World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

05 Prayers

01 January 2005

Let there be no gap between us and Christ.
For if there is any gap, immediately we perish.
For the building stands because it is cemented together.
Let us not then merely keep hold of Christ,
but let us be cemented to him.
Let us cleave to him by our works.
He is the head, we are the body.
He is the foundation, we the building.
He is the vine, we the branches.
He is the bridegroom, we the bride.
He is the shepherd, we the sheep.
He is the way, we walk in it.
Again, we are the temple, he the indweller.
He is the only begotten, we the brothers and sisters.
He is the heir, we the heirs together with him.
He is the life, we the living.
He is the resurrection, we those who rise again.
He is the light, we the enlightened.

Homilies on First Corinthians,
St. John Chrysostom, 4th century

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live.
A place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true.
Where all God's children dare to seek
to dream God's reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God's grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus;
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat;
a banquet hall on holy ground,
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space,
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us;
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone,
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they've known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bears the image of God's face;
let us bring and end to fear and danger:
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace.
Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen @ 1994 by GIA Publications, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Living God,
come and make our souls the temple of your Spirit.
Sanctify us Lord.

Fully baptise your Church with fire
that its divisions may soon end
and that it may be built up in the world
as a pillar and support of your truth.
Sanctify us Lord.

Grant each of us the fruits of your Holy Spirit:
brotherly and sisterly love,
joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness.
Sanctify us Lord.

May your Holy Spirit speak through the lips of your servants
who preach your Word, in this place and throughout the world.
Sanctify us Lord.

(from the Christian tradition)
English Translation: WCC Language Service © 2004 WCC

A dramatized version of 1 Corinthians 3: 1 - 23
(You may wish to use this reading for three voices)

Reader 1: I could not talk to you, my friends, as people who have the Spirit; I had to deal with you on the natural plane, as infants in Christ. I fed you on milk, instead of solid food, for which you were not ready. Indeed you are still not ready for it; you are still on the merely natural plane. Can you not see that as long as there is jealousy and strife among you, you are unspiritual, living on the purely human level.

Reader 2: ‘I am for Paul.'

Reader 3: ‘I am for Apollos.'

Reader 1: You are all too human. Paul and Apollos were simply God's agents in bringing you to faith. Each performed the task assigned.

Reader 2: Paul planted the seed.

Reader 3: Apollo watered it.

Reader 1: But God made it grow. Whether they plant or water, they work as a team, tough each will get his own pay for his own labour. We are fellow workers in God's service; and you are God's garden.

Or again, you are God's building. God gave me the privilege of laying the foundation like a skilled master builder; others put up the building. Let each take care how he builds.

Reader 2: There can be no other foundation than the one already laid: I mean Jesus Christ himself. If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver and precious stones, or with wood, hay and straw, the work that each does will at last be brought to light; the day of judgement will expose it.

Reader 3: That day dawns in fire, and the fire will test the worth of each person's work. If anyone's building survives, he will be rewarded; if it burns down, he will have to bear the loss; yet he will escape with his life, though only by passing through the fire.

Reader 1: Surely you know that you are God's Temple where the Spirit of God dwells. Anyone who destroys God's Temple will himself be destroyed by God, because the Temple of God is holy; and you are the Temple.

Make no mistake about this: if there is anyone among you who fancies himself wise - wise, I mean, by the standards of this age - he must become a fool if he is to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly in God's sight.

Reader 2: Scripture says, ‘He traps the wise in their own cunning'.

Reader 3: And again, ‘The Lord knows that the arguments of the wise are futile'.

Reader 1: So never make any human being a cause for boasting. For everything belongs to you - Paul, Apollos and Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all yours - and you belong to Christ, and Christ to God.

(by Revd. Mary Hunter, CTBI WPCU Writing Group © 2004 Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.)

NOTE: We wish to thank all those who have granted permission for the publication of the above prayers on the WCC website. We have made every effort to trace and identify them correctly and to secure all the necessary permissions for publication. If we have erred in any way in the acknowledgements, or have unwittingly infringed any copyright, we apologize sincerely.

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