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Christian Unity Week 18th – 25th January 2021

This version of the Ecumenical Celebration was prepared by Lynne Chitty,

on behalf of ROOTS for Churches Ltd.

 

Service for use at home

Each person needs a card heart, a pencil/pen and a tea light.

Music is played as people gather and a candle is lit in the middle of a large circle

around which everyone sits.

 

Opening Prayer

Lord, you invite us to abide in you who are the vinedresser who cares for us with love.

You call on us to see the beauty of each branch united to the vine,

the beauty of each person.

And yet, too often the differences in others make us afraid.

We withdraw into ourselves. Our trust in you and one another is lost.

Come and direct our hearts toward you once again.

That as one family we may praise your name.

Amen.

 

Litany of praise

All              You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

Reader 1      We sing your praise in the midst of the world and among all peoples,

Reader 2      We sing your praise in the midst of creation and among all creatures.

All              You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

Reader 1      We sing your praise among suffering and tears,

Reader 2      We sing your praise among promises and achievements.

All              You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you! 

Reader 1      We sing your praise in the places of conflict and misunderstanding;

Reader 2      We sing your praise in the places of encounter and reconciliation.

All              You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you! 

Reader 1      We sing your praise in the midst of rifts and divisions,

Reader 2      We sing your praise in the midst of life and death, the birth of a new heaven and a new earth.

All              You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

 

First Vigil – Abiding in Christ: the unity of the whole person

 

Reading:  Jn 15:1-17   A short time of silence

 

Intercessions

Reader         God of love, through Christ you said to us: “You did not choose me but I chose you.” You  invite us to receive your friendship. Teach us to respond more deeply to this invitation, and to grow and grow in a life that is ever more complete.

 All              The joy of our heart is in God. (all touch their heart and smile)

Reader        God of life, you call us to be praise in the midst of the world and to accept one another. May your loving gaze, which rests upon each person, inspire us to  celebrate  each other just as we are.

 All              The joy of our heart is in God. (all touch their heart and smile)

Reader        God you who gather, you knit us together as one vine in Jesus. May your loving Spirit abide in us at church and in our community that together we may celebrate you with joy.

 All              The joy of our heart is in God. (all touch their heart and smile)

Reader        God of the one vineyard, you call us to live in your love in all we do and say. Touched by your goodness, grant us to be a reflection of that love in our homes, schools and workplaces.

 All              The joy of our heart is in God. (all touch their heart and smile)

 

Action:  A time of silence where we reflect on God’s love, after which music is played as everyone writes/draws their name on their card and takes it up and places it by the candle.

 

 

Second Vigil – The visible unity of Christians

 

Psalm: 85

Reading: 1 Cor 1:10-13a

 

A short time of silence

 

Intercessions

Reader         Holy Spirit, you create and re-create the Church in all places. Come and whisper in our hearts the prayer which Jesus addressed to his Father on the eve of his passion: “that they may all be one… so that the world may believe”.

All              Thank you. Amen.

Reader         Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, light the fire of your love in us so that suspicions and misunderstanding cease in the Church. May the walls that separate us fall.

All              Thank you. Amen.

Reader         Holy Spirit, Consoler of all, open our hearts to forgiveness and reconciliation and bring us back to you when we lose our way.

All              Thank you. Amen.

Reader         Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, give us poverty of spirit so that we may be open to your grace.

All              Thank you. Amen.

Reader         Holy Spirit, you never abandon the men, women and children who are persecuted for their faithfulness to the gospel. Give them strength and courage, and support those who help them.

All              Thank you. Amen.

 

Action:   Let us exchange a sign of Christ’s peace as our prayer and commitment to unity.

 

Then each takes up their tea light and lights it from the main candle and places it by their heart.

 

 

Third Vigil – The unity of all peoples with all creation

 

Psalm: 96        Reading: Rev. 7: 9-12         A short time of silence

Intercessions

Reader         God of life, you have created everyone in your image and likeness. We sing your praise for the gift of our many cultures and traditions. Grant us the courage to stand against injustice and prejudice

All              God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

Reader         O Jesus, you came into the world and shared fully in our humanity. You know the hardships of life for people who suffer in so many different ways. May the Spirit of compassion move us to share our time, gifts and resources with all those in need.

All              God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

Reader         Holy Spirit, you hear the fury of your wounded creation and the cries of those already suffering from climate change. Guide us toward new ways of living that are in harmony with all creation.

All              God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

 

Action: Moving to the centre and out to the world (inspired by a text of Dorotheus of Gaza). Everyone stands and takes a step towards the candle and extends hands towards each other.

 

Reader         At the centre of the world is God, in whom all our desires and longings find their meeting place.

As we move closer to God, so we draw closer to one another. And the closer we come to one another . . .

All              The closer we come to God.

 

Short time of silence followed by the Lord’s Prayer after which people return to their seats and pray using words the Grandchamp nuns pray each day…

 

Reader         Will you pray and work that God may reign?

All              With God’s help, we will.

Reader         Throughout your day will you let the Word of God breathe life into your work and play and rest?

All              With God’s help, we will.

Reader         Will you maintain inner silence in all things so as to dwell in Christ?

All              With God’s help, we will.

                   Amen.

Suitable music could be played at this point.

 

Blessing

Reader         Be one, so that the world may believe! Abide in God’s love, go into the world and bear the fruits of this love.

All              May the God of all creation,  fill us with all joy and all peace in faith, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

                   Amen.

 

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