The Church: A Peacemaker

Fifth worship service in a collection of building blocks for a series of worship services based on key themes from the Belhar Confession


Love One Another by Laura James (www.laurajamesart.com)

Belhar Confession Worship Service #5

The faithful church will be a peacemaker in this world of broken relationships, showing that the new obedience in Christ works reconciliation.

Belhar References: (excerpts from section 3)

We believe…that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ, that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker, that the church is witness both by word and by deed to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Cor. 5:17-21; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 5:9; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21-22);
that God’s lifegiving Word and Spirit has conquered the powers of sin and death, and therefore also of irreconciliation and hatred, bitterness and enmity, that God’s lifegiving Word and Spirit will enable the church  to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life for society and the world (Eph. 4:17-6:23, Rom. 6; Col. 1:9-14; Col. 2:13-19; Col. 3:1-4:6); that the credibility of this message is seriously affected and its beneficial work obstructed when it is proclaimed in a land which professes to be Christian, but in which the enforced separation of people on a racial basis promotes and perpetuates alienation, hatred and enmity; that any teaching which attempts to legitimate such forced separation by appeal to the gospel, and is not prepared to venture on the road of obedience and reconciliation, but rather, out of prejudice, fear, selfishness and unbelief, denies in advance the reconciling power of the gospel, must be considered ideology and false doctrine.

Suggested Scriptures

Psalm 46
Psalm 72

Isaiah 2:1-5

Matthew 5:9

Romans 12:3-21

II Corinthians 5:17-21

References in Other Confessional Documents

Heidelberg Catechism LD 40,  Q/A105-107
                                     LD 48,  Q/A 123
                                     LD 49,  Q/A 124
Our Song of Hope
, V.11, 16
Our World Belongs to God
, 6, 11, 16, 17, 39, 41, 43, 52, 53, 54
Westminster Larger Catechism
, Q/A, 144, 145, 183, 184, 194
Westminster Shorter Catechism
, Q/A, 77, 78
Worship Statement of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
, 2.3, 2.5, 5.1, 5.5, 5.6

Possible Songs

All those notated with an asterisk will be found in “Lift Up Your Hearts” (LUYH), to be published in 2013 by Faith Alive Christian Resources.

*God Who Touches Earth with Beauty, LUYH
*In Labor All Creation Groans, SNC 270
     [paired with DETROIT]
*Koinonia, LUYH
*Make Me A Channel of Your Peace, PsH 545
     [paired with TEMPLE]
*Miren qué bueno/Oh, Look and Wonder, PFAS 133D
     [Psalm 133: paired with MIREN QUÉ BUENO]
*Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels, SNC 275
     [paired with REINLYN]
*O God of Love, Forever Blest, PFAS 120C
     [Psalm 120: paired with SHALOM 120]
*Salaam/Peace, GSW 45

Liturgy Resources

Prayers

God of every nation, your law is right, your rule is just,
and even in this fallen world your kingdom knows no boundaries.
May the compassion, patience, and forgiveness you show us in Jesus Christ our Savior
form the ministry of reconciliation we offer to all people in Jesus’ name. Amen. 
Taken from Psalms for All Seasons, © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources, Psalm 72, prayer, p.439

God of righteousness and peace,
     grant us your peace.
When warfare haunts our streets,
     grant us your peace.
When anxieties haunt our minds and hearts,
     grant us your peace.
For the people of (_____,_____) who face the fear and violence of conflict today:
     grant us your peace.
For all the people of Jerusalem and its surrounding lands,
Who live in the shadow of so many centuries of conflict,
     grant us your peace.
Turn our hearts toward the Prince of Peace, we pray,
     grant us your peace. Amen.
John D. Witvliet, 2011, © Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike


As we listen to the world’s concerns,
hear the cry of the oppressed,
and learn of new discoveries,
give us knowledge,
teach us to respond with maturity,
and give us courage to act with integrity.

As citizens, we acknowledge the Spirit’s work in human government
for the welfare of the people,
for justice among the poor,
for mercy toward the prisoner,
against inhuman oppression of humanity.
Help us to obey you above all rulers;
fill us with the patience of Christ
as we wait upon the Spirit.
We pray for the fruit of the Spirit of Christ
who works for peace on earth,
commands us to love our enemies,
and calls for patience among the nations.
We give thanks for your work among governments,
seeking to resolve disputes by means other than war,
placing human kindness above national pride,
replacing the curse of war with international self-control.

We hear the Spirit’s call to love one another,
opposing discrimination of race or sex,
inviting us to accept one another,
and to share at every level
in work and play, in church and state,
in marriage and family, and so to fulfill the love of Christ.
Enable us to accept that call and be agents of renewal in our work
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Taken from The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004 Faith Alive Christian Resources, 4.5.4—based on Our Song of Hope, st. 9-12


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis of Assissi, public domain

Affirmation

We believe that God has entrusted the church
with the message of reconciliation in and through the Jesus Christ;
that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world,
that the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker,
that the church is witness both by the word and by deed
to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells;

 that God’s lifegiving Word and Spirit
has conquered the powers of sin and death,
and therefore also of irreconciliation and hatred, bitterness and enmity,
that God’s lifegiving Word and Spirit will enable the church
to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life
for society and the world;

that the credibility of this message is seriously affected|
and its beneficial work obstructed
when it is proclaimed in a land which professes to be Christian,
but in which the enforced separation of people on a racial basis
promotes and perpetuates alienation, hatred and enmity;

that any teaching which attempts to legitimate such forced separation
by appeal to the gospel,
and is not prepared to venture on the road of obedience and reconciliation,
but rather, out of prejudice, fear, selfishness and unbelief,
denies in advance the reconciling power of the gospel,
must be considered ideology and false doctrine.

We believe in the triune God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
who gathers, protects and cares for the church through World and Spirit.
This, God has done since the beginning of the world
and will do it to the end.  Amen.

Belhar Confession, Article 1 and 3

Glossary

Confessions and Testimonies:

(Note: When we use the term “Other Confessional Documents” we are using the term “confessional” broadly to include those which have been formally adopted as a Confession of Faith by a denomination, but also those which more loosely are considered a Testimony or Declaration of Faith by a denomination.)

Belhar – the Belhar Confession
BC – The Belgic Confession of Faith
HC – The Heidelberg Catechism
OWBTG – A Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God
OSOH – Our Song of Hope
WC – Westminster Confession
WCRC – The Worship Statement of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
WLC – Westminster Larger Catechism
WSC – Westminster Shorter Catechism

Hymnals/Resources:

ELW – Evangelical Lutheran Worship
CSW – Contemporary Songs for Worship
GSW – Global Songs for Worship
LUYH – Lift Up Your Hearts
PFAS – Psalms For All Seasons
PsH – The Psalter Hymnal
SNC – Sing! A New Creation
SNT – Singing the New Testament
TWS – The Worship Sourcebook

General Hymns:

*Abana in Heaven, GSW 44
*All Are Welcome, LUYH
     [paired with TWO OAKS]
*Be Thou My Vision, LUYH
     [paired with SLANE]
*Canto de esperanza/Song of Hope, LUYH
     [paired with ARGENTINA]
*Faith Begins By Letting Go, SNC 172
     [paired with LUX PRIMA]
*God of Grace and God of Glory, LUYH
     [paired with CEM RHONDDA]
Let Streams of Living Justice, ELW 710
     [paired with THAXTED]
Lord, You Call Us
     [JOYOUS LIGHT Morningstar MSM-50-7800 SATB and Congregation]
*Perdón, Señor/Forgive Us, Lord, LUYH 2.2.1
     [paired with CONFESSION]
*Psalm 51, SNC 50
The Church of Christ, in Every Age
, ELW 729
     [paired with WAREHAM]
*The Church’s One Foundation, PsH 502
     [paired with AURELIA]
Belhar Hymn, David Alexander 
     [sung to O WALY WALY, Unity, Reconciliation and Justice: Apppendix C, p.87]

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