Worship and Sermon Resources for
Christian Unity Prayer Week
January 18-25, 2012
On January 18 - 25, 2012, Churches throughout the world will
join in prayer
asking God to to unite Christians everywhere.
Click here to visit the Official World Council of
Jesus prays for all Christians to be united:
"May they also be in us so that the world may
believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave
me, that they may be one as we are one—
I in them and you in me—so that
they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you
sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
Scripture Readings for Unity:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
P: Just as I have
loved you, you also should love one another.
L: By this everyone will know that you are my
P: If you have love for one another.
L: Come, let us draw near the Source of all
Love, our Savior and God!
Possibilities and Unity
Power and Possibilities, we praise your holy name. You have exalted and
glorified our beloved Jesus, your Son, who humbled himself out of love and
compassion for us. We thank you, Lord, for the possibilities you have
opened up for us through your Son:
work of Jesus' Spirit in and through our lives
courage and strength to go on when it seems impossible
capacity to reach out to fellow human beings in love and compassion
strength and comfort we find in and through your church, Christ's body
daily to humble ourselves before you and help us to grow in our capacity
to love and stand in unity with our brothers and sisters, so that Christ's
prayer will be fulfilled in us. May the world see our love and unity in
Christ and turn to you, o ever-loving God. All honor and glory and power
be to you Father of our Lord, Alpha and Omega, giver and completer of our
Prayer for the World and it Peoples:
(Church of Scotland 20th century)
O God, you are the
hope of all the ends of the earth, the God of the spirits of all flesh.
Hear our humble intercession for all races and families on earth, that you
will turn all hearts to yourself.
Remove from our minds hatred, prejudice, and contempt for those who are
not of our own race or color, class or creed, that, departing from
everything that estranges and divides, we may by you be brought into unity
of spirit, in the bond of peace. Amen.
Blessings Upon You
(adapted from a prayer by Margaret A. Davidson)
Blessings upon you, upon those
and those you shall never know.
Blessings upon your steps
and upon the vision of your eyes.
Blessings upon you in all
joy and sorrow, for wisdom rests in them,
twin experiences with different faces.
Blessings be upon what lies
the challenges and decisions,
the pain and the relief.
Blessings upon you, my friends
Lift Every Voice
The Church's One foundation
Christian People Raise Your Song )
O God of Every Nation
This is the Feast of Victory
The Bread of Life For All is Broken
Draw Us in the Spirit's Tether
Become to Us the Living Bread
Forgive Our Sins As We Forgive
Help Us Accept Each Other
Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees
You Satisfy the Hungry Heart
Father Make us One
Sermons on Unity:
“We’re All in This
A Call to Christian Unity
based on Ephesians 4:1-6, John
by Rev. Frank
When I look at how the religious, political, ethnic, and social differences in
our world produce so much strife and hostilities, I wonder if it really has to
be like that. I understand that whenever people get together there are
tensions, that's a given. Even when we get together with our extended family we
often struggle with keeping things friendly.
However, there is a side in me that doesn't quite get why our differences cause
us to feel hostile toward each other. I, for one, am one that's sold on the idea
that we should find unity in our
diversity. I see diversity as a strength rather than a weakness.
Today, I want to address the topic of unity,
especially as it relates to us--our church community. Allow me to start with a
light-hearted anecdote. Have
you heard this one?
Recently, a woman was reported to have
visited the post office to purchase $20 worth of stamps. The postal clerk asked
her: “What denominations would you like that in?” The woman exclaimed, “I can’t
believe things have come to this? Just give me 10 Catholic. 6 Episcopalian, 4
Presbyterian, and 3 Baptists!”
Christian Unity—does it exist in light of the
multitude of denominations, beliefs and worship practices? If we truly desire
to find unity in the body of Christ in this world, we must somehow find a way to
connect on beliefs and practices we have in common and be tolerant toward our
Or else, we can define Christian unity by
claiming that our own denomination or church is the only true church, all others
are wrong. That’s what Rev. J. A. Connellan seems to believe in when
Catholics believe that there can be no question
at all of re-union of churches. The real Church of Christ has never been
divided. Those who have broken away from union with Christ’s Vicar on earth, the
Pope, have established religious organizations contrary to the will of Christ
and ceased to belong to the true Catholic Church.
This opinion, of course, is not necessarily
representative of all Catholic believers.
Somehow this attitude makes me
think of the old joke about a man arriving at the gates of heaven. St. Peter
The man says, "Methodist". St. Peter looks down his list, and says, "Go to room
11. But be very quiet as you pass room 8". The man asks, "why?" St. Peter tells
him, "Well the Nybeterians (my generic moniker) are in room 8, and they
think they're the only ones here.”
The Apostle Paul calls upon us to adopt a spirit
of unity, and he does so at a time when churches were very much divided over who
to follow, and how to believe. Remember, Paul’s letters had not been canonized;
he wrote during a time when there was no New Testament yet, so Christian
theology was still developing. Amidst all the confusion that permeated the
church of Ephesus, Paul writes: "Make
every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
It's interesting how Paul correlates unity and
peace. Unity and peace go hand in hand. Show me a church where people are
united and I show you a church where you will find peace.
Why do we need unity? There needs to be some
form of unity in any given
organization. “A house divided in itself cannot
stand,” Jesus once said. Reversely put: There is strength in numbers. People
who unite for a common purpose can move mountains.
Before he ascended, Jesus prayed a last prayer
for his followers and that prayer was for unity. "Let them be one as you and I
are one, Father." Why? So that the world will see that the Father sent the
Son. In other words, unity is at the very core of the church's mission.
OS Hillman3, referring to this
passage in John 17 asks the following question:
What is the greatest power that allows the
unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn't prayer, though this is
important. It isn't good deeds, though deeds indicate a fruitful relationship
with God. It isn't good behavior, though Christ commands us to be obedient as
sons. The greatest power God's children have over darkness is unity. …
Of course Rev. Hillman takes his cue straight
from John 17:22: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know
that you sent me…”
In the last days we are seeing God's Spirit
convict His children of the lack of unity among His Church. We are seeing God
move between blacks and whites, ethnic groups, denominations, and para-church
groups. There is much work to be done. The walls of division and competition
among His Body are a stench in God's nostrils.
Here is one of the
problems: People often think that differences divide—even in the church of
Christ! But think about this: how boring would life be if everybody thought the
same, had the same ideas, and the same outlook on life and the exact same
Our God is a God of
multiplicity; look around! Nature is full of colors, variations and creativity.
Not one leaf is like another, not one snowflake is like another, not one finger
print is like another. Every rock, plant, animal and person is unique and
different from all the others. Our God created for us a beautiful, many-faceted
and colorful world. And that’s what makes life so interesting and beautiful!
We have got to learn to
appreciate variety, we need to learn how to see and use the benefit that lies in
our diversity and the strength that lies in our differences. Yes, you heard that
right, there is a tremendous, God-given power that comes into play when we use
our differences toward a common goal.
Paul is saying: "here is a well-kept secret:
"there can even be unity in diversity." We can actually turn the very thing
that usually keeps us from being united, our differences, into a uniting
How? Imagine with me a church board meeting:
The issue is to put an air-conditioner into the
Visionary: "I move to have an air conditioner
put into the sanctuary. It’ll boost our attendance during the hot summer
Cautionary: "where is the money going to come
from? We're struggling as it is to pay our bills."
Realist: "All I know is, the sanctuary is too
hot in the summer time, that's why attendance is low."
Historian: "we tried to pass a similar motion in
1970 and it didn't pass."
PR person: "if it is something that's important
to people, they will be willing to give extra for it.
Strategic Planner: "where does this fit into our
long-term goals? We need to plan for this and run a special stewardship
Biblicist: "is there a reference to air
conditioning in the bible?"
Statistician: "The problem for low attendance is
not the heat. We never had an air conditioner back in the 50s and yet the
church was full every Sunday.
Brother with ADHD: "enough talk, if it's needed,
let's put it in and get done with it."
Now, when you’re at this board meeting and you
hear all these voices, you might think that there is no way that the air
conditioner will ever be put in.
So, where is the unity in this diversity of
It is the belief that everyone's voice is making
a very important contribution--indeed it is the belief that all of these
different voices will provide insights to our advantage.
Something happens when we listen to all the
different voices: when we’re finally ready to put that air conditioner in it
will be a perfect thing. It will fit into the long-range plans, the money is
going to be raised for it, it will be custom-made to fit into the traditional
look and somewhere a reference will be found in the bible for it. It may take a
while, but when it's in it will be a very beautiful thing, and most everybody
will feel good about it.
There is a place for everybody in Christ’s
church. Everybody is unique, everybody is equal before God, and everybody has
something to contribute. Our unity lies in the strength of our diversity and our
In closing, allow me to quote St. Paul once
again: “there is
one Lord, one faith, one
baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male
nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Bush calls Obama's win a 'triumph of the American story', CBC News,
2) REV. J. A. CONNELLAN,
Christian Unity in God’s Way, Australian Catholic Truth Society
(1951) No. 1124.
Power of Unity, in “TGIF
Today--God Is First” Volume 1 by Os Hillman, Saturday, October