Household Prayers of Liberation

It is hard enough to read the “household code” in Colossians 3.18-4.1, but how do you pray with this text shaping your liturgical imagination? Well, you need to begin with a reading of the text that begins to unpack its liberating potential. That’s what Sylvia Keesmaat has done in her sermon, Persis Hears Colossians. Then you bring that reading of the text from the perspective of a first century female slave into conversation with the struggles against misogyny, abuse and exploitation in our own time. Maybe it looks like this.
[Bold indicates congregational response.]

Let us pray.

In the face of violence.
Justice.
In the face of oppression.
Freedom.
In the face of enslavement.
Jubilee.

Rape.
No more.
Violence.
No more.
Subjection.
No more.

If there is freedom in Christ,
then let us all enjoy it.
If there is dignity in Christ,
then it is dignity for all.

Let us pray for all who have suffered sexual violence.

[silent and spoken prayers, with careful sensitivity
for survivors in our community this morning]

In the face of violence.
Justice.
In the face of oppression.
Freedom.
In the face of enslavement.
Jubilee.

Child abuse.
No more.
Pedophilia.
No more.
Child sacrifice.
No more.


If you make a little one fall,
then it is a millstone for your neck.
If you sacrifice their future at the altar of your greed,
then it is a millstone for your neck.

Let us pray for our children, for all children.

[silent and spoken prayers for the children]

In the face of violence.
Justice.
In the face of oppression.
Freedom.
In the face of enslavement.
Jubilee.

Human trafficking.
No more.
Slave labour.
No more.
Labour exploitation.
No more.

If there is an inheritance,
then it is an inheritance for all.
If there is Jubilee justice,
then it is justice for all.

Let us pray for the oppressed, and for justice.

[silent and spoken prayers for freedom,
fruitful labour, and liberation]

In the face of violence.
Justice.
In the face of oppression.
Freedom.
In the face of enslavement.
Jubilee.

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian and the CRC Campus Minister at the University of Toronto. He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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