To learn more about Salvadoran Pastors Ruth and Alex Orantes, and for information about contributing to support their ministries in El Salvador, please visit

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Prayer of Hope for El Salvador - Nov 2009

In worship at Central Baptist Church today, we joined in a litany of hope for El Salvador, written for the congregation by Kathleen Bailey. This is our community's prayerful response to reports of increasing violence, especially in reflections recently shared with us by Alex Orantes. (See previous post with Alex's reflections that inspired this prayer.)

In this season, we remember the upcoming anniversaries of the martyrdom of the Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter on Nov 16, 1989, as well as the four U.S. churchwomen on Dec 2, 1980. We pray for all who are still today struggling against violence and for those who work to transform our communities into places where peace is a reality.

The full text of the litany is included below. Watch the video here, or click to watch the youtube video of our prayer.

A Prayer of Hope for El Salvador

Leader 1: The Light shines in the darkness,
Leader 2: And the darkness cannot put out the Light!

People: God of Light and Life, no darkness is too deep for your illumination, no wound so grave as to be beyond your healing. O God, your heart beats within us for the Salvadoran land and for its people. Send your Spirit among them to succor, sustain, and comfort those who are uprooted, injured and dying in the terrible wake of violence.

Leader 2: The Light shines in the darkness,

People: And the darkness cannot put out the Light!

Leader 1: We remember the darkness in 1980 when Archbishop Romero was assassinated, and we remember his words, “Justice cannot be killed.” Lord, in your mercy,

All: Hear our prayer.

Leader 2: We remember the darkness also in 1980 when the four church women, Dorothy Kazel, Jean Donovan, Ita Ford and Maura Clarke were assassinated. The night before she died, Ita Ford quoted Romero, saying, “One who is committed to the poor must risk the same fate as the poor. And in El Salvador we know what the fate of the poor signifies: to disappear, to be tortured, to be captive and found dead.” Lord, in your mercy,

All: Hear our prayer.

Leader 1: We remember the darkness in 1989 when six Jesuit priests from the University of Central America, their housekeeper and her 15 year old daughter were brutally murdered. Lord, in your mercy,

All: Hear our prayer.

Leader 2: Now, in 2009, we know the darkness again as we lift up to You in prayer: two old men slain by machetes; a young husband—trying to support his pregnant wife—shot under a streetlight; a fruit-seller shot without mercy outside the gates of the Baptist School in Santa Ana; the pastor of our partner church and our friend, Ruth Orantes, robbed and grieved; and a country once again knowing the fear of daily violence on their streets and in their neighborhoods, a country with one of the highest rates of homicide in the world.Lord, in your mercy,

All:Hear our prayer.

Leader 1: Guide us as we continue to walk with our Salvadoran sisters and brothers. Guide us as we accompany your faith communities who offer places of refuge to the victims of violence in El Salvador.

Leader 2: You do not leave your people to suffer alone, but we know that You stand close, even in the terrors of the night. You bring the light of hope even in the darkness of oppression.

People: And the darkness cannot put out the Light!

Leader 1: In your mercy and grace, transform hearts and minds so that there might be an end to the violence, an end to the menacing, an end to terror, an end to hatred and, finally, an end to killing so that the peace which so many have died trying to birth might be reality.

All: May God’s Light be with us all.

Litany by Kathleen Bailey, member of Central Baptist Church and El Salvador Partners