Peace with Justice Sunday Worship Aids

Call to Worship

You showed favor to your land, O Lord; you restored the hope of your people.
You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.
You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
As we gather in your name, restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
--Adapted from Psalm 85

Or

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God;
Go near to listen rather than to offer up empty praise.
Let not your hearts be troubled
Or your thoughts be on anything other than the glory of the Lord.
--Adapted from Ecclesiastes 5

Prayer of Confession

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long will humanity turn your glory into shame? How long will your people love delusions and seek false gods? In my anger I have sinned; though you continue to search my heart for love. Forgive me, O Lord, and help me to follow your teaching and live a life that is pleasing to you, so that your face may once again shine upon me. Amen.
--Adapted from Psalm 4

Or

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me. Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. What will he do to you, and what more besides, O deceitful tongue? He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom tree. Too long have I lived among those who hate peace and seek out war to justify their means. Teach me to be a person of peace, so that I may do my part in bringing love to the world.
--Adapted from Psalm 120

Or

Hear, O Lord, and answer me;
for as rich as I may think that I am,
I confess that I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God;
save your servant who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you
in their time of desperation and need. 
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy. Amen.
--adapted from Psalm 86

Or

In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.
When I have done what is wrong
and displeasing in your sight,
O Lord, extend your love to correct me.
When I ignore those in need
and pretend that all is right with the world,
O Lord, help me to face the truth.
When I turn a blind eye to those
who have been stricken with poverty
and are facing the injustices that come along with it,
O Lord, teach me your way.
Enable me to extend your love;
and give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God,
with all my heart;
and I will glorify your name forever. Amen.
--adapted from Psalm 86

Or

God our Father, 
in the name of him
who gave bread to the hungry,
we remember all 
who through our human ignorance,
folly, and sin
are condemned to live in want.
Show us, who have so much,
what we can do
to help those who have so little;
and bless the efforts of those
who work to overcome poverty and hunger,
that sufficient food may be found for all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland

Responsive Reading

Leader:

In a world where we are not always good stewards in caring for God's creation,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your world.

Leader:

In a world where a few are living off of the abundance of the land, while the many struggle to make ends meet,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your children in need.

Leader:

As globalization makes some wealthier while other join the ranks of the poor,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your children who are facing poverty.

Leader:

While some have more homes then they need and others are condemned to homelessness,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your children who have nowhere to lay their head.

Leader:

While statistics show that people in poverty are more likely to end up in prison than in college,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your children who need guidance.

Leader:

As news reports tell us of people who are eating themselves to death and we turn the page to read of those who are starving to death,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your children who come to you in need.

Leader:

While many of us have taken for granted and squandered the blessings, gifts, and talents you have given to us,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be a blessing to your children who do not realize how blessed we truly are.

Leader:

In a world filled with so many people who have lost their way,

People:

Lord, open our hearts and help us to be your light that guides them back to you.

Or

Leader:

As the screams of war rise up out of the Middle East,

People:

Let the voice of the Lord be heard over the waters as we respond.

Leader:

As the cries for the loss of innocent lives echo through the air,

People:

Let the voice of the Lord thunder and resonate with comfort as we reach out with support.

Leader:

As families are broken and homes are destroyed,

People:

Let the voice of the Lord give strength to his people as we encourage them to press on.

Leader:

As prisoners are tortured and held unjustly against their will,

People:

Let the voice of the Lord inspire our prayers for justice.

Leader:

As the young men and women of the armed forces lose their lives in the desert

People:

Let the voice of the Lord shake the people of this world as we collectively pray for peace in the Middle East.

--Adapted from Psalm 29

Or

Leader:

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise God.

People:

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.

Leader:

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

People:

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Leader:

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

People:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

Leader:

He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.

People:

The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

Leader:

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

People:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.

Leader:

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all humankind;

People:

No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.

Leader:

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

People:

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

Leader:

In hope we wait on the Lord, who is our only hope for peace.

--Adapted from Psalm 33

Or

Leader:

This is what the Lord says: "Maintain justice and do what is right,

People:

For my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.

Leader:

Blessed are the people who do this and keep their hands from doing any evil,"

People:

So that no one will be excluded from the love of God.

--Adapted from Isaiah 56

Words of Assurance

Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, 
that he might create one new humanity in place of the two. He came and proclaimed peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near. Through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 
--Adapted from Ephesians 2:14, 18

Prayers of Intercession

A Prayer for Peace

Almighty God, who through your prophets foretold a day when swords will be beaten into plowshares and who in Jesus Christ made peace through the blood of the cross, pour out your Spirit on all people everywhere so that we may be delivered from hate, hostility, and self-seeking, and find our peace in your will. In your mercy, make us instruments of your peace, that your name may be hallowed, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
--from Liturgy and Psalms (Reformed Church in America, 1968), for the Nations of the World

Suggested Scriptures

Psalm 9:18; Psalm 33; Psalm 34:1-22; Psalm 35:10; Psalm 109:21-31; Psalm 113:5-8; Psalm 122; Proverbs 12; 1 Samuel 2:7-8; Isaiah 56; Lamentations 3; John 13, 14; Luke 4:14-21

Suggested Songs and Hymns

Taken from Sing! A New Creation (Reformed Church Press, Faith Alive Christian Resources, and Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2001)

"Children from Your Vast Creation" 58 
"When the Church of Jesus" 265 
"In an Age of Twisted Values" 61 
"Our Cities Cry to You, O God" 266 
"God of Justice Ever Flowing" 101 
"In Labor All Creation Groans" 270 
"Psalm 72" 120 
"O God, Your Justice Towers" 272 
"Lord, Make Us Servants" 204 
"Now Go in Peace" 289 
"We Pray for Peace" 207 
"Ososo/Come Now, O Prince of Peace" 209 
"Song of Simeon/Lord, Bid Your Servant Go in Peace" 292 
"When a Prophet Sings of Justice" 264

Categories