Churches Together Chain Liturgy

Here is an outline for a prayer time where people from different churches are present lasting about 45 minutes. It is adapted from the Saturday Evening Prayer at the NNPM Conference in 2008. Place chairs in a circle if possible. You will need a large cross (a Taizé cross was used in this instance) placed flat but just raised off the floor. Place four small lit candles on the cross.  You will also need enough chain links made with white card to link together and circle the cross. Additional white chain links are placed in two small baskets outside the circle along with a few pens. You will also need some brightly coloured chain links with HOPE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE written on them placed in two more small baskets outside the circle (see Gallery photo). Play instrumental music as people gather.  The songs listed can of course be found in other hymn books than those in brackets or you may wish to choose your own.

Welcome      

We gather as Christians from many churches and with different traditions – yet we are all part of the one body of Christ. We are gathered together to worship and, though we acknowledge our differences and our brokenness, we all affirm Jesus as our Lord. Let us greet one another now.

Song: Jubilate, everybody (Songs of Fellowship)

Reading: Acts 16.25-34

Affirmation of Faith

Action:          

In front of us is a chain circling the broken body of Christ. Many of God’s people are circled by chains. Sometimes the chains hold us together in a good way, but sometimes the chains are imposed upon us by others and it is difficult to break free, and sometimes, too, we create our own chains which hold and imprison us. We now have a chance to think about the chains that might connect us or imprison us, not least the chains that keep our different churches from truly becoming one Church. 

If we can keep hold of the chains that connect us in a good way but break free from those same chains that can hold us captive, we can create the beautiful world that God intended.

So let’s turn to the people around us in order to listen a little to each other’s stories and, when we feel ready, we have a chance to symbolically break and rejoin the chain by inserting the coloured links of hope, love, joy and peace, praying that God’s Holy Spirit will keep us together, while freeing us from all difficulties that hold us captive.  We may also wish to write our own message on a plain link taken from one of the baskets.

The Peace

Song: Light of God, come dwell within your people (Songs of Fellowship)

Prayers of Intercession with Sung Response:

For the people of God gathered here, that we may celebrate our faith together, embracing all that we share and acknowledging our diversity:
Lord, we pray.
Lord God, you love us, source of compassion (Songs from Taizé)

For our speaking and our singing, that the gentle words we choose to tell God’s story
may challenge in their simplicity:
Lord, we pray.
Lord God, you love us, source of compassion (Songs from Taizé) 

For our seeing, that we may recognise Christ in our midst:
Lord, we pray.
Lord God, you love us, source of compassion (Songs from Taizé)

For our listening, that we may hear the voice of Christ and that our hearts may burn within us:
Lord, we pray.
Lord God, you love us, source of compassion (Songs from Taizé

For our sharing of bread and wine at the Eucharist, that Christians may one day sit at the same table:
Lord, we pray.
Lord God, you love us, source of compassion (Songs from Taizé) 

For all that connects us, and for freedom from all that imprisons us, that we may risk breaking the chain to make room for the hope, love, joy and peace that life in you offers:
Lord, we pray. 
Lord God, you love us, source of compassion (Songs from Taizé)

The Lord’s Prayer

Song: Men of faith (Songs of Fellowship)

During the last verse of the song four people lift the chain from the ground and allow it to break (see Gallery photo).

 

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