Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
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Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources for each individual pericope:
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
272-The Church’s one foundation
342-Lord, you have come to the lakeshore
453-Called as partners in Christ’s service
395 – Seed, Scattered and Sown
393 – One bread, one body
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2017, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
On 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
We hear the message of the cross;
there is no other sign.
Though folly rings in falling ears,
to us God’s power shows.
The singular, exalted cross
impales dissenting earth
and registers the single flair
uniting every heart.
Now are we one for evermore
in Jesus, crucified.
And in his passion are we borne
to share God’s saving love.
CM Suggested tune: Oxford New
Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:
Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: Psalm 27 in part is on page 736. Or see Call to Worship below.
Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.
Call to Worship (adapted by the editor from Psalm 27)
L: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.
P: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
L: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.
P: The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
L: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.
P: We come in hope of seeing God’s goodness in the land of the living. We will wait for the Lord.
L: The God of all creation makes us one in the flesh.
P: Let us join hearts and voices in praise.
L: In Jesus Christ, we are made one in the Spirit.
P: Let us be united in truth through the same one Spirit.
L: We practice our faith in many different ways.
P: Yet we confess one Lord Jesus Christ.
L: We render different forms of ministry.
P: Yet our calling is one because Christ is undivided.
L: Rejoice, people of God: The Risen Christ is among us, calling us together at his one Table.
P: Praise the Lord!
Invocation or Prayer of Approach
We wait for you, O God, as in the silent watches of the night. Come and make your presence known here among us, we pray, as we offer you our praise and, indeed, our very lives; for we pray in the name of Jesus the Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
OR (by Editor for Scott Lectures worship at Bethany Memorial Church, 2009)
God whose very nature is wholeness and life, we give you thanks that in this holy assembly today you have called together people from different places, of many gifts, and with a multitude of ways of serving and loving. Make us one, Lord, even as you and your Christ are one, as we hear his clarion call to gather in the one body to feast on the word and receive from your hand the blessed gifts of bread and cup. Make us ready, Lord – ready to listen, ready to hear, ready to go and do your will, that we all may be one in essence, in intent, and in constitution, so that the world may know you in and among us. This we pray in the strong name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
Prayers for Christian Unity (misc. and unknown sources)
O Lord Jesus Christ, you prayed for your disciples that they might be one. Look in pity upon the many divisions among those who profess your name, and heal the many wounds which the passions and pride of mortals have inflicted upon your church. Shed abroad in the hearts of your people the spirit of love, which will break down the walls of separation. Help us to realize that, as there is in heaven only one holy company abiding in love, so on earth there may be only one holy fellowship of your people abiding in the unity of love and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We give you thanks, O Lord, for the life and ministry of Jesus, your Child, and for the life and ministry you have opened to us through him. As this broken bread was scattered on the mountain, but was brought together and became one, so let your church be gathered together into one, that your reign may be known throughout the earth.
Great God, you are One, and you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken. Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth, that we may become one family of your children. Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit, that we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend.
MORE: See the World Council of Churches page
Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions
In these quieter times, God of peace, as in the busyness of our hectic days, you hear the true prayers of not just what we say, but also what we do and who we are. Hear us as we join our hearts in unity to pray for your church. May we be united in your truth, committed in your love, and sanctified by your grace, that with one heart and one voice we might proclaim your gospel., in word and deed, praising you for your abiding presence in our midst as a community of faith.
We pray for our fellow creatures, this world which you lovingly made, and the people of earth with all their diversity and commonality. We lift to you those in our world who weep, and those who cause their weeping; those without food, clothing, shelter or a means of sustaining life with the dignity of one whom you have created. We pray for those who distort the good news of the gospel, who make gods out of things, out of themselves, out of their systems, institutions or structures…and who find it all so hollow and empty.
We pray for those who live without meaning and hope, who live as objects of the whims of others, and those who live in broken families, broken communities, and a broken world. Lead your church, we pray, toward a new vision of our mission to them in Christ—the vision of shalom—both those who are afar off in other lands, but also here, where each of us may encounter them personally.
Tender and compassionate friend, give us the assurance that you are here among your people, and the gifts of quiet and rest in this celebration of your word and table. Enable us with your guidance to be your church and to do your will in our common life together. Pour out your Spirit on those who are suffering, especially as we lift to you our own needs and the needs of those whose lives are closely linked with our own:__________, and those we name in the silence of our hearts.
Bless us to follow in the paths of those saints who have gone before us in faith, whose steps were taken in the sure and certain comfort of your presence, that we may faithfully glorify you now, in your church and your world, forever. For these prayers we offer in the name and spirit of Jesus, your Christ, our Lord.
Prayers from Common Worship* Collect Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Post Communion Almighty Father, whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world: may your people, illumined by your word and sacraments, shine with the radiance of his glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Additional Collect God of all mercy, your Son proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed: anoint us with your Holy Spirit and set all your people free to praise you in Christ our Lord.
Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2016, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
Where time arrives, the word supplies.
You bring fulfillment to the brink of hope
and satisfy reluctant haunts and fears.
Begin in this beginning
by calling to our hearts
that we in sheer surprise
may rise, abandon all,
and follow at your joy.
Service of Table
Offertory / Invitation to Give
The apostle writes: “My sisters and brothers, I implore you by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to God; a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for God’s acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart. Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature be transformed. Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and know what is good, acceptable and perfect.
O God, through the offering of these gifts, we become a more open people—open-minded in hearing your word and wisdom, open-hearted in healing a broken world, open-handed in heeding your call to charity and enacted love. With thanks for all good gifts, we present a portion of our substance and the whole of ourselves. Amen.
Invitation to the Table
At this table, the church remembers and celebrates the love of God. The act of sharing bread and wine is a statement of faith and an expression of assurance. Communion happens in many different ways in different churches throughout the world, and in each place brings a new meaning of life in the Spirit of God that is right for that community.
But above all, here believers join themselves to the Lord of life. Death, which shows itself in sins, injustice, oppression and despair, yields to concrete demonstrations of life which produce peace, justice, hope, liberation and salvation.
This meal is an act of expectation. We, in the midst of our daily lives, proclaim the imminent manifestation of the kingdom of God. Hope replaces sorrow; joy surpasses tears; the power of life triumphs over the reign of death. As an act of faith surpassing the limits of time and place, we sing along with John in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ: “Now God’s home is with mortals! He will live with them and they shall be his people. God will personally be with them, and will be their God. God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be an end to death. There will be no more grief nor crying nor pain, for the old order has passed away.”
Eucharist for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (from William Flewelling)
that one Bread of Heaven was broken
and scattered to feed the multitudes
upon the earth.
As we come to partake the One Holy Loaf,
feed us and draw us to unity of heart
in Jesus Christ.
Create in us the oneness which embraces
your people in full measured Christian love
over our proud division,
stopping us from calling anyone
our brother, our sister.
Feed us and make of us your people, Lord God,
gathered in the bread Jesus took for us
and blessed, broke, gave to us:
This is my body.
Refresh us and make to flow in our veins
as we are set together in the one cup
Jesus gave to us:
This is my blood of the new covenant.
By the grace of the Holy Spirit,
fill our lives with the passion of Christ,
a longing to include in our communion
all the peoples loving you,
that our joy may be complete
in Jesus Christ our one Lord.
Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
- Lord, as your servant Jesus took notice of those fishermen long ago, and called to them to follow, we who gather at your table today hear his voice again. Give us, we pray, a heart of thankfulness for this bread which you have given for that journey, and as we receive it, give us strength to journey on with him into the tomorrows which lie ahead.
- Bless, O God, this cup, which is for us the wine of salvation. Pour forth your Spirit upon it, and upon us as we receive it, that we might be empowered to live faithfully as disciples of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Conclusion: Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.
If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”
Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.
Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.
You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.
Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.
Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2016. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2016 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2016; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010. The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary
Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.
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