Scripture Reading |
Sung Response |
Sign/ Symbol and Ritual |
The world has been shocked by the
immensity of the disaster which has befallen islands and coastlands
in the Indian Ocean. Financial and practical support are essential
but we believe that our prayer, love and concern can also help to
sustain those who are suffering and those who are at the front-line
of bringing relief.
Much will depend on your
circumstances but a circle/ horseshoe would be good for this
liturgy. Ensure that people can move around easily so that they can
take part in the Sign/ Symbol and Ritual you choose to use. What to
include in your setting will depend on what you choose to do.
If you are not using a Symbol or Ritual, a simple cross, a photo
with a small posy of flowers and lit candle will help to create a
Responses offer a way into the prayer.
We generally read these from where we are sitting so that the
atmosphere of quiet reflection is maintained. A roving microphone is
Although words are offered, silence
has its place too - allow spaces between the responses for people to
absorb the words. Similarly with the Scripture readings - take them
slowly and allow people space to reflect.
There are many Readings that may be
helpful - here is a selection:
Psalm 15/16 (Preserve me God)
Psalm 21/22 (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
Psalm 22/23 (The Lord is my shepherd)
Psalm 129/130 (Out of the depths)
Wisdom 3: 1-9
Lamentations 3: 17-26
Mark 15: 33-39; 16:1-6
Luke 23: 33, 39-43
John 5: 25-29
Romans 8: 18-23
1 John 3: 1-2
Revelation 7: 9-10, 15-17
Revelation 20: 11 - 21:1
Choose one - at most two - of the
Readings. People might find them helpful to have them typed up so
that, during the pauses they can re-read them and deepen their
Again, there are many songs that
can be sung. Here is a selection - most of the songs are, hopefully,
O God Our help in Ages Past
Blessed Are My People
The Lord hears the cry of the poor
A Touching Place (Wild Goose Worship Group)
For the healing of the nations
The Lord's my shepherd
When I needed a neighbour
Whatsoever you do
Lay your hands gently upon us
As if you were not there (Wild Goose Worship Group)
In times like these (available at
We used the Columba setting of the
"King of Love my Shepherd is")
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Sign/ Symbol and Ritual
Many people find it helpful to do
something - to give an outward sign of what they are feeling or are
wishing they could do.
Here are some ideas to use or
of newspaper cuttings/ photos spread in the middle of the
circle. People can either place a flower (from a basket
alongside) - or light a tee-light on one that particularly
draws them. It does not matter if more than one person
chooses the same one.
As above - but
invite people to take one of the pictures or clippings away
with them at the end to use as a focus for personal prayer.
of those affected: model of a fishing boat (fishermen);
small towel (swimmers); coins (for those whose businesses
are ruined); teddy bear (children); rice (for those who lost
crops/ suffering hunger); water - perhaps dirty (those at
risk from contaminated water); medication (for those needing
and providing); surgical mask/ cloth (those facing the task
of recovering bodies); relief agency logo (for those
striving to bring aid) and so on.
During the time set aside for ritual, each could be prayed
for and a candle lit by each. Keep it simple: for example:
We pray for the fishermen ... We pray for ...
If access to a
river/ sea is possible, place lit tee-lights in paper boats
and allow them to float away - the waters acting as a link
between all peoples. It would also be possible to drop a
flower onto the water's surface.
have a large container of water on which people can place
floating candles or flowers.
Take a square
of paper/ thin card and fold corners into the middle - press
the folds tightly. Allow people to hold them and to reflect
on images they have seen/ words they have heard and then to
place their folded paper on the water's surface - with luck,
the paper will unfurl to form a simple flower.
Visit one of
the message boards where people are looking for friends and
relatives (for example, this one at the
BBC). Choose a random selection from each of the
countries affected and list the names of the person being
sought - perhaps also the seeker. Each person could take
away a name to pray for ... this makes an unimaginably large
catastrophe more personal.
names of the affected countries on card - if artistic, draw
an outline map of it. Invite people to take one country away
as a focus for prayer. It may be that people have links with
the country - work-colleagues who come from there or perhaps
as a holiday destination.
Whichever you choose, allow people
time to gaze on the scene.
It is often useful to have
background music to sustain the atmosphere.
Suggestions: Jesus, remember me (Taizé); The Cloud's Veil (Liam
Lawton); Agnus Dei/ Pie Jesu (many versions); Adagio for Strings
After the Ritual, you may like to
have specific Intercessions - or invite people to pray for a
particular image that has caught their attention. If you have not
used a Ritual, you could pass a candle in a container around the
group. People can pray out loud - or simply hold the candle in
silence before passing it on to their neighbour.
At the end of the liturgy, give
people time to depart slowly. If anyone in the group has been
touched personally by the events, ensure that there is someone who
can be there to listen and comfort. Having somewhere a little apart
from the main group would be helpful.
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