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God, Break Through and Heal: A Prayer for Hope and Healing

By Eric C. Smith

Provided by Fr. Tom, DignityUSA
National AIDS Project Chair

World AIDS Day is observed annually on December 1 to remember those who have died of AIDS and to remind us of the ongoing struggle against the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Twenty million people have dies of AIDS since it was first identified. Forty million are infected with HIV. Fourteen million children have been orphaned by the disease. Around the globe the pandemic grows faster than ever before. On the first Sunday of Advent and World AIDS Day we look for a renewal of hope. This litany, based on Isaiah 64, reminds us that our hope is in God and that we are called to act to make our hope a reality.

One: God of endless mercy.

People: Hear our prayer.

One: O that you would break through the heavens and come down.

People: O that you would speak the word that is the end of AIDS and with your hand take away HIV from the world.

One: When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down. The mountains quaked with your presence.

People: Now we quake with a plague that ravages bodies, families, churches, communities, and our world.

One: Have you hidden your face from us, God?

People: Millions have died. Millions are sick.  Millions are orphaned. Millions are at risk. Millions can be saved.

One: After all this, will you restrain yourself, O God? Will you keep silent?

People: O God, your children are living with AIDS, and AIDS is not silent.

One: The sound of AIDS can be heard in the cries of the children, mothers, fathers, partners, friends, and all those who have lost loved ones to this disease.

People: O God, your children are living with AIDS, and AIDS is not silent.

One: The sounds of AIDS can be heard in every land and every language on earth.

People: We watch this disease grow into a pandemic, reaching all parts of the globe.  We feel helpless to stop it.

One: At times we push away AIDS and people with AIDS.  We deny its effect on us.  We cover our heads, our eyes, our ears, and our hearts.  But still it grows.

People: After all this, will we restrain ourselves?  Will we remain silent?

One: O God, that you would break through the heavens and come down.

People: Break through our silence, God.  Help us lend our voices to our sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, children, friends, and all those living with AIDS or are at risk of HIV infection.

One: We light candles.  Let them lift our hopes.

People: Let them also light our hands as we work, educate, act, and care to stop HIV and AIDS.

One: On this day, God, end our silence.  On this day, end our fear and begina new fight for life.

People: Replace the sound of this disease with the sound of our voices speaking out, lifting up, teaching, demanding change.

One: God, give us the strength and conviction to be the hope we seek in the world.

People: God, break through into the world through us.  Help us end the silence; help us be the word that is the end of AIDS. Amen

This litany was written by Eric C. Smith, interim executive for health and wholeness advocacy and minister for HIV and AIDS ministries for Wider Church Ministries: A Covenanted Ministry of the United Church of Christ. Copyright © 2002 Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH.  Permission is granted to reproduce this material for use in services of worship or church education. 

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