WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2018

PRAYER / WORSHIP: An Ecumenical Celebration of the Word of God
Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power
(Exodus 15:6)

2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

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“L” refers to the leader(s) of worship and is chosen from those churches present at worship.
“A” refers to the assembly gathered for worship.

PROCESSIONAL HYMN

OPENING

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
A: And also with you.

L: Dear friends in Christ, as we gather for this service of prayer for unity, we thank God for our Christian heritage, and for his liberating and saving action in human history.

The resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by the churches of the Caribbean. The history of Christianity in that region contains a paradox. On one hand, the Bible was used by colonizers as justification for the subjugation of the original inhabitants of these lands, and on the other hand, the Bible became a source of consolation and liberation for many who suffered at the hands of the colonizers.

Today, the Bible continues to be a source of consolation and liberation, inspiring the Christian community to address the conditions that currently undermine human dignity and quality of life. As the iron chains of enslavement fall from our hands, a new human bond of love and communion emerges in the human family, expressing the unity prayed for by our Christian communities.

INVOCATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The response to the invocation may be sung.

L: With the Christians of the Caribbean, let us call upon the Holy Spirit to set our hearts on fire as we pray for the unity of the Church.

L: Unite your servants in the bond of unity.
A: Come, Holy Spirit!

L: Teach us to pray.
A: Come, Holy Spirit!

L: Liberate us from the slavery of sin.
A: Come, Holy Spirit!

L: Help us in our weakness.
A: Come, Holy Spirit!

L: Restore us as your children.
A: Come, Holy Spirit!

HYMN OF PRAISE

PRAYERS OF RECONCILIATION

L: Let us call upon the mercy of God, confident in the saving power of God’s Right Hand.

Three members of the assembly come forward, each carrying a chain. After each petition and response, one of the chains is allowed fall to the ground. The Kyrie response may be sung.

L: From structures that undermine human dignity and enforce new forms of enslavement, deliver us, O God. Kyrie eleison.
A: Kyrie eleison.

L: From decisions and deeds that impose poverty, marginalization or discrimination on our brothers and sisters, deliver us, O God. Kyrie eleison.
A: Kyrie eleison.

L: From the fear and suspicion that separate us from each other and place limits on hope and healing, deliver us, O God. Kyrie eleison.
A: Kyrie eleison.

L: The Lord is our strength and our might, and has become our salvation. May God, who has redeemed us, lead into the abode of holiness.
A: Amen.

PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD OF GOD

L: Redeem us, O God, from human oppression,
A: That we may keep your precepts.

L: Make your face shine upon your servants,
A: And teach us your statutes.

FIRST READING:

L: Listen and you will be set free. A reading from the book of Exodus 15:1-21
A: Thanks be to God.

PSALM 118:5-7, 10-24

Response: O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!

Reader:
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. Response:

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my might;
He has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous. Response:

The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord. Response:

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it. Response:

I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. Response:

SECOND READING:
L: Listen and you will be set free. A reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8:12-27
A: Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL:
L: Listen and you will be set free. A reading from the Gospel according to Mark 5:21-43
A: Thanks be to God.

SERMON

HYMN/SONG

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

(Each intercession is read by a different reader. As they finish, the readers each join hands or link arms with members of the assembly, thus creating a human chain.)

L: With thanks for our liberation from slavery to sin, let us place our needs before the Lord, asking Him to shatter the chains that enslave us and to join us instead with bonds of love and communion.

Reader: God of the Exodus, you led your people through the waters of the Red Sea and redeemed them. Be with us now and free us from all forms of slavery and from everything that obscures human dignity.
A: Lay your hands on us, O Lord, that we may live.

Reader: God of abundance, in your goodness you provide for all our needs. Be with us now, help us to rise above selfishness and greed and give us the courage to be agents of justice in the world.
A: Lay your hands on us, O Lord, that we may live.

Reader: God of love, you created us in your image and have redeemed us in Christ. Be with us now, empower us to love our neighbor and to welcome the stranger.
A: Lay your hands on us, O Lord, that we may live.

Reader: God of peace, you remain faithful to your covenant with us even when we wander from you, and in Christ you have reconciled us to yourself. Be with us now and put a new spirit and a new heart within us that we may reject violence and instead be servants of your peace.
A: Lay your hands on us, O Lord, that we may live.

Reader: God of glory, you are all-powerful, yet in Jesus you chose to make your home in a human family, and in the waters of Baptism have adopted us as your children. Be with us now and help us to remain faithful to our family commitments and our communal responsibilities, and to strengthen the bonds of communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
A: Lay your hands on us, O Lord, that we may live.

Reader: God, One in Three Persons, in Christ you have made us one with you and with one another. Be with us now and by the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit, free us from the self-centeredness, arrogance and fear that prevent us from striving towards the full visible unity of your Church.
A: Lay your hands on us, O Lord, that we may live.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

L: Let us join our hands, bound not by chains but by the love of Christ that has been poured into our hearts, and pray to the Father in the words that Jesus taught us.

Our Father...

THE PEACE

L: The peace of the Lord be with you always. Let us give one another a sign of peace.

COMMISSIONING

L: Redeemed by the Right Hand of God, and united in the One Body of Christ, let us go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit.

A: The Spirit of the Lord is upon us, because the Lord has anointed us to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Amen! Alleluia!

L: Go in God’s Peace.
A: Thanks be to God.

HYMN/SONG: