Tour Reflection – A Litany

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by Emerging Voices Initiative

During our workshop tour last fall and winter, one of the most meaningful parts of each event was reading a litany with everyone gathered. We developed this litany from a collection of hopes and laments that were written on paper leaves and pinned to a tree by attendees at Assembly 2016 last summer. When we shared this litany on tour, we encouraged participants to imagine the ‘we’ as not only those gathered in this room, but as people from across Mennonite Church Canada – we may have different concerns, but we all share a love for the church.

EVI members Tim Wenger and Esther Derksen add leaves to the tree at Assembly 2016.

The litany will help us focus the still-coming reflection posts based on the themes of our summary. The full text follows (bolded parts read by all):

Creator God,
In this place, we gather as your people.
We gather, in the presence of friends
Seeking to be the church together
We gather, aware of our divisions
recognizing that history and hurt still dis-member us.
We gather, aware of those who are absent
And remembering those who have come before us.

In this place, we carry our fears…
Our fear of difference
Our fear of Isolation
Our fear that silences our courage
Our fear of losing our love for each other
Our fear of the future
Together, we cry,
Lord, in your mercy, calm our fears.

In this place, we name our losses…
The loss of a broad national identity
The loss of a communal voice
The loss of congregations
The loss of trust in our leaders
Together, we cry,
Lord, in your mercy, hold our losses.

In this place, we acknowledge those who are hurting…
Those who feel excluded
Because of…
race or sexual orientation
family history or past experiences
belief or perspective.
Those who feel silenced (pause)
Together, we cry,
Lord, in your mercy, heal our wounds.

In this place, we affirm our faith that
God is moving, and is greater than our fears
Jesus is at the center of our church
The Holy Spirit is leading us
Together, we pray,
Lord, in your mercy, guide our path.

In this place, we long for a spirit of welcome
For a church that is
A home to the outcast
A place for the outnumbered
Joy for the oppressed
Love for the hated
Gentleness to the oppressor
And peace for the broken
Together, we pray,
Lord, in your mercy, encourage our hospitality.

In this place, we hope for a unified church
Where intergenerational bonds are strong
Where shared underlying values are recognized
Where friendships are formed amongst differences
Where young voices remind us that the church is a gift
Together, we pray,
Lord, in your mercy, gather your church

In this place, we join our voices. Together, we pray,
O God, who longs for reconciliation with us and among us,
We long for a re-membering,
A reformation of broken bodies,
Shattered relationships,
And scattered communities.
Enfold us in your embrace,
That we may return to the kind of wholeness we need.

O God, giver of joy,
We thank you for stories,
For voices joined in song,
For friends, family, and strangers
And for this community gathered here.
Enfold us in your embrace,
That we may always turn to You in gratitude.
Through your grace we pray, Amen.

This litany is free to use and modify with attribution to Emerging Voices Initiative, 2017.

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Tour Reflection – A Litany