Service of Lament for Reproductive Justice and Affirmation of Body Autonomy
This service may be used in its entirety as a regular service or template for a prayer vigil. In addition, individual elements may be used in Sunday morning worship.
Call to Worship
One: God our Creator, we gather in disbelief.
Many: You have created us in your image and given us agency over our own bodies.
One: God our Comforter, we gather in sorrow.
Many: You call us to love our neighbor but so often we are met by attempts to control, marginalize, and oppress.
One: God our Advocate, we gather in resolve.
Many: You call us into the work of realizing your kindom and empower us as your body in the world.
One: God our Liberator, we gather in hope.
Many: You have made us resurrection people, and we press on, we persist, we endure.
Giver of Choice, we know that that you have shaped us to be free and promise us life abundantly. Even as you, Holy Restorer, faced your passion, you chose the way of the cross. It was not forced upon you. We are grateful that you who are Sovereign recognize our ability to make decisions and direct our lives with your guidance and support. We know you as liberator who sets your children free from the bonds this world places upon us. Revive us again for the work we thought had been resolved. Be glorified in the name of the One who was and is and is to come. Amen.
Welcome and Introduction
Word and Response
This service uses Psalm 27, but another scripture or set of scripture passages may be used. You may also use The Living Psalms or another reading. The passage is divided into sections. After each passage, invite the gathered to reflect and respond. It is important to be sensitive to the composition of your group. You may pre-determine who will speak or you may leave that open. Silence is an appropriate response. Acknowledge each person who shares as their testimony.
Psalm 27 NRSV
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in God’s temple.
5 For God will hide me in God’s shelter
in the day of trouble;
God will conceal me under the cover of God’s tent;
God will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in God’s tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek God’s face!”
Your face, LORD, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
Prayers of Hope and Healing
You may solicit prayers from the gathered as they arrive (on paper) or join an online service (in comments or chat). Alternatively, you may offer an extemporaneous prayer that responds to the sharing you have heard.
Music Ministry or Congregational Hymn
NCH #461 “Let Us Hope When Hope Seems Hopeless”
NCH #471 “What a Covenant (Fellowship)”
NCH #475 “God’s Eye Is on the Sparrow”
Blessing and Sending (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Therefore, beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Creator, because you know that in the Holy One your labor is not in vain.
Go, be good news in the world.
Service of Lament for Reproductive Justice was written by Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology, United Church of Christ.