Celebration - 9 August 2011

en - Ecumenical Prayer

This prayer service is based on three converging ideas. The service links to the World Day of Peace service in Assisi through the silence. The service explores what is silence and sin. The service’s setting is within the understanding of the “directions.” The readings bring “orientation” and set a new identity as “ambassadors of peace and reconciliation” who break the silence in the third element of the bringing the tau, the symbol of the completion of God’s will.

INTRODUCTION
Ecumenical Prayer
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt 18:20)
“And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “(Jn 14:13)
Christians who desire peace should need no greater encouragement than these two Scripture texts to come together in Christ’s name, in Christ’s presence, putting aside for a time the few things that divide them and uniting in their common desire. The following prayer (composed by Atonement Father Brian Terry) can be used in an ecumenical gathering to express that desire, that deep yearning, that urgent insistence on peace in our day.

IN THE SPIRIT OF TAU...
(Bell tolls very slowly as the seven leaders enter. The choice of seven reflects the image of the eschatological banquet when all peoples are called to be at one table in the heavenly Jerusalem. For reference, see the Catacombs of S. Callixtus and the early Christian Community frescoes. Seven was understood as the perfect number, completion.)
GATHERING IN SILENCE
Leader 1: We gather here in silence, as those who gather in Assisi pray in silence.
Our silence here ... echoes the leaders of our world who are silent and do not call and work for peace. It echoes our communities that are silent and too worried about their own well being to get involved. It echoes our hearts that are silent and have forgotten the gifts our God has bestowed upon us.
We have not been created for silence. We must remember that, coming from all directions of our world, we are gift to one another.

THANKSGIVING CALL TO WORSHIP
(Our call to worship reminds us to look upon all of our perspectives and all of our places in the world as gift. This call to worship is based on a Native American Prayer adapted by Fr. Paul Ojibway, SA)
(Incense is placed on coals before each Leader reads his or her part.)
Leader 2: To the East. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of the new day and the dawn of your light. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the East - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we always welcome the challenges of new beginnings and find joy in walking in the growing light of this day. May we think in new ways, find new ways of healing ourselves and each other, and give thanks for the birth of this new day.
Leader 3: To the North. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of the struggles and perseverance on the wintering days. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the North - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we always welcome the challenges of difficult and humbling times. May we find strength and purpose in you and one another, find ways to support and encourage each other when we are lost.
Leader 4: To the South. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of new growth that comes in the season of spring. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the South - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we find renewed strength and nourishment in the unexpected abundance of life. May we receive your gifts with respect, honor and humility. May we find ways to nurture new insights, encourage new leadership, and give thanks for the gifts of each person who follows Christ.
Leader 5: To the West. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of the endings of each day, in the completion of our tasks of life. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the West - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we never be afraid of the endings we must experience at the close of each day and in each season. May we share the wisdom we have learned as we have walked your path. May we find in the darkness the courage to search for the dawn - always watching, waiting and hoping for fullness of heart, mind and spirit.
Leader 6: To the Earth. Creator, we offer this gift to mother earth that nourishes us in all things - for the gifts of creatures that move, growing things that feed us, the elements that make life possible - light, air, fire and water. May we be thankful for giving us just enough to live with honor, respect, dignity and humility. We cannot create what you give us in each season with abundance. May we learn to be healers and just stewards of your gifts. May we let our hearts sing that we find our home in you in each generation.
Leader 7: To the Heavens. Creator, we offer this gift to you so that we may find joy in our souls as we dance among the stars and know your love, care and compassion. We seek that you welcome our prayers, from East to West, North to South, from the depths to the heights for your creation. In the center point of life may we find again the strength to be at one with one another and with the gift of your creation. May we all walk a common path home to you - in each day, in each season and in every generation.
All present read together:
Creator, from East to West, give us peace. Creator, from North to South, give us peace. Creator, from the heights to the depths, give us peace. Creator, from birth to death, give us peace. Creator, from division to reconciliation, give us peace. Creator, from doubt to hope, give us peace. Creator, from alienation to unity, give us peace. Creator, from the sacrifice of your Son and the grace of your Spirit, give us peace - now and always, forever and ever. Amen.

WORD OF GOD
Leader 1: Let the silence be broken with the Word of God ringing out in every direction so all people will hear the Good News and walk in the peace and goodness of God.
“Thus says the Lord:
With heaven my throne and earth my footstool,
what house could you build me, what place could you make for my rest?
All of this was made by my hand and all this is mine
– it is the Lord who speaks.
But my eyes are drawn to the person of humbled and contrite spirit,
who trembles at my word.”
Isaiah 66:1-2

THE GOSPELS SPEAK (All Sing an Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation. During the Alleluia, the readers of North, South, East and West come forward to proclaim the Word from all directions of the compass).
Leader 2: Matthew 12:15-21
Leader 3: Mark 9:14-29
Leader 4: Luke 6:37-42
Leader 5: John 7:37-39
REFLECTION
(A person is selected to give a brief reflection.)
RITE OF FORGIVENESS
Leader 6: My Brothers and Sisters, we pray not only for peace in our world, but that we may be instruments of the peace the world needs. We need forgiveness, however, for the times we have not followed the will of God.
Let us first remember that we must ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven. Let us call to mind the goodness of God our Father and acknowledge our sins, so that we may receive God’s merciful forgiveness. Let us now remember when we have chosen silence over listening to the Word of God, or silence over the cries of injustice of the children of God. (Adapted from the Rite of Penance: Rite of Reconciliation)
Leader 6: Let us pray with confidence to Christ our Atonement, He is the Good Shepherd who seeks us out when we are lost in sin, and carries us back with joy.
(After each intention, all respond, Lord have mercy)
• By your death you made us one again with the Father and brought us salvation: Lord, have mercy.
• You died and rose and sit at the right hand of the Father where you intercede for us: Lord, have mercy.
• You warned us if we sin against each other we sin against you; heal us from arrogance so that we do not hurt one another: Lord, have mercy.
• Though you were rich you became poor for our sake; let us live more simply so that we might become rich in You: Lord, have mercy.
• You came into the world to save sinners; save us this day and let us bear your Good News to all: Lord, have mercy.
• You gave yourself up to bring redemption to all; let us give of ourselves so we might become your ambassadors of reconciliation, healing and service: Lord, have mercy.
• Jesus, you are the way to the Father; forgive us those times we brought scandal to your children instead of the way of peace: Lord, have mercy.
• You destroyed death and gave light to life; fill our hearts to overflowing with the Holy Spirit: Lord, have mercy.
• You died that those who believe in you might not perish but have eternal life; let us die to our indifference, selfishness, bitterness and cruelty: Lord, have mercy.
• You have power on earth to forgive sins; let us feel the graveness of our sins so we may know the greatness of your love: Lord, have mercy.
• You will come to judge the living and the dead; when you come, may you find us in faithful service: Lord, have mercy.

Leader 6 : Let us ask our Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us. Let us live in the Spirit of Unity.
All:
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord that I may carry out Your holy and true command. Amen. (St. Francis’ Prayer for Discernment)

RITE OF MISSION
The “tau” has been present as a symbol for a long time. Its presence can be seen in Mediterranean culture in many places. For both the Phoenician and Hebrew language, the tau is the last letter of the alphabet and became a symbol of completion. In the Hebrew language, the tau is a “t” or cross shaped letter. And, since the “tau” is the first letter of the “Torah,” the law that brings salvation, it became an easy abbreviation to represent law and salvation. For the Greek alphabet, the “tau” is the nineteenth letter with a cruciform shape and also was seen as a sign of life or resurrection; it was often combined with the eighth letter “theta,” with represents death, to speak of the cycle of human life. The prophet Ezekiel had a vision where those who were faithful were to be sealed with the sign of the tau, the sign of the covenant, faith, salvation (see Ez 9:4).
In the early Church, the tau was seen as a way of representing the fulfillment, the completion of the will of God in the sending of his Son, Jesus. As a symbol, the tau became associated with the third century Egyptian hermit, St. Anthony, who is considered to be the father of monasticism.
St. Anthony is often pictured carrying a tau or with a tau on his clothing.
But St. Francis of Assisi is the saint noted for spreading the tau throughout the world. It is believed that Francis was in Rome, perhaps at the Fourth Lateran Council, and heard Pope Innocent III speak on Ezekiel and the meaning of the tau. Francis immediately appropriated the symbol as his own. The themes of conversion, salvation, faithfulness to the Word and will of God seemed to be what Francis saw as important. The tau became the cross of Jesus Christ and became a sign of forgiveness and peace. It is believed that St. Francis based his very habit on the shape of the tau to embrace the cross as life, forgiveness and salvation. Each friar was to put on the habit each day and was to become a walking tau, a walking crucifixion to remind the world of God’s love and forgiveness. It was through the preaching of the Word that Franciscans spread the tau throughout the Christian world as a symbol to daily renew our baptismal call to “put on Christ” and believe in the Good News. And perhaps because of the itinerant preaching of the Word of God, the tau also became a “milestone,” a marker to follow!
As we come together today to pray for peace, the tau calls us to remember the convergence of the meaning of conversion, completion and living in the Spirit of God’s forgiveness and peace. We need to be the ones who are and set milestones, who call out for faithfulness to God’s Covenant.

SENDING IN THE SPIRIT OF TAU
Leader 4: Blessed are the peacemakers, since they shall be called sons and daughters of God (Mt. 5:9). Those are true peacemakers who, in spite of all they suffer in this age, preserve peace in soul and body for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (From the Admonitions of St. Francis, number 15, “On peace”)
Leader 3: Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all. (Ephesians 4:3-6).
Leader 2: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayers. (Acts 2:42—Theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011)
Leader 1: He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation...” (Mark 16:15)
(All seven leaders go and distribute a tau to each person as all sing the sending song)
SENDING SONG

This prayer service is based on three converging ideas. The service links to the World Day of Peace service in Assisi through the silence. The service explores what is silence and sin. The service’s setting is within the understanding of the “directions.” The readings bring “orientation” and set a new identity as “ambassadors of peace and reconciliation” who break the silence in the third element of the bringing the tau, the symbol of the completion of God’s will.

INTRODUCTION
Ecumenical Prayer
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt 18:20)
“And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “(Jn 14:13)
Christians who desire peace should need no greater encouragement than these two Scripture texts to come together in Christ’s name, in Christ’s presence, putting aside for a time the few things that divide them and uniting in their common desire. The following prayer (composed by Atonement Father Brian Terry) can be used in an ecumenical gathering to express that desire, that deep yearning, that urgent insistence on peace in our day.

IN THE SPIRIT OF TAU...
(Bell tolls very slowly as the seven leaders enter. The choice of seven reflects the image of the eschatological banquet when all peoples are called to be at one table in the heavenly Jerusalem. For reference, see the Catacombs of S. Callixtus and the early Christian Community frescoes. Seven was understood as the perfect number, completion.)
GATHERING IN SILENCE
Leader 1: We gather here in silence, as those who gather in Assisi pray in silence.
Our silence here ... echoes the leaders of our world who are silent and do not call and work for peace. It echoes our communities that are silent and too worried about their own well being to get involved. It echoes our hearts that are silent and have forgotten the gifts our God has bestowed upon us.
We have not been created for silence. We must remember that, coming from all directions of our world, we are gift to one another.

THANKSGIVING CALL TO WORSHIP
(Our call to worship reminds us to look upon all of our perspectives and all of our places in the world as gift. This call to worship is based on a Native American Prayer adapted by Fr. Paul Ojibway, SA)
(Incense is placed on coals before each Leader reads his or her part.)
Leader 2: To the East. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of the new day and the dawn of your light. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the East - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we always welcome the challenges of new beginnings and find joy in walking in the growing light of this day. May we think in new ways, find new ways of healing ourselves and each other, and give thanks for the birth of this new day.
Leader 3: To the North. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of the struggles and perseverance on the wintering days. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the North - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we always welcome the challenges of difficult and humbling times. May we find strength and purpose in you and one another, find ways to support and encourage each other when we are lost.
Leader 4: To the South. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of new growth that comes in the season of spring. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the South - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we find renewed strength and nourishment in the unexpected abundance of life. May we receive your gifts with respect, honor and humility. May we find ways to nurture new insights, encourage new leadership, and give thanks for the gifts of each person who follows Christ.
Leader 5: To the West. Creator, we offer this gift in honor of the endings of each day, in the completion of our tasks of life. We give thanks and honor the peoples of the West - their life and spiritual ways that teach us how to live. May we never be afraid of the endings we must experience at the close of each day and in each season. May we share the wisdom we have learned as we have walked your path. May we find in the darkness the courage to search for the dawn - always watching, waiting and hoping for fullness of heart, mind and spirit.
Leader 6: To the Earth. Creator, we offer this gift to mother earth that nourishes us in all things - for the gifts of creatures that move, growing things that feed us, the elements that make life possible - light, air, fire and water. May we be thankful for giving us just enough to live with honor, respect, dignity and humility. We cannot create what you give us in each season with abundance. May we learn to be healers and just stewards of your gifts. May we let our hearts sing that we find our home in you in each generation.
Leader 7: To the Heavens. Creator, we offer this gift to you so that we may find joy in our souls as we dance among the stars and know your love, care and compassion. We seek that you welcome our prayers, from East to West, North to South, from the depths to the heights for your creation. In the center point of life may we find again the strength to be at one with one another and with the gift of your creation. May we all walk a common path home to you - in each day, in each season and in every generation.
All present read together:
Creator, from East to West, give us peace. Creator, from North to South, give us peace. Creator, from the heights to the depths, give us peace. Creator, from birth to death, give us peace. Creator, from division to reconciliation, give us peace. Creator, from doubt to hope, give us peace. Creator, from alienation to unity, give us peace. Creator, from the sacrifice of your Son and the grace of your Spirit, give us peace - now and always, forever and ever. Amen.

WORD OF GOD
Leader 1: Let the silence be broken with the Word of God ringing out in every direction so all people will hear the Good News and walk in the peace and goodness of God.
“Thus says the Lord:
With heaven my throne and earth my footstool,
what house could you build me, what place could you make for my rest?
All of this was made by my hand and all this is mine
– it is the Lord who speaks.
But my eyes are drawn to the person of humbled and contrite spirit,
who trembles at my word.”
Isaiah 66:1-2

THE GOSPELS SPEAK (All Sing an Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation. During the Alleluia, the readers of North, South, East and West come forward to proclaim the Word from all directions of the compass).
Leader 2: Matthew 12:15-21
Leader 3: Mark 9:14-29
Leader 4: Luke 6:37-42
Leader 5: John 7:37-39
REFLECTION
(A person is selected to give a brief reflection.)
RITE OF FORGIVENESS
Leader 6: My Brothers and Sisters, we pray not only for peace in our world, but that we may be instruments of the peace the world needs. We need forgiveness, however, for the times we have not followed the will of God.
Let us first remember that we must ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven. Let us call to mind the goodness of God our Father and acknowledge our sins, so that we may receive God’s merciful forgiveness. Let us now remember when we have chosen silence over listening to the Word of God, or silence over the cries of injustice of the children of God. (Adapted from the Rite of Penance: Rite of Reconciliation)
Leader 6: Let us pray with confidence to Christ our Atonement, He is the Good Shepherd who seeks us out when we are lost in sin, and carries us back with joy.
(After each intention, all respond, Lord have mercy)
• By your death you made us one again with the Father and brought us salvation: Lord, have mercy.
• You died and rose and sit at the right hand of the Father where you intercede for us: Lord, have mercy.
• You warned us if we sin against each other we sin against you; heal us from arrogance so that we do not hurt one another: Lord, have mercy.
• Though you were rich you became poor for our sake; let us live more simply so that we might become rich in You: Lord, have mercy.
• You came into the world to save sinners; save us this day and let us bear your Good News to all: Lord, have mercy.
• You gave yourself up to bring redemption to all; let us give of ourselves so we might become your ambassadors of reconciliation, healing and service: Lord, have mercy.
• Jesus, you are the way to the Father; forgive us those times we brought scandal to your children instead of the way of peace: Lord, have mercy.
• You destroyed death and gave light to life; fill our hearts to overflowing with the Holy Spirit: Lord, have mercy.
• You died that those who believe in you might not perish but have eternal life; let us die to our indifference, selfishness, bitterness and cruelty: Lord, have mercy.
• You have power on earth to forgive sins; let us feel the graveness of our sins so we may know the greatness of your love: Lord, have mercy.
• You will come to judge the living and the dead; when you come, may you find us in faithful service: Lord, have mercy.

Leader 6 : Let us ask our Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us. Let us live in the Spirit of Unity.
All:
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord that I may carry out Your holy and true command. Amen. (St. Francis’ Prayer for Discernment)

RITE OF MISSION
The “tau” has been present as a symbol for a long time. Its presence can be seen in Mediterranean culture in many places. For both the Phoenician and Hebrew language, the tau is the last letter of the alphabet and became a symbol of completion. In the Hebrew language, the tau is a “t” or cross shaped letter. And, since the “tau” is the first letter of the “Torah,” the law that brings salvation, it became an easy abbreviation to represent law and salvation. For the Greek alphabet, the “tau” is the nineteenth letter with a cruciform shape and also was seen as a sign of life or resurrection; it was often combined with the eighth letter “theta,” with represents death, to speak of the cycle of human life. The prophet Ezekiel had a vision where those who were faithful were to be sealed with the sign of the tau, the sign of the covenant, faith, salvation (see Ez 9:4).
In the early Church, the tau was seen as a way of representing the fulfillment, the completion of the will of God in the sending of his Son, Jesus. As a symbol, the tau became associated with the third century Egyptian hermit, St. Anthony, who is considered to be the father of monasticism.
St. Anthony is often pictured carrying a tau or with a tau on his clothing.
 But St. Francis of Assisi is the saint noted for spreading the tau throughout the world. It is believed that Francis was in Rome, perhaps at the Fourth Lateran Council, and heard Pope Innocent III speak on Ezekiel and the meaning of the tau. Francis immediately appropriated the symbol as his own. The themes of conversion, salvation, faithfulness to the Word and will of God seemed to be what Francis saw as important. The tau became the cross of Jesus Christ and became a sign of forgiveness and peace. It is believed that St. Francis based his very habit on the shape of the tau to embrace the cross as life, forgiveness and salvation. Each friar was to put on the habit each day and was to become a walking tau, a walking crucifixion to remind the world of God’s love and forgiveness. It was through the preaching of the Word that Franciscans spread the tau throughout the Christian world as a symbol to daily renew our baptismal call to “put on Christ” and believe in the Good News. And perhaps because of the itinerant preaching of the Word of God, the tau also became a “milestone,” a marker to follow!
As we come together today to pray for peace, the tau calls us to remember the convergence of the meaning of conversion, completion and living in the Spirit of God’s forgiveness and peace. We need to be the ones who are and set milestones, who call out for faithfulness to God’s Covenant.

SENDING IN THE SPIRIT OF TAU
Leader 4: Blessed are the peacemakers, since they shall be called sons and daughters of God (Mt. 5:9). Those are true peacemakers who, in spite of all they suffer in this age, preserve peace in soul and body for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (From the Admonitions of St. Francis, number 15, “On peace”)
Leader 3: Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all. (Ephesians 4:3-6).
Leader 2: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayers. (Acts 2:42—Theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011)
Leader 1: He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation...” (Mark 16:15)
(All seven leaders go and distribute a tau to each person as all sing the sending song)
SENDING SONG