Litany for healing and hope

Created on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom this litany calls forth waters of healing.

One: We have heard it said, “Let justice roll down like the waters and peace like an ever-flowing stream.”

All: Sometimes the waters are like a dripping faucet instead of a flowing river.

One: We look around and there is poverty, hunger, mass incarcerations, low-wage jobs, inaccessible health care, and violence.

All: Drip! Drip Drip!

One: Those who have gone before us have worked diligently for freedom, equality, and justice.

All: And still we cry out, “How long, oh Lord?! How long?!”

One: Racism is masked with polite niceties, opportunity is given to a select few, and forward movement is met with blockades.

All: Send the rain of your justice, Holy One. Help us to be washed in your grace which moves us   from fear to hope; from paralysis to action; from chaos to community.

One: Instill in us, Giver of Life, the desire to work across boundaries of race, culture, and class; to reach beyond the walls of education, religion, and sexual orientation; to blow a trumpet in Zion – or Southside Chicago – or Washington, DC.

All: Healing River, send down your waters!

One: Help those of us with privilege to open our eyes. Help those of us who have been silenced to find our voices. Help those of us who have been hurt by systems and institutions become open to healing, and help those who have stood idly by learn to stand in solidarity.

All: Healing River, send down your waters!


*Notes on Music: Before each stanza of the litany, and after the last stanza, you may wish to include verses of a chorus. The author prefers the song O Healing River.” If your congregation doesn’t have license for use, we suggest not using this song. Other songs with three of four verses (reprise the first verse if only three verses) for use: “There is a Balm in Gilead,” “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me,” and “Guide My Feet.”

Created by Chett Pritchett, Interim Executive Director Methodist Federation for Social Action.

Contributed by Chett Pritchett

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