Sunday, 26 January 2020

Prayers and confession on
Holocaust Memorial Day

‘Never Again’ … the Holocaust Memorial in Corfu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

An opening prayer:

God of all people everywhere,

You reveal yourself in myriad ways, speaking through different voices to enlighten our world and enrich our lives.

All are created in your image but, in the face of prejudice and persecution, too often we fail to stand together.

So we gather today in memory:

We remember the lives of those who were murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

We give thanks for those who have courageously shared their stories.

We recommit ourselves to transform the world through your love.

Silence

A Prayer of Confession:

For too long:
We walked different ways.
For too long:
We let what separates us define us.
For too long:
We turned a blind eye.
For far too long.

When it mattered so much, we did not stand with you.

We did not see the sights you saw, hear the sounds you heard, or feel the pain you felt, through persecution and hardship and unprecedented levels of brutal inhumanity.

But now we have listened:

We have come to walk more closely,
And we commit to a new relationship.

We are here to remember.

We recall the longed-for liberation, and now we seek justice and truth.

We did not walk with you into those dark places but we walk together now, we stand together now.

For it matters still.

We will stand together.

A prayer for Holocaust Memorial Day:

God of the past, present, and future, we remember today, 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, the millions of other victims of Nazi persecution, and all those who have been targeted and killed in subsequent genocides.

We remember those who, having survived genocide, share their stories with us:
We give thanks to You for the lessons of human stories, both in their suffering and in their joy.

We remember those who stood up against injustice and saved lives:
We give thanks to You for their example.

Together we acknowledge the sacrifice of those that stood together with those who suffered during the Holocaust and other genocides.
And we affirm that every life is loved by You and sacred.

Yet, during the Holocaust too many failed to stand together with their neighbours. Oppression stains Your world and contradicts Your love.

So we pray that You will inspire us now as we stand together on this day in the love that we know of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us commit to remembering:

And glorify God in our words and actions.

We make these prayers in the name of Christ Jesus who, through His life, death, and resurrection, journeys with us into the eternal hope of Your truth and light.
Amen.

These resources were prepared for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, and the Presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) have asked churches to use these prayer on the Sunday closest to Holocaust Memorial Day 2020. They were used at Morning Prayer in Castletown Church, Co Limerick, and the Parish Eucharist in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, on Sunday 26 January 2020

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