4 Corners Festival 2018 ended with an act of acknowledgement and commitment. The acknowledgement of our contributions and complacency to a broken world in general and our fractured Northern Ireland in particular. The commitment is that we would leave this year’s Festival to be peacemakers.
 
The Act of Acknowledgment for every citizen is the idea of Rev Dr Harold Good, who introduced the act on the evening. The liturgy is a wonderfully crafted piece of prayer by Rev David Campton. I am going to come it regularly and think it is a resource that should be widely used.  
 
4 Corners Festival 2018
 
Act of Acknowledgement
 
Gracious God, in your mercy hear us as we acknowledge our failings before you: 
 
For those times when we elevated earthly loyalties and personal ambition over the purposes of your Kingdom  
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have dressed personal prejudices and worldly agendas in pious language and self-righteous indignation 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have been tolerant of injustice, quick to condemn those who sin differently from us, and unwilling to overcome evil with good 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have preferred conquest to service, conflict to peace, revenge to reconciliation, and material wellbeing to spiritual satisfaction 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have been quick to divide people into us and them, and seek the welfare of and ours above them and theirs  
 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have sought the elevation of our rights over the rights of others, and to ignore our responsibilities to others and to you  
 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have misused your gracious gifts, failing to be good stewards of all the good things that have been entrusted to us by previous generations and to leave a healthy legacy for generations to come 
 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have been selective in learning from your word, reluctant in following Christ, fearful in bearing the cross and slow to share your love with others 
 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
For those times when we have divided your church, brought shame on your name, and hampered the proclamation of your good news  [PAUSE]
Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive. 
 
In scripture we are told that if we confess our sins and failings,
God is faithful and just, and will forgive us and make us clean,
Therefore where we truly repent we can know that we are forgiven.
So in repentance we turn away from our failings in the past  
 
Act of Commitment to Reconciliation 
 
At the end of this year’s 4 Corners Festival, now through the power of Christ’s Spirit we commit ourselves to do what God desires, 
 
to love as sacrificially as Christ has loved us;
 
to forgive as we have been forgiven;
 
to engage in the ministry of reconciliation;
 
to seek and make peace;
 
to speak the truth, in love; 
 
to hope unswervingly and proclaim that hope consistently
 
to serve rather than be served,
 
to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but to God what is God’s.
 
to act justly and practice mercy, 
 
and walk humbly with our God
 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
 
There follows a time of silence in which everyone present is invited to consider what practical action s/he will commit to take on in the course of the year ahead: 
 
Loving God as we leave this church tonight, give us your grace.  Help us to remain faithful to this commitment of peace making so as to transform this wounded and wonderful city of Belfast in the here and now for the peace and prosperity of all.  We ask this guided by your Spirit, through Christ our Lord, Amen.