Resisting and Hope: Casting Fire

RESISTANCE AND HOPE: CASTING FIRE was used at the "Just Trade Agreements? Churches in North America Discuss Globalization" consultation held in Stony Point, New York, 11-14 January 2004.

One: Day by day, it seems the
violence will never end.

All: And we cry out: “How long,
O God?”

One: Day by day, those in poverty
are pushed aside.

All: And we cry out: “How long,
O God?”

One: Day by day, lives are
squandered for the sake of
war.

All: And we cry out: “How long,
O God?”
One: Day by day, the earth is
sacrificed to greed.

All: And we cry out: “How long,
O God?”

One: Day by day, we are overcome
by the triumph of injustice.

All: And we cry out: “How long,
O God?”

One: Day by day, God is witness to
every act, every thought, every
word.

All: And God cries out: “How
long, O my people?”

WELCOMING THE FIRE
Luke 12:49
And Jesus said, “I have come to cast fire
upon the earth, and how I wish it were
already kindled!

As first candle is lit, all respond:

Our rage, like this flame, has great
power.

After each reading increase
volume of response.

Jeremiah 6:10-11a; 13
To whom shall I speak and give
warning, that they may hear? See,
their ears are closed, they cannot
listen. God’s word is an object of
scorn to them and they take no
pleasure in it. But I am full of the
wrath of God, and I am weary of
holding it in…For from the least to the
greatest of them, everyone is greed
for unjust gain; and from prophet to
priest, everyone deals falsely.

At lighting of next candle:
All: This flame of rage within us
has the power to be prophetic.

John 2:13-16
In the temple he found people selling
cattle, sheep, and doves, and the
moneychangers seated at their
tables. Making a whip of cords, he
drove all of them out of the temple,
both the sheep and the cattle. He
also poured out the coins of the
moneychangers and overturned their
tables. He told those who were
selling the doves, “Take these things
out of here. Stop making God’s
house a marketplace!”

All: This flame of rage within us
has the power to transform the
church.

Matthew 23: 23-24, 27-33a
And Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you
tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have
neglected the weightier matters of the
law: justice and mercy and faith. It is
these you ought to have practiced
without neglecting the others. You
blind guides! You strain out a gnat
but swallow a camel!”

All: This flame of rage within us
has the power to confront
hypocrisy with truth.

Mark 3:1-5
And Jesus entered the synagogue,
and a man was there who had a
withered hand. They watched him to
see whether he would cure him on the
Sabbath, so that they might accuse
him. And Jesus said to the man who
had the withered hand, “Come
forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it
lawful to do good or to do harm on the
Sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But
they were silent. He looked around at
them with anger…and he said to the
man, “Stretch out your hand.” He
stretched it out, and his hand was
restored.

All: This flame of rage within us
had the power to bring
healing.

Receiving the fire.
All: This flame of rage within us
will be released.
This fire of anger within us will
be tended.
This spark of conviction within
us will burn brightly.

SUNG RESPONSE
LITANY OF FIRE
One: O Divine, Fiery Spirit,
When we subdue the spark of
righteous rage,
When we submit to apathy
When we smoulder in selfdestructive
prisons:

All: Teach us to cast fire once
more!

One: When we forsake the torch of
justice,
When we forfeit the power of
anger in the work of love,
When we forgo the tending of
truth’s flame:

All: Teach us to cast fire once
more!

One: When we choose propriety
over prophetic action,
When we cling to structures
which are sterile,
When we close the doors to
dreams and possibilities:

All: Teach us to cast fire once
more!

Authored by Maylanne Maybee, Anglican Church of Canada / Jim Marshall, United Church of Canada / Tom Hampson, Church World Service / Charles Ryu, Stony Point Conference Center