June 18, 2023

Liturgy, Reflection, Benediction 2023.6.18


Father, I stretch my hand to thee — for no other help I know.
Oh, my Rose of Sharon, my shelter in the time of storm.
My Prince of Peace, my hope in this harsh land.
We come to you waiting for freedom,
We come to you crying for justice,
We come to you longing for peace.
We bow before you this morning to thank you for watching
over us and taking care of us. This morning you touched us
and brought us out of the land of slumber, gave us another
day — thank you, Jesus.
We come to you waiting for freedom,
We come to you crying for justice,
We come to you longing for peace.
When I come down to the river of Jordan, hold the river
still and let your servant cross over during a calm down.
Father, I’ll be looking for that land where Job said the wicked
would cease from troubling us and our weary souls would be
at rest, over there where a thousand years is but a day in eternity,
where I’ll meet with loved ones and where I can sing praises
to thee, and I can say with the saints of old, “Free at last,
free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last.”
We come to you waiting for freedom,
We come to you crying for justice,
We come to you longing for peace.
In the name of God our Liberator,
Christ, our Redeemer,
And the Spirit of Shalom.
(Excerpts from “Traditional Juneteenth Prayer,”
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom by Charles Taylor)

Responsive Prayer

Gracious God, through the prophets,

and through Jesus, your Nonviolent Son,

we learned the seemingly distant divine,

could be known as a Compassionate Parent.

Creator of the Cosmos, and Lover of our Souls,

whom Jesus called upon as Father,
Today we remember our earthly fathers.

Some are fathers by birth,

some through adoption,

Still others by their presence as father-figures, 

and mentors in our lives

May your Guiding Spirit be with all those who have fathered us along our journeys.

We give thanks for those who fathered us into wholeness…

by putting our needs above their own convenience and comfort;
by teaching us to show courage and determination in adversity;
by challenging us to adventure beyond self-limiting boundaries;
for modeling the qualities that would shape and inspire us.

We give you thanks for the many times our fathers and father-figures reflected your love, strength, generosity, wisdom, and mercy.

Some of our fathers caused chaos and suffering in the lives of their families…
Give them the grace to acknowledge and repair their mistakes.
Give us the grace, when we are ready, to extend to them 

the same forgiveness you offer us all.
Heal us from the trauma of our past.
Allow us all to move forward toward what will give us growth.

We re-member these fathers, who struggled to live in the love you gave them.

We acknowledge everyone experiencing sorrow today…

for those witnessing a child struggle in life

for those distant geographically or relationally from their child or father

for those mourning the death of a child

and grieving the loss of their father

May you comfort us all with your Presence, 

and guide us along a path that transforms our pain.

Give new, and expectant fathers, as well as future father-figures,

the wisdom and vulnerability they need

to develop joyful and wholehearted children;

grounded in Divine Love deep within

May all on the path of fathering sense your abundant grace and steadfast lovingkindness!

We ask all this through God our compassionate father,

Christ our humble healer,

And Spirit our breath of life,


Homily and Reflection

Homily Podcast – Liberation Into Community 6.18.2023

How might you listen more clearly to your life?

What would it look like to allow Christ to lament alongside you?

Where might you show up in solidarity with your community this week?


Let us end with a benediction.
[Let us be the] church, founded upon your Word.
that challenges us to do more than sing and pray,
but go out and work as though the very answer
to our prayers depended on us and not upon you.
Help us to realize that humanity was created
to shine like the stars and live on through all
eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace.
Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together,
and live together until that day when all God’s children
— Black, White, Red, Brown, and Yellow – will rejoice in
one common band of humanity in the reign of our
Lord and of our God.
We pray in the name
of the Soaring Liberator,
of the Nonviolent Rock of Resistance,
and the Spirit of Wisdom.
(Martin Luther King Jr. as quoted in
Thou, Dear God: Prayers that Open Hearts and Spirits)
(edited by Lewis V. Baldwin, Beacon Press, 2012)

[Photo by Clem Onojeghu]

This post needs your thoughts.

Related Posts