Where Do We Go from Here? Post-Election Worship Resources
By Cynthia Wilson
We have passed Election Day in the U.S. and there are questions that still abound. While a declaration has been made for a president-elect, the incumbent disputes that result. Supporters from both sides are still divided. It may be some time before a true resolution is found on the political stage, and even then, resentments will most likely continue for a long time to come.
What can we do as the worshiping people of God? Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. But the world seems to be resisting transformation. How can we proclaim a kin-dom of God when we can’t stand those who vote differently? Is there a task for the church in these divided times?
Dr. Cynthia Wilson, Executive Director of the Worship Team for Discipleship Ministries, has created some sample worship orders that could be used by those desiring to chip away at the divisions among us. As always with our resources, you may use them as they are or adapt them to fit your local context and preferences.
The first is a Service of Healing and Intercession. Built around the “Balm in Gilead” text from Jeremiah, this service uses music and the spoken word to invite God’s Spirit to open a door to healing and wholeness. The liturgy reminds us that we are a part of something bigger than our own hurts or fears and that by looking outward, listening to the children praying, we can begin to find a way to overcome that which pulls us apart.
The second is a Service of Unity. Perhaps best done in a nontraditional setting where the worshipers can be in circles facing one another, this service is designed to help us see the other as a part of the kin-dom, a part of the family. Using Paul’s high calling for the followers of Jesus in Romans, chapter 12, the liturgy challenges us to surrender ourselves to one another in love, so that together we might become the body of Christ.
We invite you to consider the timing of a service of unity or healing. It may be too soon in your context; the feelings might be too raw, or the questions too large to set aside even for a time. But when the time is right, we offer these resources as a beginning place for you to find where we, by God’s grace, might go from here.
TIME OF CENTERING
“Balm in Gilead”
(Hand Bells, Violin, Hand Bells, or soloist)
CALL TO CELEBRATION
One: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God; And God said, “Let the song begin!”
And the melody, the harmony, the rhythm, and the beat began.
We are the voice of one.
All: As the song began, God created the heavens and the earth!
One: In the beginning God spoke, and heaven and nature sang
a song of faith, hope and justice. We are the voice of one.
All: As the song began, God created darkness and light!
One: In the beginning God created woman and man, and together,
through sacred sound, the light of life sprang forth.
All: As the song began, God said, “That’s good!”
We are the voice of one!
“I Was Sinking In Despair”
Adapt. Dr. Ruth C Duck, Tune: Howard E. Smith
I was sinking in despair far from the peaceful shore,
overwhelmed by endless care, sinking to rise no more,
Jesus, master of the sea, hearing my mournful cry,
through his love has lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me, love lifted me, when nothing else could help, love lifted me.
Souls in danger, help is near: Jesus restores and saves,
lifting you from doubt and fear out of the restless waves.
Take the hand that stills the seas, making the billows calm,
answering your fearful pleas with healing balm.
Jeremiah 8: 18-22, NIV
18You Who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.
19Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away:
“Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?”
“Why have they aroused my anger with their images,
with their worthless foreign idols?”
20“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”
21Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.
22Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?
PRAYERS OF HEALING AND INTERCESSION
O Christ, our Lord, as in times past, not all the sick and suffering found their way to your side, but had to have their hands taken, or their bodies carried, or their names mentioned. So we, confident of your goodness, bring others to you. As times past, you looked at the faith of friends and let peace and healing be known. Look on our faith, even our little faith . . .
And let Your Kingdom come.
We name before you those for whom pain is the greatest problem; who are remembered more for their distress than their potential; who at night cry, “I wish to God it were morning,” and in the morning cry, “I wish to God it were night.”
Bring healing, bring peace.
We name before you those whose problem is psychological, those haunted by the nightmare of their past or the specters of their future; those whose minds are shackled to neuroses, depression or fears; who do not know what is wrong or what to pray.
Bring healing, bring peace.
Lord God, we are faced with serious challenges. We lift to you the global epidemic as it continues to ravage the land. The death toll continues to rise, and there is no remedy in sight. We pray that you give courage, good health and reassurance to all caregivers and health-care providers. And may your resurrecting peace be with those who have been infected and their families.
Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you!
We ask these things in the Name of The One whose flesh and blood made all things new. Amen
"Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying"
BLESSING and SENDING
Christ is our peace;
Those who are divided Christ has made one.
He has broken down the barriers of separation by his death,
And has built us up into one body, with God.
To whomever repents and believes, God has promised reconciliation.
So, live as people reconciled.
“Balm in Gilead,” United Methodist Hymnal, 375
“I Was Sinking in Despair” (“Love Lifted Me”) –Adapted by Dr. Ruth C Duck, Zion Still Sings, 71
“Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying," Zion Still Sings #156
Prayer of Healing and Intercession adapted from the liturgy of the Iona Community in New Hymnal of Universal Praise (HUP), Hong Kong Chinese Literature Council, 2006, 534.
Call to Worship – Cynthia Wilson, Free Indeed Global Productions ©2009.
BLESSING and SENDING from The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
GATHERING CALL (People gather in a full circle)
ONE: How many of you feel that sometimes, The Wrong is just too strong for you to handle, and you sink into deep despair and sleepless nights? Or that we fight Wrong with rage? Unable to pull in our anger, we spew it on those who wronged us. If this is you, just bow your head. My head is bowed. (Leader bows head.)
People bow their heads.
ONE: How many of us have tried our best and gotten nowhere fast? Then, we decide to “Let go,” and let God fight the battle? If this is you, just raise your right hand and say, “Amen.” (Leader raises right hand and says Amen!)
People raise right hands and say “Amen!”
ONE: How many of us have come today to witness to the fact that God never leaves us alone? That because of Jesus, we still have favor with God? So we go where God tells us to go and do what God tells us to do. If this is you, just raise your left hand and say, “We thank you, Lord Jesus!” (Leader raises left hand and says, “We thank you, Lord Jesus!”)
People raise their left hands and say, “We thank you, Lord Jesus!”
ONE: How many of us come today believing that we can fly, that because of the power of the Holy Spirit, we can soar? If this is you, raise both hands to heaven and say, “HALLELUJAH!” (Leader raises both hands and says, “HALLELUJAH!”)
People raise both hands and shout, “HALLELUJAH!”
HYMN OF HOPE
“Welcome” (vs 1 & 2) Worship & Song 3152 (As the introduction is played through, participants move to their seats, then sing verses 1&2)
PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE
God, we come to you dismayed at our own divisions.
We have struggled as your church to live in unity; but we are divided along all the fault lines of our societies. The ruptures in our families, among friends, among denominations, among nations are wide and deep. When we attempt to be the same page, we build taller walls and dig deeper trenches.
GOD, HELP US!
We know that Christ is not divided.
We know that it is your baptism to which we have been called.
It is your service to which we are compelled.
You have called us to proclaim the gospel, but we even fight about what that is.
HELP US, GOD!
Help us to give up our thirst for power and privilege.
Help us to yield for the sake and cause of the cross of Jesus.
Help us to want the unity you share, for you are One in Three and Three in One.
IN YOU, THERE IS NO DIVISION!
Help us to embrace and to live the foolishness of a life emptied of selfishness
and given to service, in the likeness of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Help us to walk in salvation . . . in the Name of the Servant Christ. Amen!
RESPONSE TO PRAYER
“Kyrie” The Faith We Sing, 2275
Romans 12 NRSV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
RESPONSE TO THE WORD
“Make Us One” Zion Still Sings, 93
CIRCLES OF BLESSING
(participants form small circles of three or four and pray for the church and one another)
. . . and they sang a hymn and marched out.
In a time when faith communities have not been allowed to gather, we must find authentic ways to create and maintain the spirit of Koinonia, Ubuntu, Unity. You are encouraged to spend this time listening to the ways that the Holy Spirit is speaking. Use the opportunity to go and see what new things God is doing.
Worship designed by Dr. Cynthia Wilson, Executive Director, Worship Resources Director, Liturgical Resources © 2020