Violence against women: Violation of Communication rights
Call to worship
For once, let us break free and communicate. Let us shed the inhuman baggage that has prevented us from being one with God and doing God’s will. Many have suffered hopelessness for the simple reason of being different. But aren’t we all different in our own ways? Should we be in conflict just because we are diverse or should we come together under the great umbrella of hope? Come; let us congregate together, to share in this great hope of God. We don’t need to understand it completely, but we need to allow it to express itself in our diverse world.
God of hope, if we speak, let it be for the fullness of life. If we be silent, let it lead to the benefit of our sisters and brothers. If we walk a mile, let it transform the place we live in. If we sit, let it be a sign against injustice. When we think, let hope transpire. As we write, let words express our desire to engage. In listening, let us try to understand, in touching let us feel the pain and while seeing let us not look away. Our God, our only hope. Amen.
Hymn: Great is thy faithfulness
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Prayer of confession (All together)
God of goodness, we have not heeded to your call of helping our neighbour and forgiving those who have wronged us. Instead we have instigated hate and revenge. God of compassion, we have ruined life on earth as you have envisaged it, and have sown enmity between different communities, seeking to make one fight against the other. God of mercy, we have turned into demonic beings hunting for opportunities to destroy relationships of love, meaning and sacrifice. You have taught us many things through others. The love and strength of different communities has crushed our ill-meaning plans of aggression. We come to you totally humbled and enriched by the love that you have expressed through others. Have mercy on us and forgive us. Amen.
God brings us together even in our diversity. Our expressions may vary but God remains the same, a beacon of hope in our hopelessness. When we go astray, God brings us closer to one another again. God’s unending grace is for all who choose to dream and hope, despite the challenges we face. May God forgive our aberrations and help us to accept, declare and proclaim hope to all. Amen.
Affirmation of faith (All together)
We affirm that the creator God created us to live in peace and harmony and to be in dialogue with all. Differences are normal and dialogue is the only way to understand and accept what others are experiencing. Our mandate is to be in constant dialogue and we affirm that the absence of this creates tension and trouble and stands far from what God hopes for.
We affirm that the crucified Lord sought to speak even when remaining silent. Christ’s death on the cross was a reaching out to all who spoke the language of violence and hatred. By preaching Christ we have to also reach out to all within and outside. Our quest for dialogue should be inspired by the cross.
We affirm that the Holy Spirit moves people towards understanding and coming together. In the midst of diversity we understand that the Holy Spirit will move us to stand firm in our commitment to offer hope to the hopeless. Our faith in God transcends all tangible and intangible barriers of discontent from within.
We affirm that there cannot be hope without social justice and that the poor and marginalized have to experience hope first. Hope cannot be for a few but should be for all to feel and experience amidst the diverse contexts of injustice in our world. Hope for a few is no hope at all. Women and men together have to experience hope in its entirety.
We affirm that the communicator God inspires us to be prophetic voices of hope in society. Through strong voices we should accept our call to bring hope and change in our living contexts. The hope of resurrection was visually seen and understood by women who lived in unshakeable hope. They then passed it on to the men who had almost lost it. Amen.
God of love, we pray for communities who have been denied the essence and the means to hope. We pray for those who have been marginalized from the main stream of life and whose existence itself is a day to day struggle. We ask your help for dalits, adivasis, tribals and indigenous people all over the world who are fighting for their land, rights and needs. As they lose hope in the system which is supposed to protect them, we plead you to intervene and restore the hope which is rightfully theirs. We pray that men will change patriarchal expressions of manhood and explore and live the feminineness in them which is as much a gift of God. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of equality and respectfulness, we pray for the equality of women in this world. We pray that women may never be turned away and kept inside their homes because of their gender. May women of all castes, classes and religions in this country and world get the justice they yearn for. We pray for those who have experienced and continue to experience violence. We pray especially for the migrants from Syria and other war torn countries who are crossing over to several countries in Europe. The long and arduous journey across dangerous seas and roads always affect children and women most. We pray for your guidance to stop war and violence and find nonviolent solutions. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of nurture and care, we pray for our children. May they receive their right to full access to education, and may they never be forced out of their innocence at an age which is decided by someone else. Give us the insight and the will to keep and not destroy what they should see and experience. May their new thinking and ideas instill a new found hope in us. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of unity, we pray for our world which is diverse and rich in its culture, religion and thought. We pray for those who suffer for believing in their way of life. Let no woman, man or child be discriminated and crucified for choosing their belief or their orientation and how they want to live life in its fullness. May we see hope in ourselves and share this hope with our neighbouring countries and the people of Asia and the world. May women be accepted as they are, not being forced to maintain the status quo of patriarchy but being free to express themselves fully as women, being and living who they are. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of knowledge, we pray for the diverse group which has come together for the seminar on the violence against women, a violation of communication rights. Thank you for the deliberations and learning of yesterday. We look forward to another fruitful day of discussions and understanding. May we unlearn the wrongs that we have been committing and relearn and newly learn the life we should live. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
The prayer of hope based on the Lord’s prayer. (All together)
Our hope on earth and heaven, glory to your name. May your true message be proclaimed and followed, in diverse contexts and cultures. Give us the means and opportunities of coming together by way of living communities of faith. Forgive our acts against hope, truth and equality as we forgive those who act against such situations. Lead us not into exclusive and discriminating cultures but make us more inclusive and accepting. For yours are our lives, our existence and our work forever and ever. Amen.
Information and communication are drastically changing the world we live in. Instead of establishing commonness and solidarity, public communication now tends to reinforce divisions, widen the gap between the rich and the poor, consolidate oppression, and distort reality in order to maintain systems of domination and subject the silenced masses to media manipulation. As we end this worship and gain strength from God, let us take sides with those who have been left out of the main stream. Communication is God’s gift to humanity. Let us understand it in its true sense and be a part of God’s plan for this world. Amen.
May God inspire us to come together in the midst of diverse thoughts and cultures. May Jesus Christ empower us in the midst of confusion and uncertainty. May the Holy Spirit guide us in our efforts to understand and spread justice, peace and hope. The blessings of the triune God be with you all now and forever. Amen.