Prayer Vigil and Service for Healing from Sexual Violence
Luther Place Memorial Church – Washington, DC
Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:30 pm
Enter in Silence
Singing of a centering prayer-“Come and Fill Our Hearts”-led by Jose
Welcome/framing of rules and layout-Led by PK
Goals to be read:
The purpose of addressing sexual violence in worship is:
- To raise awareness of sexual violence
- To be a voice for the presence of God in the midst of the crisis of sexual violence
- To wrestle with the most challenging spiritual questions that accompany the experience of sexual violence
- To open the church as a safe place for our Dinahs—those needing refuge, compassion, and healing from the experience of sexual violence
*Taken from the Dinah Project
*Highlighting of resources
“Litany to Honor Women”: (led by Bianca)
*The italicized text will be said by All
We walk in the company of the women who have gone before, mothers of the faith both named and unnamed,
testifying with ferocity and faith to the Spirit of wisdom and healing. They are the judges, the prophets, the martyrs, the warriors, poets, lovers and saints who are near to us in the shadow of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams.
We walk in the company of Deborah,
who judged the Israelites with authority and strength.
We walk in the company of Esther,
who used her position as queen to ensure the welfare of her people.
We walk in the company of you whose names have been lost and silenced,
who kept and cradled the wisdom of the ages.
We walk in the company of the woman with the flow of blood,
who audaciously sought her healing and release.
We walk in the company of Mary Magdalene,
who wept at the empty tomb until the risen Christ appeared.
We walk in the company of Phoebe,
who led an early church in the empire of Rome.
We walk in the company of Perpetua of Carthage,
whose witness in the third century led to her martyrdom.
We walk in the company of St. Christina the Astonishing,
who resisted death with persistence and wonder.
We walk in the company of Julian of Norwich,
who wed imagination and theology, proclaiming, “All shall be well.”
We walk in the company of Sojourner Truth,
who stood against oppression, righteously declaring in 1852, “Ain’t I a woman!”
We walk in the company of the Argentine mothers of the Plaza de Mayo,
who turned their grief to strength, standing together to remember “the disappeared” children of war with a holy indignation.
We walk in the company of Alice Walker,
who named the lavender hue of womanish strength.
We walk in the company of Tamar,
Who found within her the courage to say no to sexual violence and declare rape wrong, and who in her own grieving allows us to respond with lament.
We walk in the company of the men in our communities,
have been shamed into silence and for whom empathy has been withheld. They convict us of our blind spots and compel us to create space for a larger narrative of violence and mourning.
We walk in the company of the women of Liberia,
who personified and answered a holy call to stand up to violence and whose fight for liberation freed a country and its people from war.
We walk in the company of the voices of men and women around the world,
Who are banding together as one rising of community organizers who are determined to see an end to sexual violence.
We walk in the company of you mothers of the faith,
who teach us to resist evil with boldness, to lead with wisdom, and to heal.
Psalm 88: read by Jackson
Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape.
My eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you.
Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction?
Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
From my youth I have suffered and been close to death; I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—darkness is my closest friend.
Genesis 34 (Rape of Dinah) Read by Kristen or Bianca
34 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”
5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.
6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.
8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, tradein it, and acquire property in it.”
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”
13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”
18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. 21 “These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.”
24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.
25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”
31 But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”
All: We walk in the company of Dinah,
Kristen: whose ancestral voice calls out to us to lift up the voices of women who have been violated and whose stories have been dismissed. Whose very presence within our tradition challenges us to listen with renewed commitment to the survivors in our midst.
Spoken Word-Original Piece Performed by Nicole Newman
L) Creator God,
A) Who through the person of Jesus knows what it is to be fully human, we lament that we fail to honor and love our bodies. We lament that within each of us is the capacity to do evil and to degrade the value of life. We confess that we have failed to declare violence wrong and to practice care for our human family and for ourselves. We confess that we too often overlook and minimize the evil we see, and that we have failed to show compassion to those who suffer. We have failed to hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who experience sexual violence, and we have rendered them silent. We admit that we have participated in a culture that puts the pressure on victims to validate their experiences, and who puts the burden on victims not to be victimized. We lament that we have at times in our assumptions and limited knowledge caused further injury and silencing, and that we have failed to create space for the voices of survivors to be heard and supported. We have failed to grant permission for victims to grieve publicly, and we have not supported their efforts to heal. We have failed to teach each other to celebrate the gift of sexuality, and we have failed to defend the right to safety and mutuality and joy in sex. We have stifled human wholeness and do not know the heart of you, God, who mourns for human suffering and declares sexual violence wrong. Open our ears and eyes and break our hearts Lord, so that we might respond now as your Beloved Community.
Words of Forgiveness offered by Pastor Karen
Magnificat: Luke 1:46-55-sung
*Taken from Holden Vespers with acoustic or piano accompaniment (Jose?)
Gospel: Matthew 11: 28-30 read by Jackson
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
L) The Gospel of the Lord
A) Praise to you oh Christ
Spoken Prayers-Bidding style
To the God who brings wholeness and grace, we pray to enter your healing presence:
To the God of incarnation who took on human flesh, we lift prayers for our bodies:
To the God who works for justice and greets us in compassion, we lift prayers of holy rage:
To the God of courage and the still voice, we lift prayers of hope:
To the God who works through surprise and turns this world on its head, we lift prayers of gratitude:
To the God of Resurrection and ascension, we pray to feel your peace ahead of us:
*Open Floor after each theme
L: In the extraordinary that is you
A: I breathe
Song-Solo Performed by Ashley Carter “Here” by Kari Jobe
*Explanation of/Introduction to anointing by PK
Communal Song: “O breathe on me, O breath of God” VS. 1-2 led by Jose
Have oil and individuals to pray with people as they come forward
*Solo by Ashley: “Angel by Your Side”
*2 anointing/prayer stations set up
Communal Song: “O breathe on me, O breath of God” VS. 3-4 led by Jose
Closing Prayer with candle sequence (introduced by Amanda)
We offer to God the names and the stories of those we carry in our hearts who have experienced sexual violence. We lay our candles at the altar.
Sharing of the Peace (invitation extended by Pastor Karen)
Exit in sung centering prayer-“Come and Fill Our Hearts” began by Jose
Church webpage: www.lutherplace.org