Ecumenical Celebration of the Word of God

"You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself." (cf. Luke 10:27)

L: Leader
A: Assembly
R: Reader

Gathering and Sharing God’s Love

L: In Burkina Faso, a calabash is used to share water with guests who arrive tired from their journey. It expresses welcome, hospitality and fellowship. After the visitor has been refreshed, conversation can begin and the purpose of the visit can be expressed.

As we gather and enter into prayer, we welcome you in the same way as Abraham welcomed the three visitors and provided water for their refreshment. We invite you to be refreshed by sharing the water from this calabash.

Water from the calabash is shared by a member of the host community with representatives of the other churches present. As the calabash is being returned to the front of the sanctuary, worship leaders join in the procession while a hymn is sung or music is played.

Invitation to Pray

L: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A: Amen.

L: We are gathered as brothers and sisters to pray for the visible unity of all Christians. At the heart of our worship is the story of the Good Samaritan where we hear the divine call to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Let us prepare to meet the God of Love in thanksgiving and joy, remembering his command to love.

A: Glory to you, Father, for you reveal yourself in your creation and call all people to live in your presence. Glory to you, Christ Jesus, for you give yourself entirely to each one of us and invite us to do the same. Glory to you, Holy Spirit, for you gather us together in love and unity. Glory to you, God of Love, in whom we are created, redeemed and made one. Amen.


Litany of Praise and Thanksgiving

R: Let us turn our hearts to God in praise: Praise to you Lord for you have poured out your love into our hearts so that we never lose hope. You free our lives from fear because of your love, and heal our wounded and injured hearts. Praise to you for all the women and men who sow seeds of love and hope for their neighbors around the world.

A: Lord, we praise you.

R: Eternal God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus your Son, the Redeemer of all people. Thanks be to you for the grace of conversion and all the seeds of faith, hope and charity among your people and everywhere. Thanks be to you for the faith we received from the apostles, for Jesus’ prayer for unity, and for the gift of the Good News of salvation.

A: Lord, we thank you.

L: God of love, we adore you for the generosity of your love for all people – a love so perfect, it is beyond our understanding; a love in which there is no distinction on grounds of race, gender or social status. We adore you, who out of love sent your Son, Jesus Christ, into the world and continue to fill our lives with your love through the Holy Spirit.

A: Lord, we adore you.

Prayer of Confession

L: We come before you now, O God, to confess our sins:

R: By seeking happiness without God and ignoring the command to love, we have turned away from God and from our neighbor. Our selfishness and our desire to possess and control separate us from God.


R: Merciful God:

A: forgive and heal us.

R: When we accept ideologies that demean the humanity of others, we build walls of division, sow the seeds of hatred and violence and abandon the Lord’s command to love one another.


R: Merciful God:

A: forgive and heal us.

R: We have hardened our hearts and deceived ourselves. In our lack of compassion, we no longer see Jesus in those who are different from ourselves.


R: Merciful God:

A: forgive and heal us.

R: We fail to open our hearts and minds to the infinite and unconditional nature of God’s love for all. By being closed to this love, the world is darkened by selfishness, violence, indifference and absence of meaning.


R: Merciful God:

A: forgive and heal us.

R: God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whom you sent in the fullness of time to redeem all creation, we ask you to have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and transform us by your Holy Spirit.

A: Glory to God, whom we praise with one voice.


A: Holy God! Holy Strong!
Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!

First Reading

Genesis 18:1-8

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 138

R: I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down towards your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithful- ness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.

A: On the day I called, you answered me.

R: On the day I called, you answered me; you increased my strength of soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth.

A: On the day I called, you answered me.

R: They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.

A: On the day I called, you answered me.

R: Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

A: On the day I called, you answered me.

R: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

A: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Gospel Reading

Luke 10:25-37


Sermon / Homily

Followed by a moment of silence or a hymn.

Affirmation of Love

inspired by 1 Cor 13

Read antiphonally, with one half of the congregation reading the first part of each stanza and the other half reading the second.

I I may speak in the languages of people and angels, but if I lack love, I am simply a banging gong, a loud cymbal.

II I may have the gift of prophecy, under- standing of all mystery and all knowledge; I may have the fullest faith, that moves mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing.

I I may distribute all my goods to hungry people, I may even deliver my body to the flames, but if I lack love, I gain nothing.

II Love demands patience. Love serves. It does not walk away. It is not jealous. It does not brag. It does not seek its own interest. It is not irritable. It does not hold a grudge.

I Love does not celebrate injustice, but finds its joy in the truth. It excuses all. It believes all. It hopes for all. It endures all.

II Love has no end. Prophecies? They will finish. Tongues? They will come to an end. Knowledge? It will pass.

A: Faith, hope and love continue. The greatest of these is love.


This moment can also be used as an opportunity to gather the offering.

Prayers of Intercession

L: We have been invited to live the divine call to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. As we renew our commitment to this call, may this love strengthen our unity as Christians.

R: With all our hearts, we desire to dwell in God’s love and to have the grace to love our neighbors as ourselves.

God of boundless love, we pray that all people may come to know your unlimited mercy and believe in your desire to fill us with your infinite love.

A: Fill us with your love! Make us one in you.

R: We join our prayers to that of Jesus, who prayed for the unity of all who follow him.

God of communion, we pray that we may work together for your greater glory and spread the Good News of salvation for all.

A: Fill us with your love! Make us one in you.

R: Our hearts are broken because of the confusion and division in our world.

God, our healer, we who are scattered like sheep without a shepherd, ask you to gather us into one fold. Enliven us by your Spirit and send us again, two by two, to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

A: Fill us with your love! Make us one in you.

R: Our world is scarred by terror and violence. Millions are forced to leave their homes in search of refuge and safety.

God of welcome, grant us the grace to risk embracing the stranger, tending their wounds and standing in solidarity with them. Strengthen our resolve to be kind and merciful and to act towards our sisters and brothers at all times as you do towards us.

A: Fill us with your love! Make us one in you.

R: In our weakness and fear we know that we often pass by on the other side, turning away from those who need our help.

God of power, despite our lack of charity, open our hearts to experience the length, width, height and depth of your love, so that we may love you more and love our neighbors as ourselves.

A: Fill us with your love! Make us one in you.

The Lord's Prayer

L: As children of the one God, let us pray as Jesus taught us:

A: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.


Closing Prayer

A: Lord Jesus, who prayed that all might be one, we pray to you for the unity of all Christians, according to your will, according to your means. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division, to see our sin and to hope beyond all hope. Amen.


The calabash or container of water is brought forward and held up before the congregation, as the leader says:

L: Refreshed by the water of life, let us go forth to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, united in Christ and enlivened by the Holy Spirit.

A: Everything we can do together, let us do! Amen!