World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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WSCF AP Human Rights Liturgy

December 10, 2007

The members of WSCF AP Human Rights Committee ask that you share this liturgy with members of your movements. This liturgy is designed for us to focus on the recent events happening in Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, and Philippines but also to encourage us to look at the Human Rights Issues happening in our own country. We hope you can use this liturgy as a resource and starting point for your own worship.)

 

Call to Worship

Preparation

Silent Meditation

“Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the right of all the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Leader: Sisters and brothers, we have come together to worship God who offers us freedom through our Lord Jesus Christ. For the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death.

Response: For we did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but we have received the spirit of the children of God to live free from fear.

Leader: Sisters and brothers, we have come together to remember the people in Myanmar, in Pakistan and the Philippines walking humbly in peaceful unison with their God, walking for freedom, justice and human rights.

Jerusalem. Let us remember that the simple act of walking to show defiance against oppression is to bring the peace and love that Jesus’ teaches us. God we seek your peace. Amen

We recite together the World Peace Prayer

Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth;
lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust;
lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.

Opening Song:

Come O come, Let Us Praise Parent God
Words by the University Christian
Fellowship Myanmar

Intercessional Reflections

(written on remembrance day by Kevin Ranville, November 11, 2000)

Student 1: How do you say thank you to the men and women who risked their lives, and lost their lives to secure our freedom, our way of life, our peace and prosperity?

Student 2: How do you say thank you to the men and women who went through the most terrible experiences of their lives, surrounded by death and carnage, losing friends and loved ones, seeing things that would change their lives forever?

Student 3: How do you say thank you to those who went through all this with the belief that their one life, whether lost or saved, could make a difference, had to make a difference, for our sake, the generation they had not even met yet?

Student 4: How do you say thank you to the men and women who had faith in us before we were even born, faith that we would become people worth fighting for, and worth dying for?

We all respond: How do you say thank you? You honour their sacrifice with your own life. You go to war against your faults and failures. You conquer all the things inside you that make this world a worse place to live in; worse for your family, friends, neighbours, co-workers. You fight to make the small space in the world that you touch a better place. You win the battle for your own soul. You be good and do good; you live selflessly, remembering the example that the veterans, both living and dead, laid down for us. You live life so well that those who remember the horrors of war look on you with satisfaction and pride and are comforted, never feeling for a moment that you weren’t worth the price they paid.

Scriptural Reading

(You may choose from the following suggested readings that will suit your biblical reflection on Human Rights)

  1. Proverbs 31:8-9
  2. Genesis 1:27 (In God’s Image)
  3. Luke 4:16-21 (Jesus in Nazareth)
  4. Matthew 26:6-13 (Jesus Anointed at Bethany)

(Distribute copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), invited to share your reflection and thoughts on the International Human Rights Day)

Intercessional Human Rights Prayers

Leader: God our hope and giver of life we put aside this time for us to pray and reflect on the human rights issues that affect our individual countries.

Cambodia

Student 1: In Cambodia on the 29th of November police broke up a peaceful strike in Kandal Province where over 2000 people were set to demonstrate. Police assaulted workers and arrested members of the local labour unions.

Response: God we keep in mind the struggles of people who have been abused and assaulted by police in Cambodia. God hear our prayer.

Sri Lanka

Student 2: Sri Lanka continues to experience extrajudicial killings and disappearances, in October 53 disappearances were reported, and the disappearances of humanitarian workers. Due to the continuing failure to persecute the alleged perpetrators and the absence of proper mechanisms for the affected family members to seek redress, these are still ongoing.

Response: God let us use this time to reflect on the countries who have suffered from extrajudicial killings and disappearances in Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, and many other countries throughout the Asia and Pacific Region. God hear our prayer.



For Human Rights For Solidarity
SCMers in Hong Kong (above) and Korea (right) showed their
commitment to upholding and protecting human rights as they
expressed solidarity with the struggle of Burmese people.

Philippines

Student 3: Threats have been made upon human rights activists and widows of activists who are helping victims. On November 2, activist Olivia Bernardo was followed and photographed by an unknown person while her colleague Mary Guy Portajada started receiving threatening messages on her mobile. In another incident the widows of murdered activists, Hilda Orpilla and Natividad Battad, have also been threatened by members of the paramilitary following their husbands’ murder early this year.

Response: God we ask for your protection upon people whose lives have been under threat and intimidation used to instigate such threats. God hear our prayer.

Pakistan

Student 4: Mr. Amir Naveed, the vice-chairperson of SCM Pakistan was arrested and was imprisoned for 3 days last November for leading and participating in the rally against the emergency rule in Pakistan. In recent months we have watched the demonstrations of peace activist, human rights activist in Pakistan as they prepare for a change of government. The imposition of martial law leading to the arrest of lawyers, journalist and activist has caused people to demonstrate on the streets pushing for the military government to hear the needs of the people.

Response: God we seek your wise guidance to help us reflect seek peaceful solutions to the political turmoil in Pakistan. God hear our prayer.

Myanmar

Student 5: In recent weeks there has been worrying reports about the resurgence of government-backed goon squads in Burma. Gangs of thugs, have been used to attack human rights defenders going about their business and persons holding prayer vigils for the release of political prisoners. Out of the arrested during last September’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests led by monks, 106 women remain in detention, including six nuns. Women activists have been hunted down, assaulted, tortured and framed with false charges, and their family members threatened and held hostage. Response: God we pray for peace and the change of power in Myanmar that represents and upholds the dignity of the ordinary people of Myanmar. God hear our prayer.

Asia and the Pacific Region

God let us remember the many countries, communities, men, women and children who suffer at the abuse of their basic Human Rights, for food, education, safety, love and care; we pray for a better future where there is hope, peace and reconciliation. Through Jesus you have given us several examples on how to advocate for the needs of the millions of people who suffer because their basic human rights and needs have been denied to them. Let us as part of the whole human creation of God come together to make long awaited changes. God hear our prayer. And let our prayer come unto you.

Intercessional Song of Praise from Pakistan: Have Mercy on Us, Lord

The Aramaic Prayer of Jesus

as translated from Aramaic by Saadi Neil Douglas- Klotz of the Sufi Order of the West

O, Birther of the Cosmos, focus your light within us – make it useful
Create your reign of unity now
Your one desire then acts with ours, As in all light, So in all forms,
Grant us what we need each day in bread and insight: Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
As we release the strands we hold of other’s guilt. Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back. From you is born all ruling will,
The power and the life to do, The song that beautifies all, From age to age it renews.
I affirm this with my whole being.

Closing Song

Oh Freedom!

Oh Freedom, Oh Freedom,
Oh Freedom over me, over me
And before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave
And go home to my people and be free!

Oh Justice, Oh Justice, Oh Justice, over me, over me And before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave And go home to my people and be free!

No subjugation, No subjugation, No subjugation over me, over me
And before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave
And go home to my people and be free!

(Guitar Chords: D-A7-D-A7-D-D7-G-D-A7-G-D)