Prayers of Adoration, Confession, Lament

God our Creator you shaped us for love and harmony
Singing into our souls the very joy of creation
Surrounding us with everything that is good and beautiful.
And yet we confess that your wondrous creation
is divided by walls and divisions that destroy peace.
Give us a voice and we will sob,
Weeping with your world like a child
who will not be comforted,
weeping at the divisions and separations
of churches and communities;
weeping at misused powers that
oppress others and destroy the earth.

Christ our Saviour you came and lived our fragile life
Singing of love, seeking out and naming injustice
Calling all the broken people into your heart of love.
And yet we confess that your saving grace is not shared
and too many people are still denied a place at your table.
Give us a voice and we will sob,
weeping at the brokenness of our lives;
weeping with those who lost their loved ones
because of wars and conflicts;
weeping with refugees and displaced people.

Liberating Spirit you were sent among us
Singing truth, weaving bonds of harmony
through the shattering despair of all who long for peace.
And yet we confess that we are tired for we fear
that the little that we do will never be enough.
Give us a voice and we will sob,
weeping with the abused and
unloved children and youth;
weeping with those who are
discriminated against;
weeping with the hungry and the thirsty
as they search for a just peace.

Hear the Good News
even in our brokenness we are loved and whole,
even in our weeping we are made in the image of God.
Confessing our brokenness, weeping our lament
we are made free by the loving, saving grace of God.
Therefore in the name of Christ our Saviour
we can be confident that our sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God. Amen

Saide Cameron, offered for worship 17/9/17
The responses of lament are taken from the World Council of Churches Order of service for the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel 2017

Prayers of the People

Dear Creator God,

We come to you, seeking justice and peace in Israel and Palestine. We come to you, knowing we can never understand the hurt of a place where it has been 50 years since the beginning of a war that led to the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. We pray, knowing we are privileged to be in Melbourne where there is peace and for most of us, safety.

We pray mercy for the people of Israel and Palestine; for those of religion and for those for whom it is absent. We pray for messages of love to cut through the echo chambers of amplified beliefs that swarm when systems are closed. Show us that we not islands in archipelagos but energies that become memories, histories and emotions of joy, hurt and love. Plant in us the seeds of hope for a future lasting peace between Arab and Jew.

Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for those in positions of power among Palestinian and Israeli people. We pray their influence holds at its core, love and truth. Lord, give minds glimpses into futures centred on listening, tolerance and one day soon, celebration of diversity. Holy Spirit, show people paths that lead towards peace and liberation in the Holy Land. Show them what it is to dream and see visions.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, help us to push for our own country to be one that acts for justice. May your spirit of reconciliation inspire us to advocate for those who need to be heard. Stir in us the will to act so we speak, even out of turn, when we hear something far from the spirit of love. Help us: those are able to, to use our voices to break down walls through teaching rather than further dividing. Help us to act in love, even towards those who do not preach it. We pray for a country that says ‘yes’ to love.

Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are deeply affected by the systematic structures of oppression and for all who are devastated by profound loss or sickness of loved ones. We pray for those who can’t see a future that is good. We especially pray for those who are witnesses to continual violence and for those stuck and misunderstood in a legal system suited best to those who inforce it. Defend us from the temptations of bias or indifference.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, we stand before you, knowing we have agency and knowing we can be instruments of love. Help us to hear your call. Give us perseverance and courage to continue to work towards breaking down walls that divide.

Lord, hear our prayer.

God of grace and reconciliation, pour your peace upon all your people in the Holy Land: Jews, Muslims and Christians, Palestinians and Israelis.

Let fear be transformed into curiosity, despair into hope, oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation, that conflict, violence and suffering may be replaced by peace and justice for all.

Lord, hear our prayer.  Amen.

Olivia Potter, offered for worship 17/9/17
This prayer is a close adaptation of a former Uniting Church President, Rev Gregor Henderson’s prayer who in turn adapted the prayers of Najwa Farah, a Palestinian writer and educator.