STICKS & STONES / FLESH & BLOOD

Liturgical images and movements that speak to experience

Acts of Thanksgiving


In the Liturgy of the Eucharist the Church’s thanksgiving is voiced in the priest’s Eucharistic Prayer and the various acclamations of the assembly.  In the absence of a priest who would normally preside over the people’s prayer, we are still obliged to give God our communal thanks and praise.  While hymns and canticles of praise may be used as Acts of Thanksgiving, official prayers for use in Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest may be found in:

Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, the Committee on the Liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (Washington DC:  United States Catholic Conference, 1993).

Sunday Celebration of the Word and Hours, ed. by the National Liturgy Office of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (Ottawa, Ont.:  CCCB Publications Service, 1995).

“Prepare the Way” in Sydney Condray, Assembled in Christ (Mystic CT:  Twenty-third Publications, 1994).

NOTE:  As all of these resources make reference to receiving the Blessed Sacrament in the context of a Communion Service, certain sections of the prayers may need to be adapted for a Liturgy of the Word Without Communion.

The following Acts of Thanksgiving were composed for Sunday worship at Dignity-Integrity/Rochester and serve as the people’s offering to God.  They draw upon numerous images from our spiritual heritage which resonate in particular ways with our lived experience of the God who, indeed, is worthy of our thanks and praise.

1. Justice Revealed in Christ
2. The Power of Love
3. Canticle of Judith
4. Canticle of Restoration
5. The Light of the World
6. Known In Our Midst
7. Whole and Holy
8. The Spirit’s Gifts
9. Blessed to be the Blessing
10. Out of Darkness

A note about acclamations:  It is important to include a verbal response for the people, affirming that this part of the rite is not the presider’s private prayer but the people’s act of thanksgiving.  The acclamations used here are from Psalm 103:1-2.  An ideal musical alternative would be the use of selected verses of “Psalm 136: Love Is Never Ending” (Marty Haugen © 1987, GIA Publications, Inc.)  An acclamation for the Lenten season would be Psalm 116:1-2 :

LEADER:  I love you, LORD, for you have heard…
         ALL:  My voice in supplication.

LEADER:  For you have turned an ear to me…
        
ALL:  Whenever I have called.

1. Justice Revealed in Christ
Based on Colossians 1: 12-20, 22-23, 26-27; by Michael J. Nicosia © 1998 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

With great joy we give you thanks, O God,
for you have enabled us
to share in the inheritance
of the saints in light.

You have transferred us
into the kingdom of your belovéd Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We praise you, the invisible God,
for revealing your glory in Jesus Christ,
the firstborn of all creation.

In Christ all things in heaven and on earth were created,
things visible and invisible,
–whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers–
all things have been created through him and for him.

Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together
[for it is in him that your justice is revealed].

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

We bless you, just and sovereign God,
for you have made Christ the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might have first place in everything.

 

 

 

For in him all the fullness of your Godhead was pleased to dwell,
and through him you were pleased to reconcile all things to yourself.
making peace through the blood of his cross.

We give you glory and honor, O God of our salvation,
for in his human body
Christ has now reconciled us to you through death,
in order to present us before you,
holy and blameless and irreproachable,
provided we stand secure and steadfast in the faith
[and resolute in the service of justice],
without shifting from the hope promised by
the gospel that we have heard.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

We rejoice, O God;
for Christ is the Good News
proclaimed to every creature under heaven.

He is the mystery hidden throughout the ages and generations past
but now revealed to us, the saints.

He is the hope of glory, living among us
and announced to every people.

Through him the harvest of justice ripens in us,
to your glory and praise, O God, for ever and ever.

      ALL:  Amen.

That Christ’s actions on behalf of justice may be revealed in our lives,
let us pray as Jesus taught us, saying:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

2. The Power of Love
From Clement I’s Letter to the Corinthians; by Michael J. Nicosia © 1998 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.  Adapted from the ICEL trans. in the Office of Readings in Christian Prayer:  The Liturgy of the Hours (National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1976). 

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Good and gracious God, who can express the binding power of your love? 
Who can find words for the splendor of its beauty? 
Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. 

Love unites us to you; “it cancels innumerable sins,”
has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. 
Love is neither servile nor arrogant. 
It does not provoke schisms or form cliques,
but always acts in harmony with others. 
By it, all your chosen ones have been sanctified;
without it, it is impossible to please you.

Out of love you sent your belovéd Word made flesh,
who out of love took us to himself;
because he loved us and it was your will,
our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life’s blood for us
­–he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

We acknowledge what a great and wonderful thing love is,
and how inexpressible its perfection.
Who is worthy to possess it
unless you, loving God, make them so? 

To you, therefore, we must turn, begging of your mercy
that there may be found in us
a love free from human partiality and beyond reproach. 

Every generation from Adam and Eve’s time to ours has passed away;
but those, who by your grace were made perfect in love,
have a dwelling now among the saints,
and when at last the reign of Christ appears,
they will be revealed. 

Through our sacred texts you have told us
to “take shelter in [the desert of] our rooms for a little while,
until your wrath subsides.
Then will you remember the good days,
and will raise us from our graves.”

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Happy are we, O God,
if love enables us to live in harmony
and in the observance of your commandments,
for then it will also gain for us the remission of our sins. 

Scripture pronounces
“happy those whose transgressions are pardoned,
whose sins are forgiven. 
Happy the one,” it says,
“to whom [you] impute no fault, on whose lips there is no guile.”

This is the blessing given those whom you, O God, have chosen
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  To you be glory for ever and ever.

      ALL:  Amen.

Joined as one in the love of God, we pray as Jesus taught us, saying:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

3. Canticle of Judith
Based on Judith 16:13-16 (NAB); by Michael J. Nicosia © 1998 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

O Lord, great are you and glorious,
wonderful in power and unsurpassable.

Let every creature serve you;
for you spoke, and they were made,
you sent forth your spirit, and they were created;
no one can resist your word.

The mountains to their bases,
and the seas, are shaken;
the rocks, like wax, melt before your glance.
But to those who fear you,
you are very merciful.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Though the sweet odor of every sacrifice is a trifle,
and the fat of all holocausts but little in your sight,
it is our awe of you, great and glorious God,
that makes us forever great,
and it is only through your inspiration
that we can offer you thanks and praise,
Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

      ALL:  Amen.

Our participation in God’s glorious reign
begins with the prayer that Jesus taught us:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

4. Canticle of Restoration
Based on Tobit 13:1-8 (NAB); by Michael J. Nicosia © 1998 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Blesséd are you, eternal God,
for your reign endures throughout the ages and beyond.

You scourge and then have mercy;
you cast down to the depths of the netherworld,
and bring up from the great abyss.
No one can escape your hand.

Your people Israel praised you before the Gentiles,
for, though you scattered them to the margins,
you showed them your greatness even there.

We exalt you before every living being,
because you are the God of our liberation,
our Parent and God forever.

You have scourged your people for their iniquities,
but will again have mercy on us all.
You will gather us from the margins,
from the places to which we have been scattered.

When we turn back to you with all our heart,
to do what is right and just before you,
then you will turn back to us,
and no longer hide your face.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

So now, as we consider what you have done for us,
we praise you with full voice.

Blesséd are you, God of righteousness, God of justice;
exalted are you, O Ruler of the ages!

In the land of our exile we praise you,
and show your power and majesty to a sinful nation;
we challenge sinners to turn back,
to do justice before you.

Perhaps you will again look with favor upon them
and show your mercy.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

As for us, we exalt you, O God,
and our spirits rejoice in you and in your justice.

Let all men and women speak of your majesty,
and sing praise in your holy city.

Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,
a
s it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

      ALL:  Amen.

Our participation in God’s glorious reign
begins with the prayer that Jesus taught us:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

5. The Light of the World
Based on Gn 1:3; Ex 13:21, 19:18; Ps 27:1, 119:10; Is 49:6, 58:8, 60:19; Mt 5:14; Eph 5:8; 2 Cor 4:6-7; 1 Jn 1:7; by Michael J. Nicosia © 1998 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

We give you thanks, Father of lights,
for from the beginning of time you have illumined the cosmos.

We give you thanks, Mother of life,
for it was your gift of light that warmed the earth
and encouraged life in all its diversity.

We give you thanks, God of splendor and might,
for you called us out of the void, into your marvelous light.

By your light you guided your people through the desert’s night
and your word became a lamp unto their feet.

Shining before them to show the way
was no ethereal hope, no far off dream;
for in their daily lives you gave substance to the Psalmist’s song:

LEADER:  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
        
ALL:  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

You called them forth to be a light to the nations,
that your salvation would reach to the ends of the earth.
We too are called to reveal your glory and your power to save.

Our light shall break forth like the dawn
and our brokenness shall be quickly healed.

Our vindication shall go before us,
and your radiance shall be our rear guard.

No more shall the sun be our light by day,
nor the brightness of the moon illumine our night;
but you shall be unto us an everlasting light––you, O God, our splendor.

You who said, “Let there be light,” have shone in our hearts
to bring to light the knowledge of your glory
revealed in the face of your Son.

If we walk in the light, as He is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of the Lamb cleanses us from all sin.

LEADER:  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
        
ALL:  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The treasure burns in earthen lamps
that the power revealed may testify of your glory
and not be a cause for foolish pride.

Shine through us to reveal your power in the midst of our powerlessness.

Shine through us until that blesséd day when the whole of creation
will be drawn into your radiant presence and share in the glory that is yours,
Source of all Being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.

      ALL:  Amen.

As children of the light, we pray as Jesus taught us: 

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

6. Known in Our Midst
by Michael J. Nicosia © 1999 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Good and gracious God,
we acknowledge you as present in our midst, and we give you glory.
Through deeds of power, wonders and signs you have made yourself know.

Through water and wind and flame and oil,
you sustain and inspire and cleanse and renew. 

Through created things you call us into being
and draw us into a conscious relationship with you.

Out of our past signs emerge that tell us you are near:

­–the ascension of incense, sign of an offering found pleasing in your sight;

–the appearance of rainbows, reminders of your covenant and care.

–a lamb’s blood smeared on our doors,
  assurances of your favor and protection;

–pillars of fire and tablets of stone,
  leading us on a path of right relationship and peace;

–the covenant ark and sacred mount,
  footstools of your holiness, places of mercy and justice and glory revealed.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

In life’s cycles of dying and rising we see your work:

–the death of a seed that leads to life more abundant;
  a handful of grain, crushed to become one in the baking;

–a single loaf, broken, consumed, that we might be one in the sharing;

–a community of stories, pondered and retold
  that we might be one in the remembering;

–a Lamb’s blood smeared on a cross,
  a single life broken in selfless love that we might be one through his offering;

–and ourselves, too, broken and shared
  that all might be one in the loving and living and serving and giving.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

In our humanness we need embodied signs.
Like two lovers who can’t express the depth of their love without touch;
so we yearn to receive your Son’s most precious body and blood,
that we might become one with you in a physical, tangible way.

Yet, so boundless and merciful is your love for us
that you give us a world of ways to feel your presence in our midst.

Satisfy the longing of our hearts as we travel life’s road,
and bring us again to the joy of your intimate embrace,
both now and at that heavenly feast
at which all shall be welcomed
and all shall be truly one with you,,
Source of all Being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.   

      ALL:  Amen.

God is near and aware of our needs;  let us then pray as Jesus taught us:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

7. Whole and Holy
Based on Acts 10:9-16; 1 Thes 5:23; by Michael J. Nicosia © 1999 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

We give you thanks, O God,
for since the dawn of creation you have sent your Spirit,
showering her gifts upon the full spectrum of humanity,
uniting them with understanding,
to hear a message of justice and peace. 

Through her inspiration the young saw visions,
the old dreamed dreams, and your truth was revealed.

You challenged Peter with a vision: 
a sheet lowered from the heavens,
filled with animals that Jewish Law had labeled profane.
Your voice told him, “kill and eat,” 
but Peter objected: “No L
ORD
,
far be it from me to eat anything that is unclean!” 

Your response to him touches deep into our souls: 
“Who are you to call anything that I have made, ‘unclean?’” 

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

The vision spoke of the dignity of every human person,
and led to a more inclusive church in Peter’s day. 

We cling to this same vision,
for it acknowledges us as your beloved creations.

It is no illusion, but your Spirit moving in our midst,
testifying that the whole of our being,
including our sexuality, was created good,
in your divine and hallowed image.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

You, O God, have created us whole and holy,
and continue to mold us into a people
empowered to offer you love and thanks and service and praise.

Sanctify us completely,
and preserve the whole of our being
––spirit, soul, and body––

blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever.

      ALL:  Amen.

We are born of God; let us then pray as Jesus taught us:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

8. The Spirit’s Gifts
Based on Gn 1:1-2; Is 11:2-3; by Michael J. Nicosia © 2002 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester.

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Good and gracious God, in the beginning
your Spirit stirred within the formless void
and a world of relationships and possibilities came into being.

This same Spirit stirred within your creatures
when the breath of your love filled our lungs and animated our souls.

From those humble beginnings your empowerment has persisted.
Showering your grace upon us you sustain our life and,
through your gifts, enable our fellowship with you–– 

With Wisdom you grace us,
allowing us to perceive your will resonating within our minds and hearts.

With Understanding you bless us,
showing us a glimpse of your truth as it unfolds around us.

With Right Judgment you ready us, helping us to apply your priorities
to the circumstances of our every-day lives.

With Fortitude you empower us,
giving us the courage to challenge all that lies in opposition to your love,
and the strength to endure the persecution that comes
to any who dare to challenge ignorance, hatred, or fear.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

With Knowledge you endow us,
giving us ever-deepening insights into your fullness and our own wholeness.

With Piety you favor us,
bringing us to an awareness that reverence toward your goodness
and reverence toward your goodness reflected in the works of your creation
are one and the same devotion.

With the Fear of the LORD you anoint us, filling us with wonder and awe;
aware of your continual presence we are challenged
to walk uprightly before you always.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

To your Son all these gifts belong in their fullness,
for while he walked this earth your Spirit rested upon him,
anointing him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge
and the fear of the L
ORD
.
And his delight was the fear of the L
ORD.

With awe and reverence he beheld your reflection in us,
to the point where his only desire was to be
an instrument of your mercy and love.

Through his life, death, resurrection and ascension into glory
he released his Spirit into the world with a specific mission:
to enable those who believe in him to continue
in the works of justice and love
––that we, too, might fulfill the desire of your heart.

Fill us afresh with that same Spirit,
that our fellowship may be more inclusive, our ministry more effective,
our love more transforming, and our desires more in tune with your will.

This is the gift you have given us through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

      ALL:  Amen

Jesus gave us words that would direct our hearts to God and
his Spirit to unite our voices into a harmonious song of praise. 

Let us gather now, empowered to pray:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

9. Blessed to be the Blessing
By Michael J. Nicosia © 2008, St. John's Home; revised 2009 for Dignity-Integrity/Rochester. 

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

We come before you, Lord God Almighty,
to offer you the humble service of our thanks and praise.
As your holy, priestly people we are indeed blessed,
anointed by your grace overflowing,
which spills out as a healing balm over our wounded world. 

Indeed, every creature under heaven, and the earth itself,
is blessed by the compassion and care
you channel through our ministry of service.
By your grace we are empowered to advocate and intercede;
sent forth to love in word and deed—
Blessed to be the blessing.

We take up your charge both night and day:
bringing  back those sheep who've lost their way,
tending to the sick and sore' oppressed,
helping them to see that they are blessed—
Blessed to be the blessing.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
         ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

To you, O Lord, we lift up a sacrifice of praise,
and offerings of service raise,
joined to the selfless gift of your Son
who did all that love commanded—
even voicing his challenge to a corrupt generation
knowing that to do so would mean his death.

You honored his sacrifice,
raised him from the grave,
raised him on high to be the perfect channel of your grace,
and for him raised up a nation of priests
to continue his mission in the world.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

LEADER:  Bless the LORD, O my soul. . .
        
ALL:  And forget not all God’s benefits.

Nourish us with the bread of sacrifice—
his word and example raised up for us,
his body offered up for us,
his spirit and his compassion living on
in and through this body of believers, your holy church
—that we may continue to be blessed to be the blessing.

All to your honor and glory, O Lord,
both now and forever. 

      ALL:  Amen.

That our service may fulfill our Master's will,
we  pray in the words that Jesus taught us:

      ALL:  Our Father…

 

X 

10. Out of Darkness
For Advent, based on Isaiah 11-12; by Michael J. Nicosia © 2009, Dignity-Integrity/Rochester. 

LEADER:  Let us, then, give thanks and praise to God.

LEADER:  The night is gone, the day is near. . .
         ALL:  The LORD, our God, is in our midst.

LEADER:  Who shattered the darkness, dispelling our fear. . .
         ALL:  The LORD, our God, is in our midst.

The spirit of the Lord rests upon us,
come into our midst to judge with righteousness,
come into our midst to speak on behalf of the poor,
come into our midst to stand with the meek of the earth.

In the dark shadows of the night
we crouched with fear,
awaiting the safety of the sun-lit day.

Yet, with God in our midst all is made well:
the wolf dwells with the lamb, and the leopard beds down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion and the fatling together.
Even the poisons we inject into our relationships
and acts of violence to which we resort for preservation’s sake
—on them we no longer need rely.

For we have been led by a little Child
and have come to know that all have a share in his promise,
and on God’s holy mountain all shall find a place of welcome.

LEADER:  The night is gone, the day is near. . .
         ALL:  The LORD, our God, is in our midst.

LEADER:  Who shattered the darkness, dispelling our fear. . .
         ALL:  The LORD, our God, is in our midst.

O Lord, we praise you,
for you are our Comforter, delivering us from all anxiety.
We trust, and are no longer afraid,
for you are our strength and our song
and have become our salvation.

O Lord, we praise you,
and declare your saving deeds among the people,
exalting your holy name.
Singing of our trust, our voices can be heard
even from the deepest recesses of the night.
Even when our enemies are encamped about us,
we sing, unafraid;
for great is the Holy One of Israel who is here in our midst.

LEADER:  The night is gone, the day is near. . .
         ALL:  The LORD, our God, is in our midst.

LEADER:  Who shattered the darkness, dispelling our fear. . .
         ALL:  The LORD, our God, is in our midst.

In our midst you raised up an heir to David’s throne,
the Child of Humanity who stands as a rallying point for all people;
all seek him out, for the rest he offers is glorious.

In his reign, all those who were cast to the margins will return
on a highway made smooth, a path unencumbered,
as broad as our ancestors’ path through the sea.

As they crossed over into your promise,
so we shall enter the land of justice,
a place of freedom and belonging.

For this we wait longingly,
for this we work earnestly,
and all the while filled with the peace and joy that you alone can give,
through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.   
ALL:  Amen.

In the light of this hope, let us pray in the words that Jesus taught us:

      ALL:  Our Father…