IDEAS TO ADAPT YOUR SERVICE THIS SUNDAY TO PARTICIPATE IN PEACE DAY
Peace Day – September 21– is recognized as the International Day of Peace and the International Day of Prayer for Peace. In the week surrounding September 21, hundreds of thousands of people around the world lift their hearts in prayer and their bodies in activities promoting peace.
While it may seem like a minor thing to pray for peace one day a year, Peace Day presents a small opening to God’s subversive dreams of peace and wholeness. God can enter through this small crack that we provide. This one day can be an opportunity for Christian communities (in union with all faiths) to yearn to become strong partisans of peace and advocates of reconciliation. The Christian tradition often implicitly or explicitly blesses war and violence, and often falls short of interrupting the hardening of the heart that leads to divisiveness and hurt. Peace Day can be an entry point and a starting place for any faith community to move away from violence and towards just peace.
For those interested in adapting your service this Sunday to open the way to God’s dream of peace – here are some ideas!
- During the regular prayer time in your service, pray specifically for a ceasefire in your homes, your community, your nation, and around the world.
- Consider using one of the prayer resources on the Peace Day “Praying for Ceasefire” Resources page: http://prayingforceasefire.tumblr.com/resources
- Incorporate a medley of scripture verses about peace (for examples, see here)
- Pass the Peace of Christ. Invite everyone to stand up and move around, greeting each other and saying, “Peace be with you/Christ be with you.” “And also with you.”
- Ask your youth group to brainstorm areas of violence they see or experience. During the service, have them stand around the congregation and speak about the areas of violence they see in your community and our world. Ask the congregation to stand together in a time of silent or spoken prayer for ceasefire.
- Light a peace candle to represent Christ’s light of peace entering the world.
- Sing a special peace hymn – Finlandia is one classic option.
- Write a letter from your congregation to the local newspaper about God’s message of peace and reconciliation, and how it applies to specific issues your community is facing; then send it to be printed in this Sunday’s paper.
- Have the children in your nursery or Sunday school make posters or prayer flags about what peace means to them. Display these during the service and have them share their ideas about peace.
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