141

 

Sample Liturgies

 

Following are some of the liturgies used during the Workshop. Other creative liturgies used for the daily worship were done verbally and spontaneously.

 

I. Liturgy for the Opening Worship

Invocation

Silent Preparation (with music)

Leader: Psalm 113 :1-4

Praise the Lord!

Praise, 0 Servants of the Lord,

Praise the name of the Lord!

Blessed be the name of the Lord

from this time forth and forevermore!

From the rising of the sun to its setting

the name of the Lord is to be praised!

The Lord is high above all nations,

and God's glory above the heavens!

Song: "Day by Day"

Confession

Leader: As we have raised our voices in thanks, let us turn to Christ for our freedom, hope and growth. Let us confess our sins.

 

142

 

Silence (personal prayers of confession)

Leader: O God, our Father and our Mother, we turn away from thee and hide ourselves from our appointments.

All: Lord, help us to keep our faith, like Mary.

Leader: Lord, we turn away and compromise our positions.

All: Help us to judge the world, make decisions and offer counsel like Deborah.

Leader: Lord, we turn away and bind ourselves in fear of our own weaknesses.

All: Guide us as you guided Esther.

Leader: Lord, we turn away from peace that is your commandment to us to make.

All: Grant us to worship you and serve our people like Miriam.

Leader: Eternal God, you call us, but we turn away because we are afraid of the same power with which you did it.

All: Mighty God, like the apostles, help us to carry the renewing message of your resurrection.

Leader: Merciful God, we do not claim our gifts, we do not face up to your call. We do not respond to resurrection hope and renewal. Today, we repent. Lord, we need new partnership, new visions for a different heaven and earth.

All: Lord of Life, hear our prayer. Come, sisters and brothers! Let us proclaim the renewal the Lord offers.

 

143

 

Sharing

At this special moment, as sisters and brothers from different countries worshipping together, please share with one another the greatest difficulties women in your country face. After this time of sharing and listening, we shall pray for what we shall have heard.

Unison Prayer (Prayer for all People)

Living God,

We pray for all people:

For those women shut off from a full life by tradition and practice.

For those people who are oppressed and exploited.

For those denied their freedom and dignity by systems and authorities.

For those forced to leave their homelands because of their ideologies.

For those seeking answers and meaning to their lives within their own cultures and religions.

For those who labour too long and too hard only to barely feed and clothe themselves and their families.

For those forced to sell their bodies to survive.

For those women and men who live lives of quiet desperation at the hands of the powerful and prestigious.

For them and all who suffer, we pray, asking that the church may once again give joyful expression to your creative love Which breaks down barriers and unites person to person, woman to man, and community to community.

Which gives meaning and hope to empty lives and makes us reach out to each other in generous self-giving.

 

144

 

Which makes us more complete ourselves.

Scripture: Hosea 14:4-8

The Lord says,

"I will bring my people back to me.

I will love them with all my heart; no longer am I angry with them.

I will be to the people of Israel like rain in a dry land.

They will blossom like flowers; they will be firmly rooted like the trees of Lebanon.

They will be alive with new growth and beautiful like olive trees.

They will be fragrant like the cedars of Lebanon.

Once again they will live under my protection.

They will grow corn and be fruitful like a vineyard.

They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.

The people of Israel will have nothing more to do with idols;

I will answer their prayers and take care of them;

Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them;

I am the source of all their blessings."

Meditation

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in God, creating and giving life to the world, mother and father of all, regardless of race, class or gender, love indescribable and beyond our imagining, yet closer than our own breathing.

We believe in Jesus, the Way of God confronting violence with self-giving; the Truth of

 

145

 

God challenging all hypocrisy and false values; the Life of God inviting us to a realm of forgiveness and new beginnings.

God-with-us, embodied in our living.

We believe in the Spirit,

Breathing into us renewing power,

Interpreting our longings and searching after

truth, and probing with us the depths of God's wisdom.

We believe in the company of God's people, called to live and be one in Christ;

In the knowledge of forgiveness and the strength to stand as God's daughters and sons.

In the promise of God which sustains us in what we know and invites us to travel on in discovery and hope. Amen.

Leader: At this moment, our energy, our love and the power of our healing are linked with all that is good and true and with God. It moves across the spaces between us and those people and situations about which we care and becomes a flow of new possibilities.

Let us call on Jesus, our Saviour, for changing, healing and growth.

All: Hear us and come to us. Lord of love.

Leader: In the power of our closeness to the Source of all life we can see the signs of a hopeful future. Let us at this conference commit ourselves to discover together the beginning of that hope. Amen.

 

146

 

Sending Out

Leader: The world is the home of our life.

All: Let us claim it with courage.

Leader: The world is the place of our gifts.

All: Let us offer them with grace.

Leader: The creation sighs with the pain of our labour.

All: Let us share with God in the bringing to birth of the new age.

Closing Song: "In God's Time"

Blessing

May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ abide with is and with our sisters and brothers forever.

[The opening worship was prepared and led by the Taiwan SCM lost committee.]

 

147

 

II. Morning Worship

Prayer Song: "Saranam, Saranam..."

Unison Prayer

Lord, Creator of life, we commit ourselves unto your hands. Take control over our whole being. Help us to understand your will for us. Give us the courage to find our way.

Having given us the opportunity to share and understand the issues facing women in different parts of the world, we seek strength from you to break in the areas which are considered inaccessible for women, to break up the shackles which enchain women and to break out into the world and find a place for ourselves.

Let the rays of hope shine upon us to brighten up our visions and goals so that we do not lose ourselves in this struggling world but come out victorious walking in solidarity with all our sisters.

Use each one of us as your instruments to manifest your plans of an equal and just society.

Act of Dedication

(During this time a flower is given to each participant.)

 

Leader: For the last few days we had been sharing the struggles and sufferings of women of different countries. Women often tend to forget and ignore their talents and gifts which can be used constructively to fight against these sufferings.

(A tray is circulated and everyone puts the flower on it saying aloud a gift/talent with which they are blessed. When the tray returns it shall look like a big bunch of flowers symbolizing the

 

148

 

various talents such as those of listening and understanding, an inquisitive mind, endurance, patience, sacrificing nature, compassionate heart and many others.)

Leader: At times it may seem impossible to fight against the injustices and struggles all around while the world may seem bleak and hopeless. But this bunch of flowers symbolizes the immense potential that is within us and this is also the symbol of a new hope.

Song of Solidarity

[A morning liturgy led by Pratima Poonnam Mall and Elizabeth Purty of India.]

 

149

 

III. Morning Worship

Meditation (inspired from Luke 8: 40-48)

This woman bleeds, but all women bleed and there is life in that blood.

She has bled too much and too long and because life is pouring out of her vultures press in, care-givers all, grinning from deaf ear to deaf ear, cold eyes glassy with craving.

She is bled again until her money and her strength run out.

She has bled too much and too long and because life is pouring out of her she presses in to Jesus, trembling from head to foot, weary eyes weeping with hope.

Power goes out to her and she is freed from her suffering.

She has bled too much and too long and because life has poured out of her Jesus presses out to greet her, seeking and meeting her, he calls her to tell her the whole fearful story.

To her freedom from suffering he adds the gift of peace.

This woman bleeds, but all women bleed and there is life in that blood.

What happens when women today reach out to touch the church in one last desperate bid for healing?

Are they freed from their suffering?

Are they personally met?

 

150

 

Is their fear and trembling listened to?

Are they, at least, blessed with the peace of right relation?

Or are they bled still further, their gifts and graces used and used and used again to support those who present themselves as care-givers, but who live so powerfully and comfortably because they bleed the needy dry?

We come to God with prayers of thanksgiving for the gifts and graces given to the church through women, praying that women may not be used and abused, but that they may be honored and respected as people who pour out life.

(Margaret Tyrer)

Writing Women's Sufferings

(Each one is to write on a sheet of paper some-thing about women's suffering which they want to be free from. Each one will then read it aloud for the group to hear and then place it in an aluminum basin for symbolic burning.)

Prayer

Leader: Dear God in heaven, we believe that you are hearing our sufferings.

All: And we believe that you are always present and working in our sufferings. Now help us to understand that you never leave us and you call us to join with you to liberate all people, men and women who are oppressed, to free nature which is broken and exploited.

 

151

 

 

Leader: Now these are our sufferings, God, we put at your feet. We want to bum all these to remind us that you have already taken away our sufferings and you are still present in us, that you still work in us now and forever, so that we also must work with you to liberate women as a part of your whole liberation.

All: Amen.

[A morning liturgy led by Elvina Simanjuntak of Indonesia and Lucy Graham of Australia.]

 

152

 

IV. A Litany of Women's Power

Spirit of Life, we remember today the women, named and unnamed, who throughout time have used the power and gifts you gave them to change the world. We call upon these foremothers to help us discover within ourselves your power and the ways to use it to bring about the Kingdom of Justice and Peace.

We remember Sarah who with Abraham answered God's call to forsake her homeland and put their faith in a covenant with the Lord.

We pray for her power of faith.

We remember Esther and Deborah, who by acts of individual courage, saved their nation.

We pray for their power of courage to act for the greater good.

We remember Mary Magdalene and the other women who followed Jesus who were not believed when they announced the resurrection.

We pray for their power of belief in the face of skepticism.

We remember Phoebe, Priscilla and the other women leaders of the early church.

We pray for their power to spread the gospel and inspire congregations.

We remember the Abbesses of the Middle Ages who kept faith and knowledge alive.

We pray for their power of leadership.

We remember Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena who challenged the corruption of the Church during the Renaissance.

 

153

 

We pray for their powers of intelligence and outspokenness.

We remember our own mothers and grandmothers whose lives shaped ours.

We pray for the special power they attempted to pass on to us.

We pray for the women who are victims of violence in their homes.

May they be granted the power to overcome fear and seek solutions.

We pray for those women who face a life of poverty and malnutrition.

May they be granted the power of hopefulness to work together for a better life.

We pray for the women today who are "firsts" in their fields.

May they be granted the power to persevere and open up new possibilities for all women.

We pray for all daughters and granddaughters. May they be granted the power to seek that life which is uniquely theirs. (Here, add any women you would like to remember or for whom you wish to pray...)

We have celebrated the power of many women past and present. It is time now to celebrate ourselves. Within each of us is that same life and light and love. Within each of us lie the seeds of power and glory. Our bodies can touch with love; our hearts can heal; our minds can seek out faith and truth and justice. Spirit of Life, be with us in our quest. Amen.

(Ann M. Heidkamp)