An Ecumenical Celebration of the Word
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2005

All things are yours... you belong to Christ... and Christ, the unique foundation, belongs to God.
(1 Corinthians
3:1-23)

"L(s)" refers to leader(s) of worship. These are to be chosen from the churches present at the worship. "C" refers to the cantor, who leads the congregational singing/psalmody. "A" refers to the assembly gathered for worship.

Prelude

Opening of the Worship:
P
rocession, Hymn and Welcome

Leaders of the churches present for the service and other liturgical ministers form the processional body. A hymn emphasizing Christ as the unique foundation accompanies the procession. A plain cross is carried in the lead, as it will be used later in the service, and placed in a position of prominence in the sanctuary. A container holding large stones is already present in the front of the church, also for later use. The host churchís leader welcomes those present, with reference to the scriptural theme, in the name of the Triune God.

Opening Prayer

L: Living God, we give thanks to you for your great works among us. We thank you especially for Jesus Christ who through his death on the cross has saved us. Keep us close to Jesus, seeking comfort and joy, healing and wisdom at the foot of his life-giving cross. With all the faithful, and all creation, we praise you; through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
A: Amen.

Litany of Thanksgiving

It is recommended that this be led by two leaders, L1 and L2.

L1: Because I love you, O my people, I was born in Bethlehem. They call me Emmanuel, for I am God-with-you, for ever and ever.
A: We praise you Lord.

L2: I went down into the Jordan where I was baptized in the water, as a sign of the baptism in the Spirit who would come that all flesh might be purified and renewed.
A: We praise you Lord.

L1: I proclaimed the good news of the reign of God, a reign of justice and mercy, of love and truth, peace an joy. My hands cured the sick, my presence brought peace.
A: We praise you Lord.

L2: I brought you together, little flock, as a hen gathers her chicks, as a shepherd gathers his sheep. I wanted to take you on my shoulders and lead you into heaven.
A: We praise you Lord.

L1: I broke bread and offered new wine to forge a covenant with you and to give you life in all its fullness. I prayed to my Father that my joy might be in you.
A: We praise you Lord.

L2: I died on a cross of wood, for the forgiveness of sins and to bring back the scattered children of God. On the third day I rose from the dead.
A: We praise you Lord.

L1: From my place beside the Father, I pour down upon you the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will remind you of all that I have taught you. The Holy Spirit is the breath of life. The Holy Spirit is light and consolation, the force of your witness and the inspiration of your prayer.
A: We praise you Lord.

L2: Listen to me O my people, for I am with you always until the end of time, that you may be one with me as I am one with my Father, that the world may believe. Listen to my voice, my people and follow me so that there is but one flock and one Shepherd.
A: We praise you Lord.

A Hymn of Praise

Proclamation of the Word of God

Lector: Genesis 28:10-17.

Cantor: Psalm 118:16-24. (Chanted, recited or sung in an alternative composition).
C: The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
A: The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

C: "The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly."
A: The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

C: I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

C: The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

C: Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

C: This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

C: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

C: This is the LORDíS doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

C: This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
A: The stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone.

Lector: 1 Corinthians 3:1-23.

L: The Gospel is proclaimed: Matthew 7:24-27.

The Sermon

The sermon may be preached by a leader of one of the guest churches present.

Confession and Pardon

Between each expression of repentance, members of the congregation come forward, taking a stone from the container and placing the stone at the foot of the plain cross that has been brought in at the procession, as a symbol of Christ as foundation of the church. This gesture expresses our desire for conversion and our renewed belonging in Christ for the construction of the one church.

L1: Lord, you are peace and reconciliation!
L2: Forgive us Lord, for often choosing jealousy and animosity rather than confidence and respect between the churches.
(Silence and the placing of stones at the foot of the cross)

L1: Lord, you give us an abundance of blessings in the unity of faith!
L2: Forgive us Lord, for often choosing isolation and refusing to be a blessing for each other, between churches.
(Silence and the placing of stones at the foot of the cross)

L1: Lord, you have given joy to the afflicted, freedom to the captives, pardon to sinners!
L2: Forgive us Lord, for having closed our hands and turned our faces away from those who need help.
(Silence and the placing of stones at the foot of the cross)

L1: Lord, you have gathered us together as a shepherd gathers his flock and then goes to seek the one sheep that is lost!
L2: Forgive us Lord, for having often strayed far from you, pushing each other away and underlining our divisions.
(Silence and the placing of stones at the foot of the cross)

Prayer for forgiveness

L: Almighty Lord, no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid. That unique foundation is Jesus Christ. We admit that we have not been able to finish building on this foundation in such a way that we may become the dwelling place of God. We have sometimes even been the cause of its ruin. Even if our work should be lost, save us Lord and give us a fresh chance to work for unity. Create in us a powerful longing for the unity of your church and enable us to work towards it.
A: Amen.

Sign of Peace

L: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
A: And also with you.
L: Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

Offering

The host leader of worship designates the recipient of the offering and invites all to participate in giving. A hymn or musical presentation may be sung during the collection.

Intercessions

L: The apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians to encourage them. "All things are yours... you belong to Christ... and Christ, the unique foundation, belongs to God." May we have the same hope as the Corinthian church as we pray for the church of God and for all people.

L: Eternal God, we thank you for calling us by name. In you we live and move and grow. We pray for churches and Christians throughout the world. Remind us of our common foundation in Christ. May we grow together in faith and in love until we attain that unity which is your will.
A: Build us together in Christ. Make us your dwelling place.

L: Send down your Spirit so that we may know Jesus and bear witness to our life and unity in him. May we know the mind of Christ in order to proclaim Godís wisdom everywhere. We pray for the work of Faith and Order in North America. Strengthen us to work towards peace and reconciliation in church and society.
A: Build us together in Christ. Make us your dwelling place.

L: We pray for all churches which are experiencing change Ė growth or struggle, reconciliation or conflict. Inspire and strengthen them in works of witness and service.
A: Build us together in Christ. Make us your dwelling place.

L: We pray for those who have no home, no land, no food, no work, no medicine, no peace. May we recognize and serve Christ in the suffering and the needy.
A: Build us together in Christ. Make us your dwelling place.

L: We thank you for all your gifts of creation. Teach us to share with others our time, our energy, our resources and our love. May we be faithful to our calling and live a long life on earth. May we give our whole life to Christ, for we belong to him and in him are united all things in heaven and on earth.
A: Amen.

The Lordís Prayer

Benediction

L: The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lordís face shine upon you an be gracious unto you. May the Lordís countenance be upon you and give you peace.
A: Amen.

Dismissal

L: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
A: Thanks be to God!

Closing Hymn

Postlude

  

Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute
PO Box 300, Garrison, New York 10524-0300