A Liturgy of Peace

I wanted to put this out before it moved from the front of my thinking. A few of us have been very concerned about the increase in violent activity in our city (here is a different recent post about this). The question I have been grappling with is what is the church’s response to such issues. To be honest, the complexity of urban violence is beyond me. What can be done? What can I do? I am not sure.

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Liv Larson Andrews

One thing we (Eric Blauer and Liv Larson Andrews) arrived at was we did not want to become desensitized to how these brutal acts fractured shalom. I believe many Americans are becoming fatigued by the constant cascade
of news of this kind; that they are in a way de-selecting it for their possible choices of issues to be concerned about.

What we concluded was we wanted to publically grieve and
passionately intercede. In real time, that meant that we would go humbly stand in front of “The Hop” (the location of a recent murder) and do a Liturgy of Peace. It wasn’t against anyone or even to gain some attention for our
activism. It really was for us (because our hearts are broken) and for God
(because we believe that prayer is more than just aligning ourselves with God’s
way – it actually is efficacious). We wept…we interceded and we marked the spot with the sign of the cross.

I have to admit, I am a person of great inner tension. Sometimes I come from some activity and wonder what it was for? Was it for me or for Jesus? Was it healthy or stilted. In short, I’m a bit of a tortured soul. But I want to testify that praying for our city on Monroe St. on Friday at 5:30 with two fantastic ladies might have been one of the “purest” acts of Christian service I’ve been involved with for some time. I’m grateful.

Christ have mercy! May shalom rest on Spokane.


11 Replies to “A Liturgy of Peace”

  1. Were it was that simple, I agree that pray changes circumstances when we align ourselves with God’s will. All the prophets wept over Israel in her sin. But until I am willing to confront the sin in my life and have Shalom infect me I doubt I’ll be very effective out there! Tough questions, and no simple easy answers.

  2. Kim, thinking about our kids, it makes a bit more sense – huh? I love it when my kids want to spend time with me, particularly when they share their feelings.

  3. Rob~
    Really cool example, Thank You! There has been NOTHING more profound in my spiritual walk than learning to pray with other believers. Furthermore, as part of worship trough intercession, I have partnered with others to practice fasting as well over the kind of circumstances you’re describing and God has shown up in powerful ways. I don’t fully understand it but I know it has touched God’s heart in ways that have built my faith beyond measure. I can only think of it along the lines of a parent. I know how much I love the communication between our children and myself. I love their honesty. I love their pure plea for prayer when they are hurting. I love their love for me. I think thats how God is with us. He simply digs the times we go before him with childlike hearts…He is always Faithful to respond! Its not just talking about prayer, its DOING it- there are no short-cuts.

  4. Rob,
    The part of your post that touched my heart was, “It really was for us (because our hearts were broken) and for God (because we believe that prayer is more than just aligning ourselves with God’s way-it actually is efficacious). We wept…we interceded and we marked the spot with the sign of the cross.” Efficacious speaks of having power to produce desired results or effects. That sounded like a wonderful time of intercession with the Holy Spirit leading you all step by step. Weeping often accompanies intercession. Brokenness, inner tension, and having a tortured soul speaks of burden bearing to me and that happens oftentimes with intercessors. Daniel 10:2 say, “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.” When you experience a release, you know that you have completed the assignment! It is the ‘purest act’ of Christian service…Daniel had an excellent spirit and look how much credibility he gave to prayer. Spokane has a great future but these type of prayers will be necessary while we all wait!

  5. Rob,
    This is a powerful and meaningful act of worship. To pray with Eric and Liz at the sight of murder in an act to bring the peace of God in your neighborhood and city. It makes me ponder, what if Christians who have a missional heart would do the same in their communities and towns. Its easy to bypass and overlook crimes that take place in our own communities, especially if they don’t have personal connection with us. I’m encouraged to be more aware of what takes place in my neighborhood and be thoughtful of showing up and praying for shalom when a violent crime takes place.

  6. Rob,
    I would have loved to be a part of that prayer vigil, I believe that we as the body of Christ need to turn off the tvs and get out and pray more for our communities. Crime happens because we allow it to happen, we would rather watch tv and see violence on tv then to go and pray that it stops. Only God can stop the violence we are seeing and only prayer (seeking God’s will) will allow God to be moved enough to stop it.

  7. Hello Rob;
    In responding to your post on Liturgy of Peace, I have great empathy and personal experience for your feelings. I grew up in this neighborhood around where your new church is located and have spent my life to date in this area. I also own several low income apartments and single family homes in the neighborhood.
    An unusually sharp increase in violent activity commenced about 7 years ago when Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Kennezovich announced on a KXLY television morning talk show that: “property crime was a low priority to Spokane County Law enforcement.” Since that announcement, property crime, violent crimes and crimes against persons have been on a sharp rise.
    In crime data going back to 1985, Spokane shows a long history of struggling with property crime rates that run against national trends. The numbers vary depending on the time frame: Up 10 percent since 1985. Up just 4 percent since 1987. Up 13 percent since 2000.
    But the pattern is clear — property crime has gone up or held steady in Spokane while falling dramatically in most major American cities. In 2012, Spokane’s property crime rate ran higher than corresponding rates in Seattle, Portland, Detroit and New York City. (Quoted from The Inlander)
    There are twenty two active organized gangs operating in the area bounded by the Spokane River on the South, Maxwell Ave. on the North, Summit Blvd. on the West and Monroe St. on the East. Many people in the neighborhood exist on government subsidies and drug income and are unoccupied productively.
    My wife Cathy and I are disheartened and overwhelmed about the violence and property crime in our city and county and this neighborhood. Our personal experiences would surprise you. We are saddened about the hold that Satan and his followers have on residents in the immediate vicinity.
    I believe that the condition of crime in Spokane is enabled by a week legislative group, corrupt judicial system, poor public education system and a community that cannot come together to address the issue. I am fearful that it will take drastic measures at this point to implement change directed at lower crime rates. Oswald Chambers wrote in this book, My Utmost for His Highest, that we are not persuaded by the gentler way.
    Intertwined with a community of strong faithful Christians is some of the worst crime in the country.

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