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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Day 1: 	Called by God: “You did not choose me but I chose you” (Jn 15:16a)

Word of Welcome

 

L:         Brothers and sisters in Christ, this year the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, chosen by the sisters of the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland, is: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”.

 

            It is the great desire of God, expressed by Jesus, that we might come to him and abide in him. He waits for us tirelessly, hoping that, united to him in love, we will bear fruit that will bring life to all. Faced with the difference of ‘the other’, we risk withdrawing into ourselves and seeing only that which separates us. But let us listen to how Christ calls us to abide in his love, and so bear much fruit.

 

            In peace let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, you 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 is forsaken. Enmity develops between us.

 

Come and direct our hearts toward you once again. Grant us to live from your forgiveness so that we may be together and praise your name.

 

          Ubi caritas

 

 

 

 

Responsive Psalm 103   

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits

 

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

 

who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

 

He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

 

 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.

 

As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.

 

As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

 

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    obedient to his spoken word.

Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will.
Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

 

 

Scripture Reading: John 15

 

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

 

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

 

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

Reflection by Sr Svenja, Community of Grandchamp

 

Prayer of Intercession

 

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

C         The joy of our heart is in God.

 

R          God of life, you call us to be praise in the midst of the world and to welcome one another as a gift of your grace. May your loving gaze, which rests upon each person, open us to receive each other just as we are.

C         The joy of our heart is in God.

 

R          God who gathers, you knit us together as one vine in your Son Jesus. May your loving Spirit abide in us at parish meetings and local ecumenical gatherings. Grant that together we might celebrate you with joy.

C         The joy of our heart is in God.

 

R          God of the one vineyard, you call us to abide 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 and workplaces. May we pave the way for bridging rivalries and overcoming tensions.

C         The joy of our heart is in God.

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R          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”.

C         Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)

 

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

C         Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)

 

R          Holy Spirit, Consoler of all, open our hearts to forgiveness and reconciliation and bring us back from our wanderings.

C         Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)

 

R          Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, give us poverty of spirit so that we may welcome the unexpectedness of your grace.

C         Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)

 

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

C         Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)

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R          God of life, you have created every human being in your image and likeness. We sing your praise for the gift of our many cultures, expressions of faith, traditions and ethnicities. Grant us the courage always to stand against injustice and hatred based on race, class, gender, religion, and fear of those not like ourselves.

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

 

R          Merciful God, you have shown us in Christ that we are one in you. Teach us to use this gift in the world so that believers of all faiths in every country may be able to listen to each other and live in peace.

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

 

R          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, life and goods with all those in need, especially with our brothers and sisters in the Arabian Peninsula whom we remember this week in the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle.

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

 

R          Holy Spirit, you hear the fury of your wounded creation and the cries of those already suffering from climate change. Guide us toward new behaviours. May we learn to live in harmony as part of your creation.

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

 

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L          With the words that Jesus taught us, let us now pray together:

 

Our Father…

 

R          Spirituality and solidarity are inseparably linked. Prayer and action belong together. When we abide in Christ, we receive the Spirit of courage and wisdom to act against all injustice and oppression.

 

We say together:

 

C         Pray and work that God may reign.

Throughout your day let the Word of God breathe life into work and rest. Maintain inner silence in all things so as to dwell in Christ.

Be filled with the spirit of the Beatitudes: joy, simplicity, mercy.

 

(These words are recited daily by the Sisters of the Grandchamp Community.)

 

 

♪          Lumière de Dieu (Come light, light of God)

 

 

Benediction

 

L          Be one, so that the world may believe! Abide in his love, go into the world and bear the fruits of this love.

C         May the God of hope 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.