A Palestinian Litany for Jerusalem

A responsive reading with Scripture and song

Reading from Psalm 85

Almighty and eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we glorify and praise you. You are our only refuge in this troubled world.
We glorify and praise you, our God.

Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem you became one of us, sharing and understanding our humanity, our suffering and problems.
We glorify and praise you, our God.

We thank you that you took refuge to Egypt, identifying yourself with all who are refugees and victims of political power.
We thank you, our God.

We thank you that you grew up in Nazareth and ministered to the people in Galilee, and spread your kingdom in a new way.
We thank you, our God.

We thank you that you were crucified in Jerusalem, identifying yourself with every person who suffers and lives under occupation and injustice. On the cross you carried the sin and the suffering of all human beings and reconciled us with you and with our fellow human beings.
We thank you, our God.

Reading from Isaiah 40:28-31

Our Heavenly Father, we come before you with all the troubles and pains experienced by your people in the Middle East.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We pray for all the victims of injustice and violence in the present situation. We pray also for those who are responsible for injustices and all forms of violence.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We pray for laborers who cannot enter to their places of work. We pray for youth who are losing their hope for the future.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We pray for mothers who are fed up with bloodshed, killing, and the use of arms. We pray for the bereaved families, who lost their dear ones. We pray for the quick recovery of the injured. We especially pray for those who live with permanent disability.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We lift up to you the names of children whose lives were cut short by violence: Ahmed Ismail Khatib, Yasser ‘Adnan al-Ashqar, Noor Faris Njem, Odai Tantawi and the hundreds of other Palestinian and Israeli children who remain unnamed.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Jesus, our Savior, our eyes look to you, our only help in these troubled times.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray, that you open the eyes of the world, and of Israelis and Palestinians, for justice and reconciliation. Help us all to see that the security and freedom of the one people is depending on the security and freedom of the other.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for the politicians, that they may realize that the security and peace we all long for will not come by the use of arms and force, but by having justice done so that the two peoples can reconcile and together work out an equitable coexistence for the future.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for leaders around the world who have power to work for peace: Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Barak Obama, Gordon Brown, leaders of the European Union, and leaders of other Arab countries.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, you have called us to be your followers. Give us your love for our fellow human beings. Free us, and our children, from hatred, bitterness, and the denying of the rights of others; and fill us with love, truth, and justice, so that we can recognize and respect the dignity and the rights of one another.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, you have shown us that forgiveness is not forgetting one’s rights but asserting them. We know that forgiving is to see Christ in our enemies, and to love them as our neighbors. Help the Palestinians to see you in the Israelis, and help the Israelis to see you in the Palestinians. Help all of us to see you in one another. Lead us all to affirm and respect that our humanity is a gift from you, as we are all created in your image, and give us courage to mutually recognize one another’s human, religious, civil, and political rights.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Reading from Ephesians 2:11-22

Holy Spirit, giver of life and new beginnings, help us to faithfully respond to God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Help your people everywhere find ways of encouraging people to open their hearts and confess their part in the past injustices and find ways to build a just and secure future for our children. Give us wisdom and courage in this difficult task. When the pressures of the situation make us despair, come with your Holy Spirit and renew our strength and hope.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Sustain with your power those who in the midst of all difficulties are quietly building the culture of reconciliation, justice, and peace. They may not be many right now, but we remember that the work for God’s kingdom among us started with only a handful of faithful and committed people.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

We pray for those who people and organizations in the Holy Land who are committed to building peace: Naim Ateek, Sabeel, Mitri Raheb, International Center of Bethlehem, Michael McGarry, Rabbi Ron Kronish, Elias Jabbour, Bishop Suheil Dawani, Arik Ascherman, Rabbis for Human Rights, Bishop Munib Younan, Douglas Dicks, Catholic Relief Services, Givat Haviva, Joudeh Majaj, Suhaila Tarazi, B’tselem, and others whose steps toward peace are overlooked.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Come, Healing Spirit, and change us and open ways for us to change others. Remove all injustice and fill our land with just peace. Remove all hatred and fill us all with true love.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Remove all insecurity and bring in real security. Remove all occupation and bring in freedom for all.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Merciful God, accept our prayer and yearning. You are the only strength we have. No one can take the power of prayer away from us. In the name of Jesus – our Liberator and Redeemer – we pray.
Amen

Written by Munib A. Younan, the Lutheran Bishop in Jerusalem. Also used at the Triennial Clergy Conference of Guildford Diocese, May 2009.

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