Special Session Liturgy
Our Creator God has always called us to be a covenant people, and we embraced that call.
By the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have been grafted into a community of faith where we could grow and practice living as the body of Christ on earth.
This is a body who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, commits to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of the world, and repent of their sin.
A body called to accept the freedom and power God gives them to resist evil, injustice, and oppression. A body called to confess Jesus Christ as Savior, put their whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as their Lord. A body called to remain faithful members of Christ’s holy church and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world.
In our baptism, we have made covenant with God and one another within the family of the United Methodist Church. Lord, we name these vows before you and one another, remembering our promises:
We promised to pray for one another as a family and connection; as your church.
We promised to be present for each other as brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
We promised to share our gifts for your church; spiritual and physical gifts you gave us to offer for the fulfilling of your kingdom on earth. Gifts of teaching, compassion, financial support, leadership, encouragement; gifts for making disciples.
We promised to serve together as the body of Christ and for the body of Christ, assisting one another and caring for the most vulnerable in our communities and world. Responding in natural disasters, hunger, homelessness, isolation, and grief.
We promised to be a living witness so others would come to know Jesus and experience God’s love within us.
At your table we proclaimed and prayed:
Make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
It is a prayer of unity for your glory and honor – not for our own. It is a prayer that is realized by abiding in Jesus Christ.
Holy God, we acknowledge that we have failed to keep the promises we made to you and each other.
We grieve for the many ways we have disappointed you, Lord. We grieve for the ways we have disappointed one another.
Our hearts cry out when we look one another in the eye. We have failed to be an obedient church! We have not done your will. We have broken your law. We have not loved our neighbors and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Oh God…forgive us. Oh God…have mercy on us.
Even while we are a broken people, we give thanks for the many ways God has redeemed us, equipped us, and trusted us to fulfill our promises:
- Responding in times of fire, flood, tornado, and other disasters
- Serving in our communities and across the world
- Teaching and praying together
- Providing environments for God’s grace to work in our lives as a community of faith
- Celebrating the Table of Christ that is open to all people
For our brothers and sisters in Christ who have requested to be released from the promises we made with each other in our membership vows, we release you with peace.
For our brothers and sisters in Christ who have requested to be released from the covenant we share within the United Methodist Church, we release you with love.
For the congregations and pastors who have chosen other paths to fulfill God’s call on your life, we release you with hope for God’s guidance and wisdom to direct your steps.
Friends, hear this good news: Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. That proves God’s love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Glory to God! AMEN!
For all of us…those who remain connected in covenant with the United Methodist church, and those who will live as members of Christ’s Universal Church outside our communion– we pray in faith, that God will bring about transformation and sanctification in all of us. So that the prayer Jesus prayed for his disciples might become real in us:
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. – John 17:17-21
Let us join our voices to pray as Jesus taught his disciples to pray:[ALL]
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory