We Are Speaking Sunday Sample Worship Service

*Songs in this order are suggestions only. Please use whatever you feel is most appropriate for your context.

 

Additional note: While planning this worship service, take time to be mindful of visual elements in the service and what they will be communicating. With the prayer of brokenness and mending that occurs after the sermon, something like the following ideas might provide a powerful visual: tattered fabric and a beautiful quilt, broken pottery shards and jars repaired via kintsugi, or an obscured image and a restored painting. These ideas are certainly not exhaustive, but they provide a starting point for the Spirit to inspire you for something that will work in your context.

 

Votum

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Amen.

 

Call to Worship (adapted from We Are Speaking)

 

Leader: From the earliest stories of our faith, God has painted a picture—

People: a picture in which all people together reflect the image of God.

Leader: God establishes this vision, a vision God calls very good.

People: As bearers of God’s image, we, too, are called to live out this vision.

Leader: If we keep silent in the face of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence,

People: we fail to be coworkers with Christ in the renewal of the world.

All: We are speaking because we are committed to standing with and for women, girls, men, and boys who have experienced harassment, abuse, and sexual violence.

 

Invocation

 

Let us pray. Holy God, we have gathered here to worship you and to catch again the vision of your reign. Send your Holy Spirit to move among us and to guide us as your people, so that all people might experience your goodness and love. In the name of Christ, amen.

 

Opening Hymn – “Gather Us In” (#529 in Lift Up Your Hearts; #8 Sing! A New Creation)

 

Call to Confession

 

In the beginning, men and women were created in God’s image. That beginning was intended to set forth a way of life in which all God’s people could flourish and live together in meaningful and uplifting ways. But we know that far too often, “women and girls have been victims of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence rather than being treated with the dignity God intended for them.” This is not just something that happens out there in the world. Every corner of the world has been affected, and the church is no exception. This morning, as we confess our sins, let us also be mindful that many in our pews have been touched by violence. As we confess our sins to God together, let us also commit ourselves to working for a world—and a church—where no one will ever suffer again. Let us pray.

 

Prayer of Confession

 

Merciful God, you created all of us in your image and called us to love one another with the same love you have shown us. We confess before you that we have turned our eyes away from the suffering of others. We have not treated others with the dignity and love you intend for all people. Open our eyes to all who are suffering harassment, abuse, and sexual violence, and to the ways we have enabled systems that harm and exploit. Open our hearts as you urge us to stand with and for all who suffer. Move us forward to do the work of speaking out and making changes. And forgive us our sins, in Jesus’s name. Amen.

 

Words of Assurance

 

Hear the good news from Psalm 147:1-6:


“Praise the Lord!

How good it is to sing praises to our God;

   for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;

   he gathers the outcasts of Israel.

He heals the broken-hearted,

   and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars;

   he gives to all of them their names.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

   his understanding is beyond measure.

The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;

   he casts the wicked to the ground.”

 

Through Jesus Christ, we receive the good news, and we are sent forth to work for a world where the outcasts are gathered in, the broken-hearted find healing, and the downtrodden are lifted up. May God be with us and strengthen us for the task.

 

Song of Response – “They’ll Know We Are Christians,” verse 2 (#256 Lift Up Your Hearts)

 

We will work with each other,

we will work side by side.

We will work with each other,

we will work side by side.

And we’ll guard each one’s dignity

and save each one’s pride.

 

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

 

Children’s Lesson

Note: If you include a children’s lesson during your service, be mindful of the ages of the kids who will be present. For a We Are Speaking service, it may be best to approach the children’s lesson as a time to talk about the power of speaking up. When something has happened to us or to a friend or family member, and we know about it, let’s speak out and use our voices to help.

 

Hymn – “Open Our Eyes” (#297 Lift Up Your Hearts; #263 Sing! A New Creation)

 

Scripture Readings

 

Sermon

 

Prayer of Brokenness and Mending

After each petition, the congregation is invited to sing “O God, When Trust Is Shattered” (to the tune of “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”). Words can be found at https://pres-outlook.org/2018/08/o-god-when-trust-is-shattered-free-hymn/.

 

God of mercy, we come before you today with broken hearts. We know that “for far too long, women and girls [and men and boys] have been victims of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence rather than being treated with the dignity God intended for them.” When one member of the body suffers, we all suffer; when one person has been mistreated, we have all been mistreated. Lord, we are holding our pain and brokenness into the light, and we implore you, O God, to “be near to the broken-hearted, and save the crushed in spirit,” as you have promised us in Psalm 34.

 

Congregation sings verse 1:

O God, when trust is shattered

by wolves among your sheep,

when youth and children suffer,

when those remembering weep,

when victims tell their stories,

when leaders hide abuse,

bring healing, love and mercy!

Bring justice, God of truth!

 

O God, it is easy for us to close our eyes to the reality of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence in the world. Often, we try to pretend that the church is immune, or that the church has not participated in these things. The reality is much different.

 

“If we keep silent, we are complicit in the continued dehumanization of women and girls.

 

“If we keep silent, we fail to be coworkers with Christ in the renewal of the world and of the relationships between men and women.

 

“If we keep silent, we ignore God’s call to be agents of change committed to ensuring that all people are treated with dignity.”

 

 We cannot keep silent, O God.

 

Congregation sings verse 1:

O God, when trust is shattered

by wolves among your sheep,

when youth and children suffer,

when those remembering weep,

when victims tell their stories,

when leaders hide abuse,

bring healing, love and mercy!

Bring justice, God of truth!

 

God of healing and restoration, we offer before you our brokenness, and we ask you to stitch us back together. Be near to all those in our midst who have suffered harassment, abuse, or sexual violence. May all who have suffered know that they are deeply loved by you and that their suffering was never something you wanted for them. Move us forward as a congregation as we speak out.

 

“We are speaking because we are committed to standing with and for women and girls who have experienced harassment, abuse, and sexual violence.

 

“We are speaking because we are committed to seeking healthy ways for men and women to live and work together.

 

“We are speaking, even if words fail us and our anxieties leave us uncertain about what we can do.

 

“We are speaking because of our Christian convictions and because of the kind of world in which we want to live. When one part of the body is mistreated, the whole body is mistreated. When one person suffers, we all suffer.”

 

Congregation sings last verse:
May all who serve in churches

be careful, watchful, wise.

May we prevent abuses

and hear your children’s cries.

We pray that institutions

will seek your way anew.

Bring healing, love and mercy!

Bring justice, God of truth!

 

We, as women and men, as children of God, as a church, courageously stand together against any word, deed, or policy that diminishes the dignity of women, girls, men, and boys in our communities. And we are compelled by God’s original vision for humanity to live into this statement by taking action. We are investing ourselves in the Holy Spirit’s movement to bring about healing and restoration until every person is valued as one who is made in the image of God.

 

Offering

 

Prayer of Dedication

O Lord, as we give to you our offerings and our lives, we ask that you would transform us. May our gifts be used to bring healing and comfort, and may we become the hands and feet of Jesus as we listen, believe, comfort, and welcome all those suffer. Amen.

 

Adjourning Hymn – “We Are Called” (#296 Lift Up Your Hearts)

 

Benediction