Sacred Space after Sacred Ground: A Public Service of Commitment and Healing for closing a Sacred Ground Circle


“May God make us brave. May God root us in our own and others’ absolute belovedness. May God grant us a vision for beloved community and lead us with care and boldness on the sacred path toward that dream. Amen.”

–the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers



Gather in the Name of God

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
And also with you.
Let us pray.

God our healer, whose mercy is like a refining fire: by the loving kindness of Jesus, heal us as we seek to be a healing presence in our communities and the world in which we live; that being renewed by you, we may witness your wholeness to our broken world; through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Spirit. Amen.

Proclaim and Respond to the Word

Through Scripture and Response, we walk through each of the four quadrants of our Sacred Ground labyrinth, making room for Sacred Space in our lives.

Telling the Truth

Scripture: Isaiah 58:1-9

Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people
Thanks be to God

Response: Speaking Truth in Love

In love and witness, we pause to speak out loud the new truths we have embraced, and new truths with which we are still struggling to comprehend:

[those gathered speak the truths encountered in Sacred Ground]

Closing with:

Jesus our Teacher, accept these truths that we have learned and transform them to further your work on this earth. Transform us to welcome new perspectives, to hear with open ears and hearts those who offer us new lessons, and lead us with open hearts to understanding. Amen.

Proclaiming the Dream

Scripture: Galatians 3:23-29

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people
Thanks be to God

Response: Prayer for the Human Family

Practicing the Way of Love

Scripture: Ephesians 6:12-15

For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people
Thanks be to God

Respond: Putting on the Armor of God Lectio Divina.

We will move through the five stages of lectio divina together with this passage, hearing it read aloud several times. Perhaps consider, as we begin, how the “putting on the armor of God” may prepare you for the continued journey to which we are invited after Sacred Ground.

You may share when invited by the leader, either out loud or in the chat.

Lectio (reading): What stands out for me in this text?
Meditatio (meditation): What does this text say to me, today, and to my life?
Oratio (prayer): Where is God speaking to our community in response to this Word?
Contemplatio (contemplation): What transformation of mind, heart, and life is God asking of me?
Actio (action): How will I respond? How will the world witness this transformation?

Repairing the Breach

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-16

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people
Thanks be to God

Respond: God Has Work for Us to Do (Mark A. Miller)

What work is God calling you to do?

Pray for the World and the Church, particularly God’s Healing Grace

Litany of Repentance: (Source: Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music)

Dear people of God, our history is marred by oppression, by the enslavement of those who differ from us, and by the forces of racism that attack human dignity. The sin of racism is woven into our lives and our cultures, in small and great ways, in things done and things left undone. As followers of Christ, we reject racism and the oppression of other human beings. In building Christ’s beloved community, we must strive to love all people, respect all people, and work for the good of all people. We must stand alongside God’s children of every race, language, and culture, and work together as agents of justice, peace, and reconciliation.

In the assurance of our forgiveness, let us bow before God and humbly confess our sins: our participation in racism, our privilege based on racism, and our perpetuation of racism.

Silence is then kept for a time.

God the Father, you freed your people from slavery in Egypt, yet the legacy of slavery deforms our lives today.
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, you prayed that all would be united in your love and service, yet the divisions among us rend your body.
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, you inspire us to live peaceably with all, yet the stain of genocide and internment mars our striving for justice.
Have mercy on us.

We have harmed one another and the earth through negligence, greed, and self-interest.
Have mercy on us.

We have failed to condemn discrimination that leads to unrest.
Have mercy on us.

We have decried violence, while overlooking inequity and frustration from which it rises.
Have mercy on us.

We have practiced injustice for economic gain and have oppressed others to make a false peace.
Have mercy on us.

We have sought comfort in advantage for ourselves at the cost of injustice for others.
Have mercy on us.

We have welcomed solace over conflict and ignored the cries of those harmed by our comfort.
Have mercy on us.

We have grasped for this world’s goods, and been arrogant toward those who have little.
Have mercy on us.

We have not shared the good things we have been given, and blamed the poor for their poverty.
Have mercy on us.

We have been fearful and distrustful of those who are different from us.
Have mercy on us.

We have divided ourselves from others, and refused to listen to or believe their experience.
Have mercy on us.

We have been indifferent to the pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers.
Have mercy on us.

We have held in contempt those who need our help, and not loved them with our whole hearts.
Have mercy on us.

We have been self-satisfied in our privilege, and denied our oppression of others.
Have mercy on us.

We have preferred order over justice, and isolation over the struggle for peace.
Have mercy on us.

We have quietly held good intentions, and kept silent the message of reconciliation.
Have mercy on us.

We have failed to act with courage for the sake of love.
Have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Concluding Collect:

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP p. 823)

Confession (Source: Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music)

Let us confess our sins against God and one another.

Almighty God, Source of all that is, Giver of every good gift:
You create all people in your image and call us to love one another as you love us.
We confess that we have failed to honor you in the great diversity of the human family.
We have desired to live in freedom,
while building walls between ourselves and others.
We have longed to be known and accepted for who we are,
while making judgements of others based on the color of skin, or the shape of features, or
the varieties of human experience.
We have tried to love our neighbors individually
while yet benefitting from systems that hold those same neighbors in oppression.
Forgive us, Holy God.
Give us eyes to see you as you are revealed in all people.
Strengthen us for the work of reconciliation rooted in love.
Restore us in your image, to be beloved community,
united in our diversity,
even as you are one with Christ and the Spirit,
Holy and undivided Trinity, now and for ever.
Amen.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, grant us courage and conviction, and strengthen us to love others who are unlike us. May God, the Holy and Undivided Trinity, make us compassionate in our actions and courageous in our works, that we may see Christ’s Beloved Community in our own day. Amen.

Exchanging of Peace and Prayers

We move around the circle, offering peace and prayers for each other and the community.

Commissioning and Closing

Commissioning for the Ministry of Justice and Reconciliation (SCLM)

Leader: Dear People of God, we stand in the shadow of the prophets crying out for justice and peace. God calls us to be a people of reconciliation, serving a world in need. Courageous people have taken the risk of standing up and speaking out for the least and the lowest. This work involves risking ourselves for the sake of God’s love, moving beyond ourselves in order to seek and serve Christ and one another. We are all called to the work and ministry of social justice and reconciliation.

Will you persevere in prayer and fellowship?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim the good news of reconciliation in both word and deed?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive to see Christ in all persons, both with whom you agree and disagree?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek to mend what is broken by human sin and greed?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you work toward dismantling the sin of abuse of power?
I will, with God’s help.

Leader: In the name of God and of this Church, I commission you to stand up, speak out and live into becoming Beloved Community in your lives, in your community and in the world. Amen.

Closing:

May God make us brave. May God root us in our own and others’ absolute belovedness. May God grant us a vision for beloved community and lead us with care and boldness on the sacred path toward that dream. Amen.