General Council 2017: Working toward introducing the theme

In 2017 the World Communion of Reformed Churches will hold its general council in Leipzig, Germany, under the the theme: Living God, Renew and Transform Us.

For the past two days, theologians (pictured above) have met with WCRC staff to discuss ways in which to introduce this theme to the Communion. As part of this morning’s worship, participants used the responsive reading on the Lord’s Prayer below, taken from Celebrate Life, the worship book used at the World Alliance of Reformed Church’s council in Accra, Ghana.

We share it here as an example of a way in which Living God, Renew and Transform Us could be introduced in the near future—and also because it still resonates with the underlying goals of the Communion.

Our Father who art in heaven,
Beloved God, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all the peoples of the earth,
bring peace and righteousness to all the peoples.
In your grace, may equity grow.
Turn our hearts to you in healing and transformation.

hallowed be thy name.
Be present to all peoples, that we may open our eyes and recognize you
in our history, in our cultures, in our struggles.
Deliver us from enchantment by the false gods of money, markets and status.
Help us to praise you in our faith and actions that, seeing our loving service in your name, others, too, may bless that name.

They kingdom come;
Where people resist injustice, live in solidarity, and seek a more human social order, help us to recognize the ferment of your kingdom already at work.
Bless those who are poor, those who suffer for the sake of justice,
those who promote and defend human rights.
Bless the children of our countries,
and protect them from terror and oppression.

Thy will be done,
Yes! That your wisdom would be our wisdom!
Deliver us from adjusting to unjust systems,
Move our hearts, and the hearts of women and men everywhere
to act in love, that we may resist the seductions of power and greed
and may live in right relationships with all.

on earth as it is in heaven.
God, present in every movement of creation,
let us be responsible stewards of your garden of life, striving for sustainability.
And as the firmament in all its mystery and glory displays your cosmic will,
so may our lives display the mystery and glory of love, your will for life on earth.

Give us this day our daily bread,
That no one may be threatened by hunger, malnutrition, scarcity,
give bread to those who have none, and hunger for justice to those who have bread.
Teach us what is enough for today, and to share with those who have less than enough, for in this, it is Jesus whom we serve.

and forgive us our debts
Don’t let us lose our lives, as persons and as peoples, because of our debts.
Let not the poorest pay for the benefit of the richest, in unfair demands, punitive interest rates and excessive charges.
But forgive us, and let justice prevail.

as we forgive our debtors.
As we live by your grace and sharing of your very self, deliver us from systems of aggressive and divisive individualism. Break our chains of selfishness, open our hearts to those who need our solidarity, and deliver us from illusion, that we might practice what we preach.

And lead us not into temptation,
Deliver us from being bewitched by power, and keep us faithful to you;
for you are our help, where else can we appeal.
Money will not save us, or the market, or our powerful friends.
Strengthen us to resist the false attraction of easy answers, magic fixes,
abuses of power, and the delusion that there is any way apart from justice
in which God’s justice can be done.

but deliver us from evil.
From every evil that objectifies the earth, all living beings, and our neighbours;
from every evil that degrades creation and destroys societies;
from every evil that encourages us to think that we are God.
So may we learn from you to refrain from judgement, to accord respect to all God’s creation, and so be privileged to hear the witness of those the world treats with indignity.

Because yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen.

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