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Anniversary prayers from the Uniting Church in Australia

A series of prayers written by the Rev. Dorothy McRae-McMahon, retired Australian Uniting Church minister, former national director for Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia (1993), for the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. She was the first woman to moderate the Worship Committee preparing a WCC Assembly.

12 January 2018

Opening

Our hearts are lifted with hope and joy,
as we celebrate seventy years
of ecumenical relationships.
The gifts which we have received from each other,
whether they have been easy or costly,
bear witness to your inspiration, O God.

Year by year, you have called us towards creativity,
O God, our loving Parent,
and to live with the courage of the Christ
and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to you, O God.

Lament

Even as we celebrate these seventy years together,
we own our humanness, O God.
We know that there have been many moments
when we have failed to be true
to the dream of our unity in you.

We have not always received
the gifts which lie within our differing journeys
or in the insights which we could share.
We have been tempted
by the power and realities of our histories
rather than the wonder of new life
with each other.

Forgive us, loving God,
and call us on to truly walk with you.
This we pray in hope and faith.
Amen.

Forgiveness

God, in Christ Jesus, holds us in love
and will lead us into a new journey together
and a future filled with hope.
We are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.

Intercession

O God, who embraces us with understanding,
invite in us your Holy gifts to offer to each other.
Carry us towards the depths of dreams
which remind us of new creative relationships,
beyond where we have been in the past.

Create in us levels of humility
which open our hearts to longings for new insights
to be received from each other.
May we learn ways of openness to truths
which have been hidden in our histories
and the competition between members
of our varied communities.

Lift our lives so that we focus
on the world around us,
giving new priorities to all
that would add to love, justice and truth
in the future together
and to be offered to all people.

Be with us, O God,
that we may be your people
in all that we do together.
We ask this in faith,
this day and every day.
Amen.

Affirmation of faith

Gracious God,
we believe in the wonder of life in you.
In every moment, we know that
you call us on towards creativity and hope,
never giving up on us, your church.

Christ Jesus, we celebrate
that you have journeyed with us
over these 70 years together,
never leaving us alone in our humanness
and inviting us towards
fullness of life together.

Holy Spirit of Wisdom,
we believe that you will be discovered
in unexpected places around us,
your shining life emerging before us
and inspiring us to believe
that we can share in your power
to change the world
towards your goodness and grace.
This we believe, O God.
Amen.

Blessing

May God the Great Creator,
go on creating within us,
Christ Jesus be our company
and the Holy Spirit surround us
with eternal grace.
Amen.

 

(Rev. Dorothy McRae-McMahon,
retired Australian Uniting Church minister, former national director for Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia (1993); she was the first woman to become moderator of the World Council of Churches Worship Committee (Canberra Assembly))
.