8th assembly/50th anniversary

Worship at the Eighth Assembly
Closing Worship
Monday, 14 December 1998



Gathering

Silence

Drums

Call to worship

Sisters and brothers,
we now gather for the closing worship
of the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches.
    SILENCE
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God:
light of life for all people.

The Word was with God,
and the Word was God:
full of grace and truth

The Word became flesh and lived among us,
giving us the power to become children of God.
Glory be to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Song

Confession

Let us turn to God in repentance.

As we remember the great hope to which we are called,
we know that we have failed you, O God.
Forgive us.

If we have not loved each other enough
to listen with respect:
forgive us.

If we have acted as though we were more important than others,
covering our ambitions with fine religious words:
forgive us.

If we have lost faith
in your love for the church:
forgive us.

If we no longer remember
that you weep for the world:
forgive us.

If we do not hear the cries of those who suffer,
open our ears to hear.

    Cries of the people:
How long, O Lord, how long?
Will you forget us for ever? (Ps. 13:1)

When the weight of this pain makes us turn away,
forgive us, and bring us to your word.

    RESPONSE

Assurance

Hear God's word of assurance:
See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I declare:
before they break from the bud, I tell you of them. (Is. 42:9)
Thanks be to God!
Entry of the word

Epistle reading 2 Corinthians 4:5-15

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness", who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture "I believed, and so I spoke" we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Song

Gospel reading John 1:1-5, 10-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

    RESPONSE

Sermon

Hymn

Prayers of intercession

    RESPONSE

Lord's Prayer

Litany of hope

Let us remember the day of our salvation.
Let us remember the promises of God:

These rivers of tears
    will become a well of living water;
the seeds which fall to the ground and die
    will rise and bear much fruit.

    RESPONSE
The crushed and bowed down
    will be lifted up in the power of God's Spirit,
and the dead trees of parched life
    will spring forth again in healing leaves.
    RESPONSE
Our turmoil and commotion
    will be held fast in the hollow of God's hand,
and our journey into the darkness
    will be led by the flame of God's love.
    RESPONSE

Commissioning and sending forth

It is time to go forth.
Let us rejoice in hope!
We have this treasure in clay pots,
and we are not alone:
God's Spirit is with us.
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses
from Amsterdam, Evanston, New Delhi, Uppsala, Nairobi, Vancouver and Canberra...
and now Harare!
Song

The new officers of the WCC come forward.

You have been chosen by this Assembly to serve as officers
    of the World Council of Churches.
We have this treasure in clay jars,
    so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God
and does not come from us. (2 Cor. 4:7)

In this spirit, I will serve.
Amen.

The new presidents of the WCC come forward.
You have been chosen by this Assembly to serve as presidents
    of the World Council of Churches.
We have this treasure in clay jars,
    so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God
and does not come from us.

In this spirit, I will serve.
Amen.

The members of the new WCC central committee stand.
You have been chosen by this Assembly to serve on the central committee
    of the World Council of Churches.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we will serve.
Amen.

May God give you grace for the task.
We will pray for you, sisters and brothers in Christ.

Let us lift our drooping hands,
strengthen our weak knees,
and make straight paths for our feet,
so that what is lame will not be put out of joint,
but rather be healed. (Heb. 12:12)
Let us lay aside every weight to run the race.

Let us look to Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who for the sake of the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, disregarding its shame. (Heb. 12:2)

As we follow the cross,
you are invited to exchange your small Zimbabwe cross with another person, saying:
    "Look to Jesus."

Let us go forth to the God outside the gates.
Our God is moving before us to the periphery,
running to embrace the world.
Let us follow.
We will follow the Christ!

(The people follow the cross and candle onto the Green)

Song

Turn to God -
the God of the cross and the crib.
Rejoice in hope!
Love lies waiting in the womb,
the womb of the faithful one.
Love lies waiting for a place to be born among us, even us.
Maranatha. Come, prince of peace.
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.
Benediction
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
Hymn  O come, all ye faithful

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