We at Unbound, would like to offer an extensive (but by no means comprehensive!) supply of resources for pastors and parishioners alike to use in worship, Christian education, pastoral care, and advocacy surrounding the pervasive issue of domestic violence.
The following litany highlighting the experience of Biblical women who were subject to violence was used as the Call to Worship for the weekly worship service at the Presbyterian Center on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. The stories it lifts up are gruesome, horrifying, and painful. In her groundbreaking book Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives, Phyllis Trible tells the story of a time when she, with great fear and trembling, preached on the story of the unnamed woman in Judges 19 who is brutally raped and murdered. Trible says that she struggled to understand how such a story could ever contain the “good news” she wished to deliver to the congregation. After worship a woman came up to her with tears of joy in her eyes. The woman told Trible she was a rape survivor and that until this day, she had not known that this story, her story, was included in the Bible.
This week, this month, and every day, may we lift up the stories of women and men, past and present, that have been silenced far too long, praying that they may empower us to live into the gospel message of hope.
Call to Worship for Domestic Violence Awareness Sunday(From The Sabbath of Domestic Peace, adapted by Nancy Benson-Nicol)
One: Lot offered his daughters to a hostile crowed to be raped;
All: Protect women who find themselves in defenseless situations; women who are victims of war and violence.
One: Jephthah sacrificed his only daughter to fulfill a vow;
All: Protect children who are victims of cults and misguided beliefs.
One: Tamar, the daughter of David, was raped by her half-brother;
All: Hear the cries of women who are battered and abused in their own homes.
One: Susanna was falsely accused of infidelity and condemned to death;
All: May women’s voices be heard and believed so that justice may serve them.
One: Sisters and brothers, let us lift our voices in praise of the One who mends what we have broken and mends us where we have been broken. Let us, together, worship God.
Worship Aids and Resources:
From the Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN):
- Hymns, prayers, liturgy, affirmations of faith, and sermon illustrations from Rebecca Booth Lawson
- Litanies, prayers, and suggested Biblical texts from Dr. Deborah Blades
From the Sabbath of Domestic Peace:
Further Resources on Domestic Violence:
- Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN) homepage
- PADVN’s 2013 Domestic Violence Congregation Packet: “Stories of Hope and Restoration” for worship, pastoral care and education within congregations
- Past PADVN packets from 2012 (“Entering the Brokenness”) and 2010 (“Parent/Youth Relationships”)
- A (somewhat dated) PC(USA) General Assembly Policy Statement on Domestic Violence: “Turn Mourning into Dancing!” (2001) developed by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP)
- Further Resources from the Sabbath of Domestic Peace