Although intended for victims of violence who are still living, this ritual can be adapted for other services.

Invite participants to stand and gather as one community with the victim.

Leader: The Lord be with you.

All: And also with you.

Leader: Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers.

All: Protect me from those who are violent; guard me from the hands of the wicked.

Leader: O Lord, heal me, for [I am] shaking with terror; I am weary with my moaning.

All: How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?

Leader: Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.

All: The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer. (Psalm 6:2, 8-9; 13:2; 140:1)

Reader: A reading from the gospel according to Mark, the fifteenth chapter:

"What then," Pilate asked the crowd, "do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" They shouted back, "Crucify him!" Pilate asked them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him!" So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd . . . handed Jesus over to be crucified.

It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him . . . When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o'clock, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Then -Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

(Mark 15:12-15, 25, 33-34, 37)

The gospel of the Lord.

Leader: (addressing the community) When violence against body, mind, or spirit invades our lives, the enduring effects of our violation threaten to rob us of our sense of personal security, our ability to trust, our confidence in self, our joy in the present and hope for the future, our faith in the reliability of God*s care and protection. Through our presence and prayers, we extend support to our brother/sister, whose life has been touched by violence.

(addressing the one who has been violated) _______, what will you share with us of your experience?

Time is allowed for a brief description of the violence and a sharing of how the experience has violated his/her physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being. When the time of sharing has concluded, the rite continues.

Leader: (addressing the community) How will we receive _____________ and his/her experience?

All: We embrace your pain. We share your tears. We promise to accompany you on your journey toward healing.

Leader: Let us pray.

Source of all mercy and God of all consolation, make your presence known to _________________. Calm his/her fears, heal his/her pain, assure him/her of your love, and protect him/her from further violation, that he/she may recover from the lingering effects of his/her experience and regain her confidence in your care. From evil's hold on him/her,

All: Deliver him, Lord.

Leader: We are in anguish over _____________'s experience of violence and long to be instruments of healing in his/her life. Give us courage to be present with him/her in his/her pain, wisdom to know when to speak and when to listen, and readiness to provide help as it is requested. From our inclinations to avoid pain in self and others,

All: Deliver us, O Lord.

Leader: We long for your protection from the violence of this world, and our faith is shaken when that protection seems unavailable to us. Use your Son's experience of violence to remind us that, although you do not guarantee your children an escape from violence, you do promise to be present in our pain and to accompany us in our journey through violent experiences. From doubts about the faithfulness of your companionship,

All: Deliver us, O Lord.

Leader: Although you have promised that all things will work together for good for those who love you, we glimpse no sign of goodness in _______'s experience of violence. Even as you bring healing to his/her body, mind, and spirit, so also open his/her heart to future revelations of goodness in his/her life. From the belief that experiences of violence speak the decisive word in our lives,

All: Deliver us, O Lord.

Leader: How well we know that violence begets violence and that the perpetrators of violence have often themselves been the victims of it. Break the cycle by giving us the courage and strength to take stands against all acts of physical, emotional, and spiritual violence, no matter how trivial they may seem. From words, deeds, and attitudes that fail to honor the holiness of all life,

All: Deliver us, O Lord.

Leader: We know that, throughout this world, there are many brothers and sisters for whom violence is a regular occurrence. Use ___________'s experience of violence to remind us of our kinship with all victims of violence and to inspire us to stand in solidarity with them against the individuals and systems that perpetrate violence. From presumptions that violence is more acceptable in the lives of others than it is in our own,

All: Deliver us, O Lord.

Leader: We pray in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ, whose victory over the violence of human sin assures us of eternal life in harmony with you, Amen.

Those gathered may encircle the one recovering from an experience of violence. If that person is open to human contact, participants may place their hands on his/her head or shoulders.

Leader: May God bless you and keep you.
May God's face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May God look on you with favor and give you peace.

(Hands are withdrawn.)

Leader: The peace of the Lord be with you always!

All: And also with you!

The rite concludes with a sharing of the peace.

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