A Service of Scripture, Prayer, and Music

in the Aftermath of the Great Tsunami

Deer Creek Harmony Presbyterian Church

Darlington, Maryland

December 30, 2004 ? 6:00 ? 7:30 p.m.

Last evening at Deer Creek Harmony Presbyterian Church in Darlington, MD, we held a prayer service for the victims of the tsunami disaster.  It consisted of Scripture, music, and silent prayer.  The idea was for people to drop in from 6 ? 7:30 for silent prayer.  I put together a service using music to shape and interpret the Bible passages, with intervals of silence in between.  We are a tiny congregation, our organist was away, the choir is scattered over the holidays ? so, I used recorded music. 

Rev. Barbara Stumpf
Deer Creek Harmony Presbyterian Church (P.C.U.S.A.)
Darlington, MD 21034 

We grieve with those who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods to the tsunami that devastated Asian and African nations this past week.  To God we offer our full human response ? including disbelief, questioning, anger, sorrow ? asking God?s Spirit to pray for us even when we do not know how to pray.  May God breathe peace and hope into our troubled hearts so we may bring comfort, hope, and peace to those in need.


            (?Welcome.  We gather this evening for a time of quiet prayer shaped by Scripture and music.  At a time like this, a time of great disaster, we react on many levels at once.  Scripture, music, and silence are gifts of God that can encompass the complexity of our responses and help re-order a world that has been ? literally ? shaken on its axis.  Our time together will follow a rhythm of Scripture, music, and silence.  There is a progression to the Scripture readings,  so you may find it beneficial to remain through the entire service; however, please feel free to come and go.  Stay for as much as is helpful to you.  May we find a peace in this time together that enables us to pass on Christ?s gift of ?peace that passeth all understanding.?)


Opening Music:  ?Be Still and Know,? God Never Sleeps: Songs from the Iona Community, John Bell conducting the Cathedral Singers, 1995.

          (Lighting of candles as music plays.)

Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Psalm 90: 1, 2 

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

          Music: ?Before the World Began,? God Never Sleeps.



Psalm 91: 1-4a

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, ?My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge.

Isaiah 54: 10

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

?O Wondrous Love,? traditional American, O Magnum Mysterium, Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Singers, Telarc



Psalm 57: 1-3

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.  Cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.  He will send from heaven and save me, he will put to shame those who trample on me.  God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.

Psalm 130: 1-6 

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD, Lord, hear my voice!  Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!  If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?  But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

?I Will Love Thee, O Lord,? Humulescu/Hazell, Christmas Adagios, Decca, 2001



Psalm 10: 1, 12-18

Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? . . .  Rise up, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed.  Why do the wicked renounce God, and say in their hearts, ?You will not call us to account??  But you do see!  Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan.  Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers; seek out their wickedness until you find none.  The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land.  O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more.

?Amazing Grace,? Newton/Shaw, Magnum Mysterium



Matthew 5: 2-4

Then [Jesus] began to speak, and taught them, saying:

?Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

?Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.?

John 14:  1-3

?Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father?s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.?

?Suo Gân,? traditional Welsh, Christmas with Chanticleer, Teldec Classics, 2001



Lamentations 3: 22-24 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  ?The Lord is my portion,? says my soul, ?therefore I will hope in him.?

Romans 8:  22-25

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  For in hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

?O Magnum Mysterium,? Morten Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium



2 Corinthians 1: 3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 

?If Ye Love Me,? Thomas Tallis, O Magnum Mysterium



Revelation 21: 1-4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ?See, the home of God is among mortals.  He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.  Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more; for the first things have passed away.?

?And I Saw a New Heaven,? Edgar Bainton, Bluebird: Voices from Heaven, The Choir of New College, Oxford

(Silence and extinguishing of candles)


(The Scripture quotations used are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.)