A Service of Prayer and Silence for All Affected by Bushfires

3 Jan

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

OPENING

In our day of trouble, when we are weary and our souls refuse to
be comforted,
we will call to mind your promise of hope.
In our day of trouble,
when the flames reach high above us,
the skies grow dark with smoke, and we tremble with fearful disbelief,
we will remind each other of your power to save.
In our day of trouble, when chaos and destruction surround us,
we will tell stories of the saints who took refuge in you.
In our day of trouble, when we seek rest and healing,
we will meditate on your mighty deeds in worship and praise.

OPENING PRAYER

God of Life, you are as near to us as our breath.
In times when we feel you are out of reach,
and in times when we feel completely enfolded in your love:
touch our eyes that we may see you;
open our ears that we may hear your voice;
enter our hearts that we might know your love.

Grace us with your presence during these difficult times,
so that we might feel your strength
and your healing touch.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we ask these things. Amen.

CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE

Friends in Christ,
God knows our needs before we ask,
and in our asking prepares us to receive the gift of grace.

So let us pray …
Creator,
Raging fires have intruded on our lives,
leaving us vulnerable, exposed, open:

We come to you,
broken, seeking wholeness.
In our time of need, forgive us for those things that we have done,
those things that we have left undone,
and those things that weigh heavily on our hearts.

(time of silence)

In our time of need,
provide for us those things that bring about your kingdom,
the gifts of the spirit and the gift of each other.
Above all, remind us always of your steadfast and abiding love.

Amen.

PRAYING TOGETHER: A COMMUNITY PRAYER RITUAL

We recognize that fire can be both a healing and a destructive force.
The same fire that welcomes us into community through baptism can harshly remove us from our homes and communities through bushfires.

Fire never disappears; it just takes on different shapes and form:
some forms that we can touch: the warmth of the sand beneath our feet …
some forms that we can see: candles burning …
some forms that we can feel and experience like the sun on summers day…
some forms carry our prayers and deep desires like the candles in the prayer bowls…

The care that we have for ourselves and for others is a form of fire.
Like the candles you are holding, our lives are to burn with concern for others.
I invite you to come forward and place your candles as symbols of your prayers for all affected by these fires.

(Silence)

In scripture we are told that God has seen and knows our suffering and longs to wipe away every tear from our eyes.
We are told that God will lead us beside still waters and restore our souls.
As we pray with our hearts, may we also find the courage to give thanks and affirm the faith that we share together, remembering that we are never alone:

We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.

We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.

SCRIPTURE

Psalm 121 – Assurance of God’s Protection

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

God of Creation,
We live in a world where both beauty and danger are found.

Hear our prayers for those who have been overcome by the disastrous fires in across our state and country (name the city).
For all who are in need of healing …
for all who are disabled by injury or illness …
for all who are troubled with confusion or pain …
for all who are in pain …
for all who cannot find adequate food or shelter …
for all who have lost their homes, churches, community centres, and workplaces …
for all creatures great and small who are suffering loss of life and habitat…
for all of the bush which will take many years to regenerate……
we pray and ask that you help heal the pain of all who are affected.
Strengthen with your presence all who are numb with fear and distress.

Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayers

Guide those who anxiously search or wait for loved ones.
Be near those who are grieving, and bless them with your peace.
In the midst of disaster we give thanks for moments of generosity and human kindness…
Grant tenderness, strength, and wisdom
to the doctors and nurses, police and military, fire-fighter and emergency responders;
to all who minister to human need in our time of distress.

Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayers

We gather these prayers by saying together the prayer that you taught us:
God of Holy Dreaming, honoured be your name.
Let your Way be known, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our self-centredness,
as we forgive those that act against us.
Save us in the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the Way, the power, and the glory
are yours forever and ever. Amen.

Blessing:

May the Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with you on the road.
May the Christ who serves with wounded hands stretch out your hands to serve.
May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart open your hearts to love.
May you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet,
and may everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you.

Dismissal:
Go, walk gently on country to love and serve our God
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Based on © 2013 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence.

2 Replies to “A Service of Prayer and Silence for All Affected by Bushfires

  1. Thank you Glenn.
    I hope people find this litany helpful for they are tragically losing so much. And we are all deeply saddened and shocked by the intensity and reach of the fires.
    I am concerned for the animals, birds, insects and the thousands of little critters who are suffering and perishing in huge numbers; also the diverse flora suffering irreplaceable destruction. The grief and loss and consequences will confront us for a long time to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *