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Liturgy:

Universal Day of Prayer for Students 2009

“Identity – Diversity – Dialogue”

 

Welcome and sharing peace

Leader: O Master, Lord God, Almighty, the Father of our Lord, our God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, we thank you in every condition, for any condition and in whatever condition. For that you have covered us, preserved us, accepted us, had compassion on us, sustained us, and brought us to this hour. All: Amen

Leader: Jesus said: “Holy Father keep through your name those whom you have given me that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11).

We gather as a part of the human community, of the body of Christ. Let us greet one another in peace and love.

(Participants greet one another with words/signs of peace)

Song to gather the community

Leader: We gather as a community joined by our faith, let us join in the prayer Jesus taught us, each in her or his own language

Lord’s Prayer

Confession

Leader: O God as we gather, in front of us are the three themes: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue. We thank you for the rich and diverse identities you have given to humankind. We thank you for the possibilities for dialogue in our world.

We confess to you that we often don’t understand the blessings of identity, diversity or dialogue. Enlighten our minds and hearts as together we seek respect for all people, loving communication and true community.
All: Kyrie eleison (or Lord have mercy)

Leader: We rejoice that you planted your Gospel of peace, reconciliation and justice in the world as a tree ever flourishing, evergreen for the benefit of all humankind.

We confess that as we seek to live in peace with you and all your people sometimes we feel inadequate and discouraged. We confess that we have difficulty following the way of the saints and all those who well understood your Gospel. All: Kyrie eleison

Leader: We thank you that you have made every person in your own image.

We confess that we forget to treat all people with dignity.

Help us and humankind in all its diversity to live in peace. Help us to defend the human rights of all people and not to turn our backs on our sisters and brothers who are suffering.
All: Kyrie eleison

Leader: We thank you for our faith, for our different confessions, for the Holy Scriptures and for the words of your prophets and saints.

We confess that religion has been misused to suppress diversity, that it has been used to stifle rather enable dialogue.

Help us to recognise and resist all religious aggression and oppression. Help us to overcome all violence and discrimination, especially in our communities and in our Christian tradition.

Empower us to live your Gospel of reconciliation and peace. All: Kyrie eleison

Absolution

Leader: God invites us to put away all negativity and bring to light every positive thing from our diversities. God invites us to use our identities to pursue dialogue and to live the Gospel.

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

Leader: Blessed be the Lord
All: Who has heard the voice of our prayer

Leader: Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
All: And in song will we praise our God. (Ps 28.7,9)

Song of praise

A reading from the Old Testament

Song

A reading from the New Testament

Reflections/Sermon

Silence

Affirmation of Faith

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

All: I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became human; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; His kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets.

I believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins; I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Intercessions

(If possible images appropriate to the prayers should be projected or displayed and those present should be invited to keep their eyes open and use these images as part of their prayers.)

Leader: O God, be with the Palestinian people who are suffering in Gaza today and help them to have peace and justice soon.
All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy

Leader: O God be with all who make decisions to find peace through negotiations and dialogue and who reject war and violence.
All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy

Leader: O God be with every displaced person and refugee, that they may return safe and sound to their original home. We pray for the release of all captives. All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy

Leader: O God guide Arabs and Israelis to find ways of peaceful dialogue and to reject violence and the desire to destroy. All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy

Leader: O God teach people of every religion to find peace, openness and generosity in the message of their ancestors.
All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy

Leader: O God let every Christian discover their true identity which is of the kingdom of heaven. Grant that the gifts you have given to each person may blossom. Strengthen dialogue and unity between all Christians. All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy

Leader: O God we pray for all peoples, that your light may shine upon them, that the spirit of justice and mutual forbearance may be established among them, the spirit of love and peace.

All: To you we cry, O Lord, hear and have mercy.

Silence

Prayer for WSCF

Leader: God, we pray for the World Student Christian Federation, a community of students on a journey. Help us to walk with people who are suffering and oppressed. All: Make your way plain before us (Ps. 5.8)

Leader: Strengthen the work of the Student Christian Movement in schools, colleges and universities, so we may powerfully proclaim your Gospel to the students of the world All: Make your way plain before us

Leader: Bless all those who plan SCM events, who organise students and senior friends, who write magazines, prayers and websites, who participate in liturgies, meetings and protests, who fundraise to enable our journey together, those who pray for WSCF, and all those who keep the Federation’s vision alive All: Make your way plain before us

Leader: Be with all those who work and travel for WSCF, especially the staff, the officers and the Executive Committee
All: Make your way plain before us

Leader: We thank you for our WSCF friends and comrades who have now completed this earthly journey, especially those who have been killed because they sought to walk with you. We give you thanks for their vision and courage All: Make your way plain before us

Leader: Guide WSCF by your Holy Spirit so that our journey together may be one of joy, compassion, solidarity and courage, in Jesus’ name All: Amen.

Song

(during which offerings for the Ecumenical Assistance Programme are collected)

Sending out

Leader: God help us to find and cherish our true identity as individuals and as a community. We pray that we may be a true community of God with an identity of unity, understanding and love.
All: Amen

Leader: God help us to understand the rich diversity of humanity not as a matter of separation and division but as a positive reality. Help us to give each other space, and help us to work together as we celebrate our diversity.
All: Amen

Leader: God teach us to listen to each other. Open our hearts so that we may feel the breath and play of your Spirit. Unclench our hands so that we may reach out to one another, and touch and be healed. Open our lips that we may drink in the delight and wonder of life. Unclog our ears to hear your agony in our humanity.

Open our eyes, that we may see Christ in friend and stranger. Breathe your Spirit into us, and touch our lives with the life of Christ.
All: Amen.

Leader: O Lord Jesus, stretch forth your wounded hands in blessing over your people, to heal and restore, and to draw them to yourself and to one another in love.

And may the blessing of God the Creator, the Son and the Holy Spirit be amongst us now and always. All: Amen

 

Sources:
Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, Bread of Tomorrow, UDPS 2007, Celebrating Common Worship

 


 

Preparing for celebration of the UDPS

To prepare for this liturgy please:

  1. Read the liturgy through and adapt it for use in your situation. The structure is a suggestion; different parts are optional and can be modified according to your local situation.
  2. Organise the venue; in your university or college, in a church supportive of your SCM, or in the place where you usually gather with your group.
  3. Brainstorm symbolic acts to illustrate the theme to be carried out during the worship. Two examples:
    • On diversity: Each person is given several pieces of paper of different colours and textures of an interlocking shape (not circular). Everyone is invited to think and write or draw a picture about a core aspect of their identity on a piece of paper. The leader invites people to think about what they especially and uniquely bring to the body of Christ and to draw or write this on the papers, people then move forward and place the pieces of paper on a large piece of paper at the front.
    • On identity: using the text Revelations 2: 17, ‘Let anyone who has an ear to hear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it’.
    • As part of the reflection everyone is given a small white stone to hold. In silence they look at it and think about their own identity. The leader invites people to consider silently: What is your identity? What makes you unique? What are your gifts? What is known only to you and God?
    • The leader invites people to turn to their neighbour and discuss: How do you relate with identities other than your own? How can we embrace each other’s identities in respect and love? How can your identity be a source of dialogue instead of conflict?
    • At the offering everyone brings forward their stone and places it so that each stone touches others on either side.
  4. Find someone or some people (student, senior friend or clergy) to prepare a sermon/reflection. It would be appropriate for the sermon/reflection to be about the scripture readings chosen or generally on the theme. Inviting local students to share their own experiences and to participate in the liturgy is recommended.
  5. Find people to lead the music
  6. In consultation with those who will lead the music select the songs and music for the liturgy.
  7. Organise baskets for offerings.
  8. Find people to lead the liturgy; try to have several people (women and men, students and senior friends) taking the leader’s part
  9. Announce that there will be a collection for WSCF’s Ecumenical Assistance Programme. After the service send an electronic transfer or cheque to WSCF in Geneva.
  10. Invite students and senior friends to share this liturgy

 

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