Envision a liturgy for gun violence prevention (GVP). Liturgy means the people act. Liturgists and activists have written liturgies for peace, for racial reconciliation, for earth care and more. Liturgies were written to frame a human condition begging the embrace of grace followed by transformative action to make grace alive in the world. Gun violence shatters to death over 40,000 victims each year, with hundreds of thousands wounded. LITURGY FOR GVP invokes the holy relationship between God and the People of God, that we may be inspired and empowered to create a more gun safe home, community and nation.
GATHERING SONG: “Gather Us In” ELW 532
THE GREETING: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. AND ALSO WITH YOU
THE KYRIE: In peace, let us pray to the Lord. JESUS, HAVE MERCY. For the peace of God amidst gun violence, let us pray to God. JESUS, HAVE MERCY. For peace from gun violence in our homes, communities and nation. Let us pray to Jesus. JESUS, HAVE MERCY. For all who gather to worship, in the hope that gun violence not invade our peaceful community. Let us pray to Jesus. JESUS, HAVE MERCY.
THE GLORIA: (Together) Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people. We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Your glory brings the Light of Hope into our gun violence spaces. Your glory lights paths of solutions to gun violence. Your glory draws us past daily gun violence, teaching us to imagine and practice nonviolent actions for gun violence prevention.
PRAYER OF THE DAY: Holy Jesus, we thank you for your love which graces and inspires us to live nonviolently, to MEDITATE on your Word, to EDUCATE ourselves and others, and to ADVOCATE for gun safety, in the nonviolent Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen
THE PSALM: L: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? C: The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? L: When evildoers assail me . . . C: my adversaries and foes-they shall stumble and fall; . . . . L: God will hide me in God’s shelter in the day of trouble; C: God will conceal me under the cover of God’s tent; God will set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:1-2, 5)
THE WORD: “In the Image of God, God created [humanity].” (Genesis 1:27); “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1); “They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’ . . . . When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:38, 49-51); “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest? [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:36-38)
THE SERMON: In Light of the Psalm and the Word, contemplate and share among yourselves these words: (1) “We certainly are in a hell of a business . . . . A fellow has to wish for trouble so as to make a living, the only consolation being, however, if we don’t get the business, someone else will . . . . It would be a terrible state of affairs if my conscience started to bother me now.” (Frank Jonas-Remington dealer); (2) The Garden of Eden was a time and place of peace and nonviolence. People were created in the Image of God to live within and tend this peace. The Image of God is nonviolence; (3) Frequently, those who insist on unfettered gun purchase and use, shout “Freedom!” Hyper-individualism replaces concern for the other and justifies gun violence.
SONG OF THE DAY: “Lord of All Hopefulness” ELW 765
THE CREED: I believe in God the Creator, the source of love and seed of nonviolence. I believe in Jesus Christ, Savior, Transformer of life, Liberator from fear, Resistor of violence, Stimulator of responsibility, Flower of nonviolence, Inspirer of freedom, Uniter in love. I believe in the Holy Spirit, Gatherer of diversity, Igniter of joy, Kindler of kindness, Hand of gentleness, Peace of patience, Discipline of self-control, Sower of faithfulness. Amen.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION: (Together) Holy and loving Jesus, you have graced us with forgiveness, filled our being with love, and called us to discipleship. We pray for courage to step up, speak up and stand up for gun violence prevention. We pray for wisdom to unload and lock-up guns, locking up ammunition separately in our homes. We pray for courage to contact our political leadership and demand common sense gun safety laws. We pray our elected leaders take action to pass gun safety laws such as Universal Background Checks and Red flag Laws which will help keep guns out of the hands of irresponsible people. We pray for resoluteness and nonviolence in public displays of demonstrations demanding gun safe laws. Amen.
SHARING OF THE PEACE: C: The peace of Christ be with you. (If with others, embrace if masked and vaccinated. Otherwise, speak, wave or flash the peace symbol.)
OFFERING: Consider making a financial commitment to a gun violence prevention organization such as Protect Minnesota, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, or Giffords. Consider volunteering. Consider participating in a march or demonstration. Consider writing or calling your senator or representative on the state and national levels.
THE LORD’S SUPPER: (Since we are all members of the Priesthood of all Believers and out of good order, we can share the Body and Blood of Jesus with in-home bread and wine.) TOGETHER: Out of God’s grace and in faith, we proclaim: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the night of his betrayal, took bread, broke it, and said ‘This is my body, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you eat it in remembrance of me.’ Then he took the cup and said, ‘This is my blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.'”
THE LORD’S PRAYER: (Together) Our Father-Mother in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen
SHARING OF CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD: Pass the bread to each other, with each saying “The Body of Christ given for you.” Then, pass the wine saying, “The Blood of Christ shed for you.”
COMMON BLESSING: (To each other) Now may the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen and preserve us unto Eternal Life.
SENDING: (Together) May God bless us, keep us, inspire us and empower us to work for gun violence prevention in our homes, community and nation, through personal responsibility and political action. Amen. Go in peace and serve Jesus! THANKS BE TO GOD!
SENDING SONG: “Cantical of the Turning” ELW 723