning coals

      will be your reward.

I’m doomed to live in Meshech,

      cursed with a home in Kedar,

My whole life lived camping

      among quarreling neighbors.

I’m all for peace, but the minute

      I tell them so, they go to war!

—Psalm 120. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress, represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


The congregation may respond by speaking or singing the Kyrie (“Lord, have mercy . . .”) and Trisagion (“Holy God . . .”). If sung or led by a cantor, see p. 186, 187, and 915 of The Book of Alternative Services (Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1985) for suggestions.

            Lord, have mercy.

            Christ, have mercy.

            Lord, have mercy.

To you, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace,Isaiah 9:6

      we come, confused, sad, in grief,

      because we live in a world

      that often claims your name,

      but which offers lies in exchange for license,

      falsehoods for favors.

            ​​​​​​​Lord, have mercy.

            ​​​​​​​Christ, have mercy.

            Lord, have mercy.

We come shamefaced to you, the Source of all truth,

      because we have remained silent

      out of fear

      or fatigue because no one

      seems to listen to your Word.

We know of your justice, but we plead with the prophet,

      “God, our Master!

      Hold back the punishment—please!

      What’s going to come of your people?

      We are so small.” Amos 7:4

            ​​​​​​​Lord, have mercy.

            ​​​​​​​Christ, have mercy.

            Lord, have mercy.

You say, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,

      who put darkness for light and light for darkness,

      who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter,” Isaiah 5:20

      but we see them prosper.

Are you chastising us?

      We can barely stand it: life in this world of lies is

      too much for us.

            ​​​​​​​Lord, have mercy.

            ​​​​​​​Christ, have mercy.

            Lord, have mercy.

We are grief-stricken to live in a land

      that does not seem to want

      your kingdom of peace

      to come to earth as it is in heaven.

We long for your kingdom

in which garden hoes and plows

      replace assault weapons and pipe bombs. Isaiah 2:4

      Jump into our world, Lord,

      and free us from evil,

      from others’ and from our own worst desires.

            ​​​​​​​Lord, have mercy.

            ​​​​​​​Christ, have mercy.

            Lord, have mercy.

Lord, send us your Spirit,

      the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of gentleness,

      the Spirit of Christ, the Prince of Peace.

We pray to you, infinite in mercy,

      who understands our fear, our weakness,

      our sin, and our earnest desire for restoration

      in this world and the next.

We long for the day when everyone will sit at peace under vine and fig tree, Micah 4:4

      and children play safely in the street. Zechariah 8:2–10

            ​​​​​​​Holy God,

            ​​​​​​​holy and mighty,

            ​​​​​​​holy immortal one,

            ​​​​​​​have mercy upon us.


“Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” St. Francis of Assisi, GtG 753, PsH 545, SSS 616

Curt Gesch, with his wife Betsey plan and participate in Zoom worship services at which everyone who attends is given opportunity to lead in the readings, prayers, and benedictions, and all craft the “sermons” through sharing comments, questions, and experiences.

Reformed Worship 143 © March 2022, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.