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Liturgy 2015 Churches' Week of Action on Food

This order of worship has been prepared by the World Council of Churches for the 2015 Churches' Week of Action on Food. It can be adapted as appropriate, with credit given to the source.

21 September 2015

2015 is being commemorated as the International Year of Soils and the World Food Day 2015 focuses on Social Protection and Agriculture.

In spite of steady gains against hunger and poverty, today, more than ten percent of the population of the world; about 795 million people, are undernourished and go to bed hungry.

Let us commit ourselves in prayer, to overcome hunger and social vulnerability in our communities and across the nations!

PDF version with music

Welcome and Introduction

2015 is being commemorated as the International Year of Soils and the World Food Day 2015 focuses on Social Protection and Agriculture.

In spite of steady gains against hunger and poverty, today, more than ten percent of the population of the world; about 795 million people, are undernourished and go to bed hungry.

Let us commit ourselves in prayer, to overcome hunger and social vulnerability in our communities and across the nations!

Opening Responses

Leader:  Glory to you, our God, glory to you.

Psalm 24

Leader:  The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;

All: 2 for God has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.

Leader:  3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in God’s holy place?

All: 4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.

Leader:  5 They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.

All: 6 Such is the company of those who seek the Lord,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Leader:  7 Lift up your heads, O gates!

All: and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the Glorious Lord may come in.

Leader:   Heavenly LORD, Comforter;      
We come to you, hungry and thirsty for righteousness

All: Come and dwell in us.

Satisfy us so that we might offer

Hospitality, food and rest

To the hungry and weary.

Response: Note: permission will be needed to reprint these songs.

Bendice, Señor, nuestro pan  (Anonymous, Argentina)

The kingdom of God is justice and peace (Taizé)

What does the Lord require of you? (Jim Strathdee)

Readings from the Hebrew bible- Micah 6: 1- 8

Hear what the Lord says:
Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
and he will contend with Israel.

3 “O my people, what have I done to you?
In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.

6 “With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before God with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8 God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Confession and renewal

Leader:  We recognise that the food that sustains life is denied to many in this unjust world;

All:       We recognise that a tenth of the world’s population go hungry each day.

Leader: We acknowledge that almost a third of the world’s population lacks sanitation facilities;

All:      We acknowledge that thousands of children die each day for lack of access to clean water.

Leader: We remember the labourers, women and men, who are denied a living wage;

All:      We remember the farmers and fisher folk impoverished by market forces, which force them to sell their produce for less than the cost of production.

Leader: We recognise that many communities are being dispossessed of their access to their lands, water bodies and their livelihoods;

All:       We recognise that local resources, small farmers and their traditional knowledge and innovations are neglected.

Leader:  We acknowledge that increasingly, the earth and the soil are being stripped of richness, depleted of diversity, and being poisoned;

All:       We acknowledge that we have not sufficiently cared for the precious soil, the work of your hands. We have not listened to the people who live closest to it.

Leader:  We confess that by our insensitivity and irresponsibility, we destroy life;

All:       We confess that by our selfishness and profiteering, we endanger creation and our common future.

Silence

Leader: Lord, we seek your forgiveness;

All:       Lord, grant us grace to be renewed by the Holy Spirit.

Leader: May the food we eat sustain our lives to serve God and God’s creation;

All: May our choices bind us to the environment and our communities.

Leader: Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.  (Psalm 146)

All:      AMEN

Sung response:  Huapango del pan (sung in Spanish, if desired.)

This song may be reprinted for use in worship, with copyright notice.

Gospel Reading:       Matthew 25: 31-40   

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’

Sung response: Huapango del pan (Sung in  English)

Reflection (if desired)

Responsive prayer

Leader:   Lord help us to recognise you in the vulnerable people amongst us;

All: Lord, help us to worship you by serving the needy, the farmers, farm workers, and fishermen; all who work to provide us food, yet go hungry.

Leader:  Lord help us to recognise you in the vulnerable people amongst us;

All: Lord, help us to be of service, even before being asked for assistance.

Leader:  Lord help us to recognise you in the vulnerable people amongst us;

All: Lord, teach us to listen to them;

teach us to learn from them;

teach us to be transformed by them,

so that there is no longer “them” and “us,”

but only your beloved children;

no longer strangers,

but neighbours, in whose faces

we see the face of the Christ.

Leader:  Lord, help us to recognise you in the vulnerable people amongst us;

All: help us to work towards a world,

where all can lead dignified, loving and fulfilling lives.

The Lord ’s Prayer   (in one’s own language)

Sharing the sign of Peace

One of the songs below may be used to bring the congregation back together.

Song:  Until all are fed  (Tommy Brown and Brian McFarland, USA)

Permission needed to print this song. See copyright notice.

Blessing

Leader:           May we always be hungry for righteousness;

All:                  To overcome injustices that brings about hunger!

Leader:           May we always be hungry for peace;

All:                  To overcome insecurity, suffering and displacement!

Leader:           May we always be hungry to share our resources and blessings;

All:                  To ensure that the needy in our communities are able to live full lives!


 

This liturgy has been prepared by the World Council of Churches (WCC) for the Churches’ Week of Action on Food, 11-18 October 2015. This week of action is part of the Food for Life Campaign of the WCC-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and incorporates World Food Day, 16 October.

The theme for World Food Day 2015 is Social Protection and Agriculture. In recent years, social protection programmes have assisted around 150 million people to overcome extreme poverty. Social protection exists when governments develop policies and programmes to address economic, environmental and social vulnerabilities to food insecurity and poverty. Social protection improves people’s access to health care and other social services, enabling them to sustainably provide for themselves and their family members.

Prepared by Manoj Kurian and Andrew Donaldson, World Council of Churches, September 2015.