The Church: A World-Wide Family

Second worship service in a collection of building blocks for a series of worship services based on key themes from the Belhar Confession


Love One Another by Laura James (www.laurajamesart.com)

Belhar Confession Service #2

This family which the Triune God gathers is a unique body because it includes people from the entire global village who have experienced reconciliation with God and each other.

Belhar References: (excerpts from section 2)

We believe in one holy, universal Christian church, the communion of saints called from the entire human family … (and) that Christ’s work of reconciliation is made manifest in the church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Suggested Scriptures

Psalm 87
Acts 10:9-48

Galatians 3:26-28

Ephesians 2:11-22

Revelation 7:9-17

References in Other Confessional Documents

Heidelberg Catechism, LD 21, Q/A 54-55
Our World Belongs to God
, 18, 30, 34, 41, 42
The Belgic Confession of Faith, 27
The Westminster Confession
, 25.2
Westminster Larger Catechism
, Q/A, 62, 66
Worship Statement of the World Communion of Reformed Churches

Possible Songs

All those notated with an asterisk will be found in “Lift Up Your Hearts” (LUYH), to be published in 2013 by Faith Alive Christian Resources.

*All People That on Earth Do Dwell, PFAS100A
     [Psalm 100: paired with GENEVAN134TH/OLD HUNDREDTH]
All People That on Earth Do Dwell
, PFAS 100B
     [Psalm 100: paired with NEW DOXOLOGY]
*Come, We That Love the Lord, LUYH
     [paired with MARCHING TO ZION]
*Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, PFAS 87D
     [Psalm 87: paired with AUSTRIAN HYMN/alternate JEFFERSON]
*I Rejoiced When I Heard Them Say, PFAS 122B
     [Psalm 122: paired with ENGLAND]
*It Is Good to Sing Your Praises, PFAS 92A
     [Psalm 92: paired with ELLESDIE]
*Todos los que han sido bautizados/All Who Have Been Baptized, GSW 48
*We Are Your People, LUYH

Liturgy Resources

Call to Worship:

People will come from east and west, from north and south,
and will eat in the kingdom of God.
Indeed, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.

Luke 13:29-30 NRSV

Prayers

Glorious things are spoken of you, God, the source of all springs.
       Our names are known by you and recorded in your book.

Your blessing was pronounced on all families through your servant Abraham,
       and you have established a  home for all of us.
We pray, O God, for all the nations of the earth,
        lands physically separated by geography –
        peoples divided by language, culture, custom, and color –
        yet united as your children.

As of old you claimed your people from all lands and nations –
         from Egypt and Babylon, Philistia and Ethiopia-
         even so, look with mercy upon your church in this land and in every nation.
         (Other nations may be added.)
         Guide us in your ways of justice and peace.
We call upon you – from every tribe and every nation,
in every tongue and language, joining our voices together in song proclaiming,
         all our springs are in you.
Melissa Haupt, 2011, © Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

O loving, sovereign God,
whose reign extends round our globe and beyond,
we rejoice in your far-flung greatness;
we give thanks for your unending goodness.
In all the corners of the earth,
you are faithfully building your church:
in crowded Indian villages,
in sunny Caribbean islands,
in remote Chinese hamlets,
in busy South African townships,
in racially diverse North American cities.
We give thanks for the vast embrace of your love,
for the multicolored church you are creating.
Grant, O God, that we may truly be one church
with one baptism, one hope, in one Lord Jesus Christ,
to the end of the age, to the praise of God’s glory. Amen.
Taken from Marlene Kropf in MPH Bulletin (Mennonite Publishing House), May 7, 1989; Found in The Worship Sourcebook, first edition © 2004 Faith Alive Christian Resources, S.1.4.2

O God, your will is that
all your children should be one in Christ.
We pray for the unity of your church.
Pardon all our pride and our lack of faith,
of understanding and of charity,
which are the causes of our divisions.
Deliver us from our narrow-mindedness,
from our bitterness, from our prejudices.
Save us from considering as normal
that which is a scandal to the world
and an offense to your love.
Teach us to recognize the gifts of grace
among all who call upon you
and confess faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Taken from the  French Reformed Church liturgy in The Complete Book of Christian Prayer, ©2000 Continuum, p. 440 [1122], alt. Found in The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004 Faith Alive Christian Resources, S.2.2.9

Affirmation

Let us acknowledge the company in which we meet:
the church on earth and in heaven;
the faithful who worshiped here before us;
the hundreds of thousands
of every place and language
who, on the Lord’s day, seek to set their lives
within the atmosphere of renewing grace.
As we think of them,
let us take deliberate encouragement
from our unity with them all.     
Taken from
the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, © 1994 Westminster John Knox Press, p. 63. Found in The Worship Sourcebook,© 2004 Faith Alive Christian Resources, S.1.2.3

Glossary

Confessions and Testimonies:

(Note: When we use the term “Other Confessional Documents” we are using the term “confessional” broadly to include those which have been formally adopted as a Confession of Faith by a denomination, but also those which more loosely are considered a Testimony or Declaration of Faith by a denomination.)

Belhar – the Belhar Confession
BC – The Belgic Confession of Faith
HC – The Heidelberg Catechism
OWBTG – A Contemporary Testimony: Our World Belongs to God
OSOH – Our Song of Hope
WC – Westminster Confession
WCRC – The Worship Statement of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
WLC – Westminster Larger Catechism
WSC – Westminster Shorter Catechism

Hymnals/Resources:

ELW – Evangelical Lutheran Worship
CSW – Contemporary Songs for Worship
GSW – Global Songs for Worship
LUYH – Lift Up Your Hearts
PFAS – Psalms For All Seasons
PsH – The Psalter Hymnal
SNC – Sing! A New Creation
SNT – Singing the New Testament
TWS – The Worship Sourcebook

General Hymns:

*Abana in Heaven, GSW 44
*All Are Welcome, LUYH
     [paired with TWO OAKS]
*Be Thou My Vision, LUYH
     [paired with SLANE]
*Canto de esperanza/Song of Hope, LUYH
     [paired with ARGENTINA]
*Faith Begins By Letting Go, SNC 172
     [paired with LUX PRIMA]
*God of Grace and God of Glory, LUYH
     [paired with CEM RHONDDA]
Let Streams of Living Justice, ELW 710
     [paired with THAXTED]
Lord, You Call Us,
     [JOYOUS LIGHT Morningstar MSM-50-7800 SATB and Congregation]                                            
*Perdón, Señor/Forgive Us, Lord, LUYH 2.2.1
     [paired with CONFESSION]
*Psalm 51, SNC 50
The Church of Christ, in Every Age, ELW 729
     [paired with WAREHAM]
*The Church’s One Foundation, PsH 502
     [paired with AURELIA]
Belhar Hymn, David Alexander 
     [sung to O WALY WALY, Unity, Reconciliation and Justice: Apppendix C, p.87]


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