Model for a Litany of Grateful Remembrance
Are you looking for a simple way in worship to remember people involved in a tragic event in the life of your congregation, community, nation or wider world? Perhaps the event happened a number of years ago, so the initial pain of it is faded. You may not need a memorial service that is about loss, but perhaps, instead, about gratitude.
This model for a Litany of Grateful Remembrance was developed for use during worship on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of terrorist attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people.
It is simple, with only three parts.
Naming -- Name people, particularly people you know personally, who may have died or been seriously injured, but also those who came to help.
Ringing -- The ringing of a bell begins a time of silent, thankful remembrance for the people named.
Singing -- Together sing a brief song or chorus that thanks God for the life and witness of the people named. "Thank you, Jesus" (from The Faith We Sing, 2081) or "Thank You, Lord" (The United Methodist Hymnal, 84) are two of many other examples you might pick, or even create.
Repeat these three simple actions until all the people you wish to name are named.
Then offer one final round giving the opportunity for the people present to name aloud or silently others not previously named and, after the ringing, to offer thanks for these and any others they may not know who may also have been involved.
You might conclude the litany either by singing the song one last time, or with a solo or unison prayer of thanksgiving, such as the following.
God of all the ages,
we thank you for for these people and all the ways they have blessed us.
Some are still with us.
Some are no more.
May the remembrance of their love, their courage, and their compassion
call us to gratitude throughout our lives,
that generations yet to come may give you praise
until that day when you make all things new.
We pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and in the name of Jesus,
Firstfruits of Creation, Firstborn from the dead,
Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Amen.