That they may become one in your hand
(Ezekiel 37:15-19, 22-24a)
“L” refers to the leader(s) of worship and are chosen from the churches present at worship.
“A” refers to the assembly gathered for worship.
A gong or bell is sounded three times to indicate the beginning of the service followed by a moment of silence.
The worship leaders together with those participants carrying the Bible and a simple cross enter. (The cross may be made from local wood and bound together as a symbol of the unity inspired by the Ezekiel text.)
L : May the grace and peace of God our Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit be with you always.
A : And also with you
L : Come near to God, let us come near to God, who is merciful towards us and the source of our hope and longing.
The worship leader or the pastor of the host congregation welcomes the assembly and briefly introduces the 2009 celebration, placing it within the framework of the chosen theme.
Act of Repentance
L : This year's worship has been proposed by Christians in Korea, one people divided into two countries. We will hear the prophet Ezekiel who had a vision of God uniting two separate pieces of wood. We gather as Christians from divided communities, praying for forgiveness for the scandal of our disunity and our inability to be ambassadors of reconciliation in the world. What paths of personal and ecclesial conversion must we take to arrive at full communion in Christ?
L : Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, Lord, hear my voice.
A : Lord, we cry out to you, but so often we cry with many voices.
L : May your ears be attentive to my prayer.
A : We plead for unity but do not pay the price of reconciliation.
L : If you should remember our sins, O Lord, who would survive.
A : Who would survive? We come before you with our failure to respond to the suffering and divisions of the world.
L : But in you, Lord, there is forgiveness, that you may be revered.
A : Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.
L : I await the Lord with all my soul, and I long for his word.
A : My soul waits for the Lord, more fervently than those who watch for the morning.
L : Ezekiel speaks this word of the Lord: I will deliver them from all their iniquities and will cleanse them. Then they shall be my people and I shall be their God. They shall be one in my hand. God, you are our only hope.
A : Help us to be instruments of your reconciliation.
L : O Lord, our God, forgive our sins, have mercy on us and enable us to be reconciled and to return to you and your will. Let the outpourings of your grace and blessing rest upon us as we seek the unity only you can give us. May our churches commit themselves once more to pray for the full unity of all Christians. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
A : Amen
Proclamation of the Word of God
Lector : Ezekiel 37: 15-19, 22-24a
Hymn : Family of Faith - Steven Ottományi
Lord Jesus Christ, who rose from death,
Our spirit's life, our spirit's breath:
You show the way that leads to peace,
Where anger sleeps, where hatreds cease.
O Key of David, open wide
The doors now blocked by human pride.
Come, change our hearts, make clear our need
To follow where your will shall lead.
And still, O Lord, you walk our way;
You walk with us both night and day.
You call us, Lord, in love to be
A sign of hope, of unity.
So lead us, Lord, to live and claim
All that it means to bear your name.
Now make of us one family
of faith, of hope, of charity.
Copyright 8 2007, National Association of Pastoral Musicians and Friars of the Atonement. All rights reserved.
(This hymn may be sung to the following hymn tunes: PROSPECT, LM, W. Walter, Southern Harmony, 1835; OLD 100TH, LM, from Genevan Psalter, attr. to Louis Bourgeois, ca. 1510-1535, PUER NOBIS, LM, adapt. by Michael Prætorius, 1571-1621,DUKE STREET, LM, John Hatton, c. 1710-1793.)
Lector : Romans 8:18-25
L : The Gospel is proclaimed. John 17:8-11
It is customary to invite a guest to preach in the host church = s pulpit.
(A brief period of silence follows the sermon)
Prayers of Intercession
L : With faith we pray to God B Father, Son and Holy Spirit
A : Lord, hear our prayer. ( Sung or spoken .)
Lector 1 : Let us pray for our local Christian communities, our churches and ecumenical groups; for those here present, and those who are absent from our assembly today. Lord, forgive us when we are indifferent to each other, and bring your healing to the wounds and divisions that keep us apart.
Lector 2 : Let us pray for a deeper appreciation of our common baptism into the one body of Christ. Lord, sustain each of us and our communities as we continue on the path towards the unity you desire for all your disciples.
A : Lord, hear our prayer.
Lector 1 : Let us pray for our spiritual leaders and church authorities, that the Spirit may continue to enlighten them and grant them the grace to work in harmony, joy and love.
Lector 2 : Let us pray for all civil authorities. Lord, grant that they may work towards justice and peace, and give them the wisdom to attend to the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable.
A : Lord, hear our prayer.
Lector 1 : Let us pray for all the nations and communities who live with deep divisions and internal conflicts. Lord, we remember in a special way the people of Korea, north and south, that their search for unity in spite of political divisions and separation may bear fruit, and be a sign of hope for all who seek reconciliation in the midst of divisions.
Lector 2 : Let us pray in thanksgiving for those who, inspired by you, Lord, have held an important place in our lives of faith, and for all who have reflected your forgiveness, compassion and love of neighbor. May their gifts and generosity inspire our own desire to give and to serve with our lives.
A : Lord, hear our prayer.
Lector 1 : Let us pray for all those who bring the gospel to bear on the great ethical challenges of our times. Lord, may we each learn to play our own part in mitigating the global and ecological disasters which bring human suffering and threaten your creation.
Lector 2 : Let us pray for all Christian churches and ask for your help, Lord, so that one day they may be able to gather around the table and share the fellowship of holy communion.
A : Lord, hear our prayer.
The Lord's Prayer
L : Each in his or her own language, let us pray together in the words Jesus gave us:
A : Our Father Y
The Sign of Peace
L : As a sign of our commitment to seek reconciliation, let us now offer one another a sign of peace.
( The sign of peace is followed by an appropriate hymn .)
( The cross is brought to the center of worship space as a sign of our reconciliation being the initiative and work of God, who holds us united in his hand. During the profession of the Apostles Creed the cross symbolically links the churches with one another as a reminder of how God and Christ, already holds us “united in the hand of God” .)
The Apostles Creed
L : Let us join together in professing the Apostle's Creed
A : I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Final prayers and dismissal
Lector : ( preferably a young person ) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)
L : We leave this place of prayer to return to the particular circumstances of our own lives. Let us go forth strong in our faith and our hope, for God our Father has made all things new in Jesus Christ. He sends us to witness to his love and to play a role in the new creation. May God, who knows our joy, our anger and our pain, guide us always, and may we be courageous, stay faithful and live a life worthy of the Christian faith.
A : Lord stay with us.
Hymn : ( During the singing of this hymn, the cross is taken to a place of reverence .)
L : Christians gathered here today, brothers and sisters in faith, you/we who would wish to be a sign of reconciliation through the power of the cross:
May the Lord bless you/us and keep you/us
May the Lord make his face shine upon you/us and be gracious to you/us
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you/us and give you/us peace. Amen