Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people, and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
O God, who taught the hearts of your people by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, send forth the same Spirit into our hearts, that we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in his consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A prayer for Syria is not up for discussion. We have been silent because we are not interested in a conversation on this Thing. We pray instead, crying for help as one with the people of God to the living God himself.
On this Saturday, we pray in solidarity with the church catholic, with Pope Francis who has gathered us, and with the various communions gathered in solidarity with them. We pray as one, with one voice, that the madness of war and the twisted logic that we must kill to make peace would be shattered with the peace of Christ.
The instructions to Catholics are that they might pray the Rosary. To the rest of the Christian church, let it be clear that this is not merely a Roman Catholic thing. The Rosary belongs to the church catholic because the church is postured with Mary, pondering in her heart the message of the angel, the joy that fills her cousin Elizabeth’s bosom, the declaration of the Magnificat, the rejoicing of the shepherds, the sword that will pierce her heart, and the boy she bears sitting in his Father’s house. We pray today in solidarity with Mary that the wisdom of her prophetic contemplation might be gifted to us, that the prayer of the church with one voice might shatter the darkness of the violent logic that plagues our world.
The call for an Anglican charism is also clearer than ever. Already, Justin Cantuar has called for solidarity with Christians in the Middle East, listening to their voices and not rushing in haste to war. As a bishop who did reconciliation work at Coventry Cathedral, he knows war well. Not only did he make peace in wartorn areas in Africa where his life was in danger three times, but his seat was in a cathedral that knew war, that itself had been bombed, that itself carried in its very edifice the scars of war.
Etched into those walls are the words: Father forgive.
And thus, the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation is the prayer of the Anglican Communion in solidarity with the church catholic as we pray in communion for peace in Syria, for war never again, for the reconciliation of Christ to be displayed visibly in the world:
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Abba, forgive, forgive us our failings.
Pour out your mercy, and heal our shattered souls.