September 2019 WATERritual 

Lift Up Peacemakers for International Day of Peace

By Diann L. Neu and the WATER staff

Preparation
Place on a table or center space covered with a cloth: peace cranes, greenery (olive branches!), a candle and matches, olives, harvest bread, apples, and a glass of water. Place pictures of the peacemakers named here and others around the space if you wish. 

Naming the Circle
Welcome to a celebration to “Lift Up Peacemakers for International Day of Peace.” Today, we remember and reflect on the courage and wisdom of peacemakers — past, present, and future — who advocate for peace in the face of war, violence, injustice, and climate action for peace. We look to their actions, words, and symbols to inspire us to live more peaceful and just lives. They challenge us to take action for peace in our families, communities, neighborhoods, world, and cosmos.

To create our circle, please speak your name, your geographic location, and say, “I strive to be a peacemaker.”

Song: “I’ve Got Peace Like a River,” African American spiritual
I’ve got peace like a river, (3x) in my soul.

Call to Gather
In 1981, the United Nations passed a unanimous resolution calling for the celebration of an International Day of Peace devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” Every year on September 21, people around the world come together to advocate for peace in its many forms. 

The theme for this year is climate action for peace, “a call for immediate action by all to lower greenhouse emissions, build resilience and improve education on climate change.” 

Today, we gather to call forth peacemakers. We gather in the spirit of those who are making decisions, hopeful that our prayers will warm their hearts and open their minds to a moral creativity that will bring peace without bombing and killing. We gather in the spirit of those who have died—may they rest in peace. We gather in the spirit of the divine who calls us to live in peace from generation to generation. Light a candle. 

Song: “I’ve Got Peace Like a River,” African American spiritual
I’ve got peace like a river, (3x) in my soul.

Calls for Peace
Let us listen to the wisdom of peacemakers worldwide. 

Sadako Sasaki of Japan, symbol of innocent victims of nuclear war: “I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.” (From the Report from Hiroshima [1961], 48.) 

Anne Frank of Germany and the Netherlands, Holocaust victim: “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” (From The Diary of Anne Frank [July 15, 1944].) 

Wangari Maathai of Kenya, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize: “Unless we properly manage resources like forests, water, land, minerals and oil, we will not win the fight against poverty. And there will not be peace. Old conflicts will rage on and new resource wars will erupt unless we change the path we are on.” (From the New York Times, “Trees for Democracy,” December 10, 2004.) 

Mary McLeod Bethune of the United States, educator and Civil Rights activist: “The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his or her worth.” (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/mary_mcleod_bethune_134503.) 

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize: “Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (From Where There Is Love, There Is God, p. 330.) 

Rigoberta Menchú of Guatemala, recipient of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize: “Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples.” (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/529017,%20http:/www.azquotes.com/quote/529017.) 

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem,” sixteenth century, Anonymous

Dona nobis pacem, pacem. Dona nobis pacem.
Grant us peace, peace. Grant us peace. 

Litany of Peacemakers
Let us remember other peacemakers who, through the ages, have worked for peace and changed the world. Let us ask them to pray with us for peace at home and in the world. Our response is: Pray for peace.

Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed, pray for peace.
Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham, pray for peace.
Joan of Arc and Francis of Assisi, pray for peace.
Käthe Kollwitz and Rabbi Heschel, pray for peace.
Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr., pray for peace.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and Pope John XXIII, pray for peace.
Black Elk and Mahatma Gandhi, pray for peace.
Óscar Romero, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clark, and Jean Donovan, pray for peace.
Please share with us the names of other peacemakers, pray for peace.

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem”
Dona nobis pacem, pacem. Dona nobis pacem. 

Reflection | Sharing
Think about the calls for peace you have heard. Which peacemakers spoke to your mind and heart as you listened? After a quiet time, name a peacemaker and tell us how she/he has inspired you. 

Blessing Foods of Solidarity with Peacemakers Worldwide
As the world needs Earth, air, water, and sun, so the world needs peacemakers. In solidarity with peacemakers who work for climate action for peace around the world, let us bless four foods to symbolize our unity.

Hold bread:
We unite with you, Peacemakers of the South. We bless and share bread to nourish our struggles.

Hold olives:
We unite with you, Peacemakers of the East. We bless and share olives to anoint ourselves and others with the oil of peace.

Hold apples: 
We unite with you, Peacemakers of the North. We bless and share apples to symbolize our shared harvest.

Hold a glass of water:
We unite with you, Peacemakers of the West. We bless and share clean water to refresh us when we are tired.

Blessed are you, Gracious and Loving Peacemaker of the World, for giving us bread, olives, apples, and drink to strengthen us as we work for climate action for peace. Grant us peace. Grant each country peace. Grant peace to the world and to the universe. Let us eat and drink in peace. 

Prayer for Peace
All-merciful God of Many Names, Yahweh, Allah, Holy One, Great Spirit, Wisdom Sophia, your power and grace sustain the universe. Teach us to hallow your names throughout the world as we work for climate action for peace.

Climate change is real, and scientists have shown that humans are causing it.
Response: Holy is your Creation.
We can make a difference and slow climate change down.
Response: We are the stewards of your Creation.
Half of the world’s forests no longer exist.
Response: Holy is your Creation.
We can use cloth instead of paper products.
Response: We are the stewards of your Creation.
In the past forty years, humans have directly or indirectly killed half of all existing wildlife.
Response: Holy is your Creation.
We can visit a national or state park to remember the holiness of the natural and wild world.
Response: We are the stewards of your Creation.
Sea levels are rising, and by 2100 the White House could have an ocean view.
Response: Holy is your Creation.
We can choose public transportation and reduce our carbon footprint.
Response: We are the stewards of your Creation.
We can reduce and reuse before recycling.
Response: Holy is your Creation.
We can eat less or no meat. Rainforests are being replaced with farms largely used to feed livestock. That same food could feed us instead.
Response: We are the stewards of your Creation.
Climate change is real, and scientists have shown that humans are causing it. We also have the power, however, to slow it down.
Response: Holy is your Creation; we will be the stewards.

Take Action for Peace
Let us put our prayers for peace into action. Here are some possible ways:
. Make a peace crane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd9UlOveEYA.
. Call your Congresspersons and tell them to support climate action for peace.
.Learn more about the history of International Day of Peace: https://internationaldayofpeace.org/

Sending Forth
As we go forth to bring peace to the world, let us promise to speak out against injustice everywhere and witness for peace.
May peace be within us. May peace be around us. May peace be beside us.
May peace be between us. May we walk peacefully with all Earth’s creatures.
May peace fill our days and nights. May peace fill the Earth.

Greeting of Peace 
Let us empower each other to witness for peace. Imagine you are holding a peace crane.
Go forth with the words of Sadako Sasaki:
“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.” 

© Diann L.Neu, WATER, dneu@hers.com, adapted from Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies of Justice, Liturgical Press, 2020.