Liturgics for Tragedy

I wrote the post “Mass Shootings and Bad Disciples” back in Feb 2018 after a mass shooting, and its words feel like exactly what this patient needs in the wake of the tragedies at Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton.  But if I believe that worship is the center of life… if I believe the Triune God draws closest to his redeemed people in the gathered worship on the Lord’s Day, what can we do in that context to help shape our lives outside of that?  I’m still asking myself that question.  But I thought starting imperfectly is better than not starting until the perfect way reveals itself.  So here is our congregation’s confession of sin and call for God to act that we will be using this coming Sunday.  May it drive us all to both prayer and action.

Confession of Sin and Plea for God’s Action[1]

Leader: O God of battles, we see the seeds of hate and malice that are native to our own hearts.

People: O LORD of hosts have mercy on us.  Forgive us for the murder in our hearts and protect us from our desire for revenge, when vengeance belongs to You.

Leader: We see how evil suspicions and hateful speech pour out from our mouths, our computers, and our phones.

People: O LORD of hosts have mercy on us.  Forgive us for harming the name of our neighbor, using our words in hurtful and untimely ways, and calling it “speaking the truth”.

Leader: We are grieved by our indifference toward injustice, oppression, and lack of concern for our neighbor’s good.

People: O LORD of hosts have mercy on us.  Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, to make no peace with oppression, and to use our freedoms in the maintenance of justice among men and nations.

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.

Leader: Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

People: But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands;

Leader: to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.

People: Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

[1] Sources used – 1) A New Directory for the Public Worship of God (Free Church of Scotland, 1898); 2) Westminster Larger Catechism #145; 3) Book of Common Prayer (Oxford Univ Press, New York: 1928); 4) Psalm 10.12-15 (ESV).

 

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