Europe Regional Prayer UN International Day Against Racism March 21, 2022

CEC is joining the World Council of Churches in sharing the regional prayer from Europe leading up to UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March.

Joining Mary and Zechariah – A Prayer based on Lk 1:46-79)

Call to Prayer

With Mary and Zechariah we sing:

“Let us lift up our hearts and magnify our Lord,

let our spirits rejoice in God our saviour,

who brings down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifts up the lowly,

who gives light to those who sit in darkness,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Opening Prayer

Just and merciful Creator and Redeemer, God of Mary and Zechariah,

Lift up our hearts, God, into your presence,

so that we may know all people on earth as you created them, your beloved people.

Help our spirits rejoice, God,

in knowing that in Christ you have set us free from the bondage of the sin of racism.

Give light into our darkness, God,

so that we may see where we have turned away from you and one another.

Guide our feet, God, into the path of peace,

That we may turn away from our evil ways and walk with you in the path of justice and peace. AMEN

Interlude “Walk with Us” (Alexis French)

Scripture Reading: Luke 1: 46 – 79

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 

58 Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 

60 But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 

61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 

62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 

63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 

64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 

65 Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 

66 All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a mighty saviour for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71     that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
    and has remembered his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
    to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness
    before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Song “Magnificat Anima Mea Dominum” (Taizé) [3:15 min]

Prayers of Intercession & Thanksgiving  

God of love and justice, with stubborn hope and joy we cling to your promise, and turn to you with our prayer of intercession and thanksgiving:

We pray for a world where the borders tumble down resulting in the safe arrival of refugees who are bringing Magnificat as they brave the Mediterranean and English Channel. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

We pray for a world which lifts up the lowly as we remember the children of minority ethnic communities living with stigma and racism navigating institutions who judge them. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

We pray for a world in which patriarchal power is silenced so that men may discover with Zechariah their commitment to peace and tenderness breaking down the bullying culture and racist-driven violence. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

We pray for a world transformed by the witness of women who embody how Black lives matter and who, like Mary, nurtures songs, and signs of transformation

in their institutions, communities and families. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

We pray for the church that she might be challenged to recognise Mary’s Magnificat

in the yearning for life and liberation of so many who feel despised or patronised. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

And so we give thanks and rejoice that God’s Spirit continues to rise beyond us upheaving the world, overturning thrones, trespassing borders and disturbing the balances of power in favour of ‘the least‘ who are most like Christ. God of justice and peace…

Hear our prayer.

Let us pray with confidence as Jesus Christ has taught us: “Our Father, ….

Apostolic Benediction

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who came to set us free from all sins of dividedness and domination,

And the love of God

          Who created us to be with God and one another

And the communion of the Holy Spirit,

          Who joins us together in truth, peace, and justice,

Be with us all, now, and forever. AMEN

Musical Postlude: Shalom Alechem (Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra Live)

WCC will share regional prayers in lead-up to UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination