A prayer for hope
This prayer service was prepared by Joanna Hiebert Bergen, peacebuilding and advocacy coordinator for MCC Manitoba. This is one of a series of prayer services for peace prepared for each week of August.
Faith and hope abide alongside love as a triad, those elements of our spiritual journey that allow for perseverance. We acknowledge a God who lived with us in the person of Jesus, exemplifying all three of these elements. God continues to show up in our world in visible and invisible ways, manifest through encounters with the natural world and with one another, pointing us to faith, hope and love.
As we take time to reflect on the work of peace in a broken world, may there be comfort taken from the verses of 1 Corinthians 13. “And now I will show you the most excellent way…”
Please listen to the words of Adolfo Perez Esquivel (1980), an Argentine human rights activist, community organizer, pacifist, painter, writer and sculptor and recipient of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize:
We live in hope because we believe, like St. Paul, that love never dies. Human beings in the historical process have created enclaves of love by their active practice of solidarity throughout the world, and with a view to the full-orbed liberation of peoples and all humanity.
For me it is essential to have the inward pace and serenity of prayer in order to listen to the silence of God, which speaks to us, in our personal lives and in the history of our times, about the power of love.
Because our faith in Christ and humankind, we must apply our humble efforts to the concentration of a more just and humane world. And I want to declare emphatically: Such a world is possible.
To create this new society, we must present outstretched and friendly hands, without hatred and rancor, even as we show great determination and never waver in the defense of truth and justice. Because we know that we cannot sow seeds with clenched fists. To sow we must open our hands.
Read Psalm 42
Context for Peace
Omid Safi writes these words, after recent attacks in France:
In an age when violence is broadcast widely,
when the quickest way to fame
is to say something vacuous and pungent
How do we make the healing visible?
How do we recover love
as a public virtue?
In the midst of this tragedy, I keep searching for hope,
still my own heart
to keep generating hope
For my children
For all of us
Where do we find hope?
Hope’s never linear,
Every now and then,
we see examples of hope that become visible.
I want to shine a light on these moments — to remember, to rejuvenate, to recall — when the goodness shines on through, and reminds us of the need to keep generating hope.
In a moment of silence, contemplate where you have seen hope shine through your life in the past few weeks.
Prayer of the People
God of all creation, keep us looking,
God of all spaces, help us to see You in all places,
Enable us to look for and see signs of hope,
For a people who are often hopeless
Give us visions of a better world,
Grant us faith and hope in order to live into our world, Your way of love.
God of all Mercy, keep us loving,
You whose name is Love,
Create in us a desire to love those we view as unlovely,
To love without design or threat,
Teach us to love as Jesus taught and grant us love for ourselves even as
We strive to love our neighbor.
God of all creation,
You keep us and sustain us —
Through hard questions without easy answers,
Through failing where we hoped to succeed.
Grant us grace to see possibility where others would see only despair,
Breathe faith, hope and love into our weary souls.
Grant us peace.
Go in faith to be part of
The new creation of human community.
Go in love to take the hand of those who suffer and long for peace.
Go in peace.
Joanna Hiebert Bergen, peacebuilding and advocacy coordinator for MCC Manitoba