People and the Planet: A Service with Holy Communion
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.
PEOPLE AND THE PLANET
A service with Holy Communion
From the fragmented world of our everyday lives
We gather together in search of wholeness.
By many cares and preoccupations,
by diverse and separate aims,
we are separated from one another
and divided within ourselves.
Yet we know that no branch is severed
from the Tree of Life that sustains all.
(For the fruits of his creation)
Let us be silent before God. Let us open our hearts to the
Spirit that blows across all the earth, and may that Spirit
kindle the flame of hope throughout the world.
O God, make us instruments of your justice,
Make us instruments of your peace,
Make us instruments for the renewal of your creation.
Glory be to you O God, our Creator,
Source of all life and the gift of belonging;
Glory to you Jesus, our brother,
Sharer in living and freer of pain;
Glory be to you Spirit, our strength,
Sustainer of hope and spreader of love.
All Christians are called to act.
For stating principles is not enough.
To point out injustice is not enough.
Prophetic cries are not enough.
Words lack weight
unless we all become responsible,
and act effectively.
To pass on to others
the blame for injustice
is all too easy.
Each of us has a share in it.
The first thing we need
is a personal conversion.
Such basic humility
keeps all our action
flexible, unsectarian, brave,
in the face of the immensity
of what we have to do.
The Christian's hope
rests on this knowledge:
the Lord is working
in the world.
Through his body, the Church,
through the whole of humankind,
Christ continues his Redemption,
accomplished on the Cross,
and bursting forth in victory
on Resurrection morning.
(From 'This is Action', Section 48 - a popular version of 'Octogesima
Adveniens', an Apostolic Letter of Pope Paul VI)
(Our world is one world)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
SHORT PERIOD OF SILENCE
I believe in God
who didn't create the world as something finished,
as a thing which has to remain the same forever,
who doesn't rule by eternal laws
which are irrevocable,
nor by the natural order of poor and rich,
experts and uninformed,
rulers and helpless.
I believe in God
who wants conflicts among the living
and the transformation of the existing
by our work,
by our politics.
I believe in Jesus Christ
who was right when he
'an individual who cannot do anything'
worked on the transformation of all things
and perished in doing it.
Looking at him I realise
how our intelligence is crippled,
our fantasy suffocated,
our efforts wasted,
because we don't live the way he lived.
Every day I fear
that he died in vain,
because he is buried in our churches,
because we have betrayed his revolution,
in obedience and fear
of the authorities.
I believe in Jesus Christ
who rises into our lives
in order that we may be freed
from prejudice and arrogance,
from fear and hatred,
and may carry forward his revolution
towards his kingdom.
I believe in the Spirit
who came with Jesus in the world;
in the community of all nations
and in our responsibility
for what will become of our earth,
a valley of misery, starvation and violence
... or the city of God.
I believe in just peace,
which can be achieved;
in the possibility of a meaningful life for all
in the future of this, God's world. Amen.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and
discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and
This is true: "I have come that they may have life,
and have it abundantly".
It is not true that violence and hatred shall have the last
word, and that war and destruction have come to stay
This is true: "For to us a child is born, to us a son
is given in whom authority will rest, and whose name
will be Prince of Peace".
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of
evil that seek to rule the world.
This is true: "To me is given all authority in heaven
and on earth, and lo, I am with you to the earth of the
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are
specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church,
before we can do anything.
This is true: "I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young
people shall see visions and your old folk shall dream
It is not true that our dreams for the liberation of
humankind, our dreams of justice, of human dignity, of
peace, are not meant for this earth and this history.
This is true: "The hour comes, and is now, that true
worshippers shall worship God in spirit and in truth".
God of history,
You share our joys and our crushing sorrows,
You hear the cries of the afflicted,
You fill the hungry,
And you set free the oppressed.
We pray for the end to all injustice.
Inspire us with the all-embracing love of God,
Challenge us with the sacrificial love of Jesus,
Empower us with the transforming love of the Spirit,
That we and all God's people may live and be free.
(c. 1991 Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community)
O God, you have searched us out and known us,
and all that we are is open to you.
We confess that we have sinned:
we have used our power to dominate
and our weakness to manipulate;
we have evaded responsibility
and failed to confront evil;
we have denied dignity to the whole of Creation,
to ourselves and to each other.
We have failed to celebrate life
and refused to challenge death.
We turn to you, O God;
we renounce evil;
we claim your love;
we choose to be made whole.
We are Christ's body on earth, reconciled to God
through a cross built by human hands from natural wood;
Let us pursue all that makes for peace
through justice throughout Creation.
The peace of God be with you always:
And also with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of reconciliation and peace.
(We utter our cry: that peace may prevail!)
We come with offerings - our skills, our symbols, our time,
our hopes, our pleasure in one another's company.
All these things we bring to God in dedication, and for use
in the glory of the realm of God.
We take bread
symbol of labour - exploited, degraded,
yet symbol of life.
Life for us.
We will break the bread
because Christ the source of life
was broken for the exploited and downtrodden.
Broken for us.
We take wine
symbol of labour - contaminated, despoiled,
yet symbol of new life.
Poured out for us.
We will drink the wine
because Christ the peace of the world
was killed by violence.
Because of us.
Now bread and wine are before us;
the memory of our meals;
Before us the depths of our life.
Thanks be to God.
The Spirit of God be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to God.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.
We give thanks for our common life
and for the healing of a broken planet.
Thanks be to God.
We give thanks for the presence of Christ
in our struggle,
and for the promise of freedom
for all people.
Thanks be to God.
For all that binds us together in our humanity and in
with all who live and have lived,
who have cried and are crying,
who hunger and are thirsty,
who pine for justice
and who sing and pray for the coming of God's
Holy, holy, holy
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Today we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth,
in whom Christians believe God was especially present,
through whom God was made known to humanity.
On the night that he was betrayed, he feasted with his
he took bread, gave thanks, broke it
and gave it to his disciples, saying,
'Take this and eat it.
This is my body broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of me'.
In the same way, after supper,
he took the cup of wine, gave thanks,
and gave it to them, saying
'Drink from it all of you.
This is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many.
Do this whenever you drink it
in remembrance of me'.
For all that Jesus of Nazareth means to us.
We give thanks.
So today we share bread and wine together
as a sign that we are one humanity,
as a pledge that we will work for justice,
as a foretaste of that which can be,
despite what is and what has been.
May the Spirit that guides us all
be present in this feast,
taking this bread and wine,
the concerns that we have expressed,
the lives that we lead,
and transforming them all
for the unity of all creation
and the service of love.
God, whose body is all creation,
may we come to know you in all the earth
and feel you in our blood.
So will no part of us, or the world,
be lost to your transforming grace.
Alleluia! This living bread is broken
for the life of the world.
Alleluia! Let us keep the feast.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
And now we say with confidence the words Jesus himself
taught us to use:
Our Father of all Creation
May your name be honoured,
` May everyone live in your way.
Give us today our bread for tomorrow.
Forgive us as we forgive others.
Do not let us give in when we are tempted,
And save us from anything that would make us
The body of Christ, a sign of hope
The blood of Christ, a sign of hope
In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
We give you thanks, most gracious God,
for the beauty of earth and sea;
for the richness of mountains, plains and rivers;
for the songs of birds and the loveliness of the flowers;
We praise you for these good gifts,
and pray that we may safeguard them
for our posterity and for their own worth.
Grant that we may continue to grow
in our grateful enjoyment and employment of your abundant
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end. Amen.
God of justice and peace, ecology and economy,
You ask us to be the voice of the voiceless.
We call upon you for those who have suffered
the injustice of poverty, inequality, exploitation and greed.
From the depths of our being we cry to you.
O God the people and the planet are broken:
Heal your world and defeat injustice.
Creator God, receive our words, our images, our feelings,
Grant us those things we cannot or dare not express.
We make these prayers through our brother Jesus.
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
We commit ourselves to the fullness of life on earth.
We commit ourselves to the planet and its peoples.
We commit ourselves to a sensitive ecology and a just economy.
We commit ourselves to support each other
and to work for a community of sharing.
May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with justice.
In the name of Christ. Amen.