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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
2014

PRAYER / WORSHIP: Ecumenical Celebration of the Word of God

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Has Christ Been Divided? (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:13)

“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

The worship leaders and others may enter in procession.

GATHERING OF THE COMMUNITY

L: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus.
A: Amen.
L: This worship service was prepared in Canada. The word, “Canada,” in the language of some of the country’s first people, the Iroquois, means “village.” As members of the household of God, Christians around the world indeed inhabit one “village.” When Christians worship, they link themselves to this vast global village, so full of beauty, of struggle and of hope. Dear friends, we welcome you to join together in prayer through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray: Loving God, you call all of us: from our homes and from our offices, from our mines and from our factories, from our fields and from our shops, from our fishing boats and from our herds, from our schools and from our hospitals, from our prisons and from our detention centers, to be one in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
A: Make us one in Christ.

L: The indigenous peoples of Canada honor an ancient ritual of praying while facing in different directions. With them, let us unite in prayer, facing each of the directions as indicated:

Facing East
L: From the East, the direction of the rising sun, we receive peace and light and wisdom and knowledge.
A: We are grateful for these gifts, O God.

Facing South
L: From the South comes warmth, guidance, and the beginning and the end of life.
A: We are grateful for these gifts, O God.

Facing West
L: From the West comes the rain, purifying waters, to sustain all living things.
A: We are grateful for these gifts, O God.

Facing North
L: From the North comes the cold and mighty wind and the white snows, giving us strength and endurance.
A: We are grateful for these gifts, O God.

Turning towards the front, and facing upward
L: From the heavens we receive darkness and light and the air of Your breath.
A: We are grateful for these gifts, O God.

Facing downward
L: From the earth we come and to the earth we will return.
A: We are grateful, O God, for your good creation, our earthly home.

L: May we walk good paths, blessed God, living on this earth as brothers and sisters should; rejoicing in one another’s blessings, sympathizing in one another’s sorrows, and together with you, in the name of Jesus, and with the Spirit’s awakening breath, renewing the face of the earth.
A: Amen.

HYMN OF PRAISE

PRAYERS OF REPENTANCE

L: Inspired by Paul’s appeal to the community  of Corinth, let us confess our sins.
L: Gracious God, through our union with Christ Jesus you have made us rich in speech and in knowledge of every kind. In our pride, we attribute these gifts to ourselves and do not recognize their true source. Forgive us, Lord.
A: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
L: Gracious God, in Christ we are not lacking in any spiritual gift. Yet, often we are too timid or too self-absorbed to share the marvels of this life-giving message with those around us.Forgive us, Lord.
A: Lord, have mercy.
 L:
Gracious God, you call us to fellowship in your Son, Jesus Christ. For our lack of enthusiasm to be united in one mind and one purpose; for too readily allowing divisions and quarrels to persist among us, forgive us, Lord.
A: Lord, have mercy. 
L:
Gracious God, you remain faithful even while seeing our weakness. Forgive our sins of mediocrity and our too easy acceptance of divisions among us. By the grace of your Holy Spirit, rekindle our zeal to take concrete steps to honor our covenant of unity with you, with one another, and with all of creation.                                           
A: Amen.

WE LISTEN FOR THE WORD OF GOD

LECTOR 1: Isaiah 57:14-19
PSALM: Psalm 36:5-10
LECTOR 2: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
L: The Gospel is proclaimed. Mark 9:33-41

THE SERMON

WE RESPOND IN FAITH AND UNITY

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

L: Let us join together in professing the Apostles’ Creed.
A: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He 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, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 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.

HYMN OF FAITH AND COMMITMENT

ECUMENICAL EXCHANGE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Those preparing the service have gathered beforehand to reflect on the various gifts of the churches in the community. Either local gifts or gifts of their wider tradition maybe selected. Representatives of the different churches bring objects representing the gifts that their tradition brings to the whole Christian community. The gifts are brought forward and then placed on a table. A leader may announce the gifts using this or a similar format:
L: From the ______________ church, we gratefully receive the gift of ___________ represented here by ___________.
A: We are grateful for these gifts, O God.

COLLECT
L: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you.” Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly city, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and forever.
A: Amen.

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS

L: We pray for all people who suffer day to day in poverty and hunger. Their precarious state often causes divisions; may Christ’s love restore justice and peace. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for all those striving for universal education. May their thirst for knowledge build bridges between our churches and restore respect in our differences. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for those striving for equal dignity and rights of all people. May the image of God be honored in all women and men. We remember especially the need for equal access to jobs, goods and services. As we become one in Christ Jesus, may we fully receive the gifts of both men and women. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for the young who are sick and those who seek to improve child health. As we take care of children, may we welcome Jesus himself. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for women who bear children, and for their maternal health. May we take care of these mothers who carry new life and whose love for their children reminds us of God’s uniting love for us. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for those who combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. May we hear the voices of those denied a life of dignity, and work to create a world in which all people are respected and cared for, and where no one is excluded. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for all who suffer the consequences of the poor stewardship of creation, and for all endangered species. Guide us to environmental sustainability so we can be reconciled with creation. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.
L: We pray for those who practice international solidarity and global partnership. As we favor a fair trade of goods and we cancel debt in the poorest countries, may we also strive for justice. Gracious God, hear our prayer,
A: And in your love, answer.

THE LORD’S PRAYER
L: As we strive to realize these goals, may we discern your voice, O Lord, and journey together towards the Kingdom for which you prayed. And so we pray:
A: Our Father…

SIGN OF PEACE
L: In the French-speaking Province of Québec today, the expression “Don de Dieu —”gift of God” —has a fresh vitality in the Christian community and in popular culture. It recalls a sense of gratitude for the gifts of God which comes from a time when their ancestors were able to share in thanksgiving with the First Nations of Canada. As a sign of our peace and a way to recognize the gifts we receive from one another, let us say to each other with French-Canadians, “Don de Dieu.” As we greet one another with an embrace, bow, or handshake we say:
A: Don de Dieu/Gift of God

OFFERING HYMN (A collection may be taken during this hymn.)

WE GO FORTH INTO THE WORLD

COMMITMENT TO UNITY

L: Paul challenged the Christians in Corinth to know in their hearts and to show in their actions that Christ has not been divided. He challenges us, too, to realize more fully the unity we already have in Christ. With all those in every place who call on the Lord Jesus Christ,
A: Together, we are called to be saints.
L: Graced by God in every way,
A: Together, we give thanks for one another.
L: Rich in the many blessings God has given us through our union in Christ,
A: Together, we are not lacking in any spiritual gift.
L: Sure in the God who strengthens us for love and service,
A: Together, we affirm that God is faithful.
L: Embraced by Jesus Christ,
A: Together, we are called into fellowship.
L: United in the same mind and the same purpose,
A: Together, we seek to be in agreement.
L: Overcoming our quarrels about the one who was crucified for us,
A: Together, we belong to Christ.
L: Has Christ, then, been divided?
A: No! Together, we go into the world to proclaim his good news!

BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH

L: The Lord be with you.
A: And also with you.
L: May the love of the Lord Jesus draw you to himself, may the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in his service, may the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your spirit, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever.
A: Amen.
L: Go in peace, to love and to be loved, to welcome and to belong to serve and to be nourished.
A: Thanks be to God!

SENDING HYMN