A Rogationtide Service of Holy Communion

Worship / Produced by partner of TOW

This Sample Service is part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. For more services, prayers, songs, readings and sermons, click on the table of contents to the right.

A ROGATIONTIDE SERVICE OF HOLYCOMMUNION FOR AN ORDINARY LOCAL CHURCH SETTING

 

SENTENCES

You are the light of the world. Let your light shine in the presence of others so that they notice the good things you do and give glory to your heavenly Father.

Work is the expenditure of energy (manual or mental or both) in the service of others, which brings fulfilment to the worker, benefit to the community and glory to God.
(John Stott)

 

INTRODUCTION

Today, the 5th Sunday after Easter, is Rogation Sunday. Traditionally Rogationtide was the time when God's blessing was asked on the newly sown crops. Rogationtide was the "before" of which Harvest Thanksgiving was the "after". As is the case with Harvest Thanksgiving, Rogation Sunday is a good time to think about human work, and the theme of this service is "Offering our Work to God" - not just agricultural work but all work, and in particular the work done by members of this congregation and people living in this community. And in this service of Holy Communion [Mass, Lord's Supper] we shall be using the bread and wine as symbols of our work offered to God for use in his service.

 

HYMN

(Come to us creative Spirit)

 

GLORIA

 

PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING

Let us celebrate today the providence of God and the gift of work.
We give thanks to God our Father, Maker of the universe,
for the unity and order of created things;
for the resources of the earth;
for the gift of human life;
for our share in the continuing work of creation.

Almighty God, Creator and Lord of all things, we thank you for the vast resources of the earth and the sea, and for the hidden forces of nature now brought within our control by scientific discovery. We thank you again for the different abilities and skills which you have given us and which we use in daily work. Help us to use all your gifts wisely and faithfully for the benefit of humankind, that all may rejoice in your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We thank you for humanity in all its diversity, for the unique individuality of every child, woman and man, for the gathered communities of home, work and leisure, of village, city and nation.

We thank you for the work of hand and mind; for the opportunity to plan and design, to manufacture and grow, to service and conserve, and to care for one another in the places where we work.

Above all we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, who carried out your work to your praise and glory and for the renewal of your creation. We make our prayer to you in his name, who died and rose again for us. Amen.

 

OLD TESTAMENT READING

(Genesis 1:26-28,2:15)

 

POEM

Sunday by Sunday
Sunday by Sunday
the church gathers
Women and men meet
to worship
to withdraw from the world?
or to bring the world
their living with them?

Women and men
living with tensions
struggling with dilemmas
challenged by change
oppressed by changes that are too rapid.

Is this the place
is it together
that they can affirm
this is where life
is given meaning?

Or do they sing uneasily
because here is the place
where no meaning is given
to the context and the content
of their daily lives?

Can I bring my anger with me
Or must it be quelled before I enter?
Can I bring my confusion
Or should I simply pretend there is none?

What do I do with my contradictions
of loving my family
yet rarely seeing them?
or with the pressure to raise
excessive profits
without the tempering of justice
and compassion?

What do I do with the painful knowledge
of failing to touch with understanding
the urgent needs
of my fellow human beings?

Soothing will not ease my burdens.
Where do I find the courage
to confront my problems? ...
(Rachel Jenkins)

 

EPISTLE

(Ephesians 4:17-32)

 

MODERN READING

Staying Put
Faced with ethical dilemmas, conflict, stress and other problems, those who exercise their ministry at the front line may be tempted to give up and get out. Sometimes people may mistake their inability to reconcile Christian values with secular values as a divine call to resign and seek ordination! This may sometimes be the right thing to do. God may indeed be calling more lay people into the ordained ministry. However, more often than not, God's call to lay people is to 'stay put'. That is what 'incarnation' is all about... staying in the thick of it! Although it may not always be easy to reconcile Christian values and secular values, some degree of responsible compromise is frequently necessary. Compromise is not always a dirty word. It may, for example, be more responsible for a Christian who is a director or a trade union official to stay at his or her post when beset by alien values and attempt to influence affairs from within, than to resign and opt out. The Christian in public life can never do more than push public affairs slowly in a Christian direction. The speed with which Christians can do this may depend upon their realism about public affairs. It is not easy to head straight for the desired goal. A zig-zag approach may be the only feasible way forward. Sometimes we are in the 'zig' and sometimes we are in the 'zag' but we press towards the goal. This can produce a great deal of stress. Hence the importance of relevant support through prayer, worship and sensitive groups of people. In the end God himself supports people at the front line but his presence is not always easy to discern. We have the assurance of the risen Jesus that "he goes ahead of his disciples into Galilee". Our Galilee is our secular activity. Wherever we go, wherever we work, whatever responsibility we have in public life, Jesus is with us, supporting us and ministering alongside us at the front line.
(c. Denis Claringbull 'Front Line Mission')

 

HYMN

(Lord God, in whom all worlds)

 

GOSPEL

(Luke 12:13-24)

 

SERMON

(Suggested sermon: Offering our Work to God in the Sacrament)

 

CREED

We believe in One God,
Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
Source of human skills,
Provider of the earth's riches.
We believe in God who is love,
and judge of all,
who claims our service and our worship,
who longs for our help in creation,
to fulfil his purpose on earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
the Lord of all life,
the man for others;
our fellow-worker for good,
our Redeemer, neighbour and friend,
with the power to make all things new.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
God's inspiration to men and women,
revealer of the truth,
the giver and director of life,
the promoter of peace and patience,
our Comforter in times of trouble,
and supplier of vision and hope.
Amen.

 

INTERCESSIONS

A Litany

For the riches of your creation, giving us the materials of the earth:
We thank you, Lord.

For the labour of our hands and minds, developing invention and skill:
We thank you, Lord.

For agriculture, industry and commerce, providing work and wealth and goods for the world:
We thank you, Lord.

For all who work in transport and distribution, service industries and local government, that in giving service they may find reward:
Hear our prayer.

For those in management and the trade unions, that mutual respect and good relations may always be maintained:
Hear our prayer.

For the unemployed and the handicapped, that they might not lose hope, and may find a positive role in life:
Hear our prayer.

For young people at work and those who educate and train them, that they may find promise and aspiration fulfilled:
Hear our prayer.

Lord the Creator, whose great goodness has provided for our needs; help us so to use, develop and preserve the resources of the earth that, through our industry, the needs of all may be fulfilled, human dignity enhanced, and our people live in true prosperity and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

THE PEACE

 

OFFERTORY HYMN

(Upon thy table, Lord, we place)

During the hymn the money collection will be offered, together with offerings of the tokens of different types of work. (Members of the congregation can be invited to bring to the service tokens (portable ones!) of their own work. A selection of these could be brought up as part of the Offertory Procession and offered immediately after the offerings of money and the bread and wine. And/or a work exhibition could be displayed in the church. This could include examples of the work of local industry etc. These would be 'offered' at this point.

After this the following prayer will be used.

We offer you, Lord, ourselves and our work. Please accept it as a token of our gratitude to you, and in the hope that it will contribute to the building of your kingdom on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

At the offering of the bread, the president may say
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the Bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.

Similarly at the offering of the cup
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God for ever.

[Hereafter the Communion may proceed as normal, although the following variants may be used.]

 

PROPER PREFACE

And now we give you thanks that through your Son we have an example to follow for the whole of our lives, at home and at work. In sharing our earthly life, he shared also our experience of toil and creative endeavour, and entered fully into our human condition.

 

THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

Though our lives may be different and our occupations varied, we are one in our Lord Jesus Christ. We come together to share the one bread, product also of human hands, and so we share in the body of Christ.

 

WORDS OF INVITATION

Come, draw near with faith. Receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shared our human life, its joys and its sorrows. Come, find rest for your souls, and refreshment for your lives in One who knew the toils and struggles of human life. Eat, drink, remember he died for you, and lives for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.

 

POST-COMMUNION PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Father of all, we thank you and praise you for the gift of your Son to humanity, for his sharing of our earthly life; for his work as a carpenter; for his understanding of those whose jobs made them outcasts but also of those who held positions of honour; for his own ministry and that of his disciples. And now, above all, we thank you for feeding us with his body and blood. Send us back into the world, refreshed by this heavenly food, to work as he did, and, by the power of your Spirit, to live our lives as witnesses to his life, death and resurrection. Amen.

 

HYMN

(Now let us from this table rise)

 

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God,
sustainer of daily life and work,
and provider of all our needs.
Open our hearts to your creative power
so that we may know your will,
praise your name,
and share your vision for the creation of your kingdom.
Amen.

With listening ears and hearts,
With open minds, obedient feet,
We journey on with Christ,
And choose again the pilgrim way.
In new obedience to the vision we have caught,
We offer time and talents, energy and love
To serve the Prince of Peace
In worship, in active partnership, in hope.
Help us to take the risk of reaching out
For peace and justice in your name. Amen.

 

BLESSING

Christ whose family were carpenters, and whose company was tax collectors, uphold you in your work, give you a sense of value in what you do, and guide you in your decision-making; and the blessing...

 



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