God of all graces and of all the cultures and colors we call races, Holy God who from one blood formed the great masses of the human family, we come together in your presence as siblings, we come before you knowing in our minds, and feeling in our bodies the wrongness of white-body supremacy, of the beliefs and practices that make white bodies the standard of humanness and that cause violence, pain and death to those who are not white in this country. We also name the wrongness we know and feel about how the riches of this land have been despoiled, stolen, and allotted to a few, while the vast number of your beloved children of all hues and cultures go without, struggling to survive. 

We come as family, God, yet we acknowledge we bring with us different experiences of our church, nation, and world. We are one body, yet as members of that body we come with multivalence. With our own individual cultures, traumas, insecurities. And so, as we begin a conversation about how we might be agents of your peace, as we speak together about how we want to heal the open wounds we see and know and feel with our whole beings, we need your grace and your help.

Give us your grace, Lord,  to listen carefully and to really hear each other. As we share our stories, give us grace to be authentic and humble. And above all fill us with that Divine Love, without which any of our words, works, or revolutions will come to nothing.

Holy One, help us to see, know and feel your presence among us, guiding, guarding, loving and welcoming. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ, who with you Creator of All and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Offered by Anthony Calzia, Nashville, TN

Liturgist’s Notes: If this vigil is to be offered via Zoom or a similar online platform, rather than in person, the instructions to sit, stand, and so forth, which are in brackets, may be ignored, and each person may remain seated in front of his or her camera for the duration of the service. However, it is still preferable to have lay people as readers and a deacon to read the Gospel and lead the prayers if possible, rather than the officiant filling every role. 

If the service is to be held in person, it may be held either indoors or outdoors, weather permitting. In either case, care should be taken to ensure that any open flames are used safely and extinguished fully.

Because this intentionally pared-down liturgy makes no provision for a sermon, a Eucharist, or any music, it is ready to use as-is. This Google document may be downloaded and shared with participants via email, or you may simply share the link that will bring them directly here.  

I hope you find it to be a helpful resource as you shepherd your flocks through this difficult time. Know that I am praying for each and every one of you. 


[All stand as they are able.] The officiant begins:

Dear People of God, 

In the days following an unprecedented armed insurrection at our nation’s Capitol Building, many voices spoke of the need for unity and peace. Unity and peace are fine goals, but those words must not be weaponized. Unity is not about being agreeable and getting over it; peace is not a synonym for silence. Yes, unity is important, but it comes with a cost of admission. That cost is fearless truth-telling, sincere repentance, and commitment to a new way forward. 

Likewise, the peace of God which passes understanding is not a peace which demands that we brush aside our outrage, sugar-coat our anger, dismiss our grief, and simply move on, relinquishing our right to cry out for justice. It is a peace which calls those who would take up arms to lay down their swords and shields, their guns and their tear gas, and study war no more. 

Others have been quick to proclaim in the wake of these horrific events, “This is not who we are.” Such sentiments may seem comforting, but they are not truthful, and without truth, there can be no peace. If we are to be a people seeking after peace, a people seeking after righteousness, a people seeking after God, then we must be willing to say, “This is not who You have made us to be, but it is who we have become. Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.” 

My sisters and brothers, in that spirit of humility, repentance, and truth, let us pray. 

A brief silence may be kept. 

Almighty and merciful God, whose only-begotten Son came to preach peace to the nations: Hear us, we beseech you, and comfort us with Your steady Hand, as we come before You in the wake of unspeakable violence. In a world that seems hopeless, help us to remember that our hope rests always in you, and in the resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

[The people may be seated.] The following readings are read by a lector (or more than one lector, if it is the parish’s custom to have each reading done by a different lector) and the Psalm is to be read either in unison or responsively by half-verse, followed by the Gloria Patri in unison. 

A Reading from the Prophet Ezekiel:

I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field abundant, so that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you shall remember your evil ways, and your dealings that were not good; and you shall loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominable deeds. It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and dismayed for your ways, O house of Israel.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God. 

The reading of Psalm 130 is then announced, either to be read in unison or responsively by half-verse.

Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD;

LORD, hear my voice; *

    let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

If you, LORD, were to note what is done amiss, *

    O LORD, who could stand?

For there is forgiveness with you; *

    therefore you shall be feared.

I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; *

    in his word is my hope.

My soul waits for the LORD,

more than watchmen for the morning, *

    more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, wait for the LORD, *

    for with the LORD there is mercy;

With him there is plenteous redemption, *

    and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever; Amen. 

A Reading from the First Epistle of St. John

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God. 

A Reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke

But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The Word of the Lord. 

Thanks be to God. 

Silence is kept for a moment. The officiant then [stands and] says: 

Recalling our shared identity as God’s people, let us stand and renew the Baptismal Covenant by which we once renounced Satan and all his works and promised to serve God faithfully in His holy Catholic Church. 

[All stand as able.] 

Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?

I do. 

Do you believe in God the Father? 

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God? 

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? 

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

I will, with God’s help. 

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? 

I will, with God’s help. 

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? 

I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? 

I will, with God’s help. 

Will you strive for justice and peace on the earth, and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God’s help. 

May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, keep us in eternal life by His grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The following prayers are led by a deacon, or, if one is not available, a layperson. If desired, a deacon or lay intercessor may lead the responsorial prayers, and then each collect may be read by a different assigned layperson. Alternately, the collects may all be read by the same person, whether the deacon/intercessor or someone else. At the culmination of the prayers, the Prayer attributed to St. Francis is said by all in unison. 

[The people stand or kneel.]

Let us pray for the soul of our nation, and for peace on the earth. 

God the Father, you gave the Law that Your people might live in peace,

Have mercy upon us.

God the Son, you suffered violence for the sake of the world,

Have mercy upon us.

God the Holy Spirit, you bind us together in a community of love,

Have mercy upon us. 

Holy Trinity, One God, you model for us the perfect and holy relationship to which we aspire. 

Have mercy upon us. 

For Donald, our President,
Michael, our Vice President,
Joseph, our President-Elect,
and Kamala, our Vice President-Elect,
for all members of the Senate and the House of Representatives
and of the state legislatures,
that they may have wisdom and grace during this time of great turmoil,
and that they may be kept safe from violence, we pray.

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For those charged with defending the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, and the Capitol Buildings of every State and Commonwealth, that no harm may come to them or to those whom they have sworn to protect, we pray. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For the persons responsible, whether directly or complicitly, for the insurrection, that they may sincerely repent and truly amend their lives, we pray. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For the removal of all hatred, ill will, bitterness, and violence in our own hearts, we pray. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For our country, that its deep rifts of fear and prejudice may be healed, we pray. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For those who are distressed, grieving, angry, afraid, or brokenhearted, that the yoke of Christ may make their burdens light, we pray. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For all who have died, that their souls may find peace with the Saints in light, we pray. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

For the petitions and intentions which we now offer, either silently or aloud, we pray.

Silence is kept for a moment to allow for such intentions to be offered. 

Lord, hear our prayer. 

Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

Amen.

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquility your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 

Amen.

Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 

Amen.

O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech you so to guide and bless our Senators and Representatives in Congress

assembled (or in the Legislature of this State, or Commonwealth), that they may enact such laws as shall please you, to the glory of your Name and the welfare of this people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Amen.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Amen.

Let us say together the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

O Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

Amen.

Silence is kept for the space of a few minutes. 

When ready, the officiant shall [stand and] bless the people. If a deacon or layperson is officiating, substitute “us” and “our” for “you” and “yours.” 

Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who walk this way with us. Be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. 

Amen. 

Those who wish to do so may remain in silent prayer for as long as they would like. When ready, the officiant and other vested ministers exit the worship space in silence after candles are quietly extinguished. 

Liturgist: Anna Katherine Lenaghan

Regarding the events in Washington, D.C. on the Feast of the Epiphany, it is wrong to say of the terrorism that transpired that "This is not America.” While we cherish the words that we “strive for a more perfect union,” we must also acknowledge and repent the reality of American violence, racial injustice and Christian nationalism.  

White supremacist violence, cloaked in faith, from indigenous genocide, the slave patrols of the 1700 and 1800s, the Civil War, the Tulsa massacre and the wave of unpunished lynchings, up to and including the recent shootings of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, and Casey Goodson, Jr. in Columbus, has been the hammer that shaped America on the anvil of this rich continent. 

The Trumpist anti-democracy movement, stirred up by a failed demagogue, took to the streets to follow a path too commonly taken in America. We must stop pretending to be horrified and face the complicity of all parties in shaping this America. 

We call upon all of our elected officials to repent of the sin of white supremacy.  We recognize that the police force has targeted people of color, while white violence and lawlessness is condoned and met with a soft response that perpetuates the systemic racism of all institutions in our society. We call for a movement for justice, the only basis for peace; and we look to the Gospel to guide us in bringing forth the Kingdom of God. 

We pray that each of us may be instruments inspiring the coming of the beloved Kingdom, from a strong, confident place of nonviolence.  Join us in praying for our country and our leaders, then act with us to be a catalyst for the bringing of a new era of justice and peace.

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