Suggested service order for a time of prayer
This service order includes a song in Malthese language, and every month music from a different church background will be proposed to be listened and/or sing. You should feel free to adapt the music according to your local situation, as well as the arrangement of the space for the prayer.
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path that sinners tread
or sit in the seat of scoffers,
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous,
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’ (Mt 12:46-50)
In this short passage from the Word of God, there are two dimensions. Those who listen to the word of the Father and put it into practice are brothers, sisters and a mother to Jesus (Mt 12:50. Cf. Luke 9:21) . For us Christians, to reach this closeness to Christ it is the heart of our life, to be of the same family. The Word of God is also, for us, Christ himself, the Word of God, one of the Holy Trinity who lived among us. And we know that hearing and doing the Word of God is not just a set of commandments that we must follow, it is life in Christ, communion with him. As the Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
This Gospel verse shows us that communion with Christ is given to us by Christ himself. It is a path in our search for unity. Listening to the Word and putting it into practice makes us brothers and sisters not only of Christ, but also of each other. Can we then continue to ignore each other? So let us take the time to listen together to the Word and to do the works of God, to find the path of Unity to which Christ calls us.
As a counterpart to these words of communion with Christ, there is this terrible attitude of rejection of one’s own kinship. This shows us the demand of Christ that all those who claim to be his kinsfolk should live according to his commandments. There is nothing automatic about our relationship with the Lord: neither blood nor baptism guarantees us fellowship with the Lord. It is the life in Christ, of the blessed person who delights in the Law of the Lord and meditates on God’s law day and night, as the first psalm says, that brings us communion with the Lord. Meditation on the law transforms our hearts: by becoming a brother or sister of Jesus, we become the brother or sister of every human being and love him accordingly.
Father Serge Sollogoub, archpriest of the orthodox church
Questions for sharing
- What time do I give to Christ to build this closeness to him, which makes Christians a family?
- When did I let the word of God transform my heart to become a brother or sister of Jesus and open myself to others?
- To what extent does my relationship with Christ bring me into relationship with my brothers and sisters?
Young people from Poland share their dreams on Christian unity.
A word from the first Christians
The Lord Jesus showed compassion for us. His desire was to call us, not scare us away. Kindness marks his coming; his coming is marked by humility. He said, moreover, “Come to me, all you who are toiling, and I will comfort you.” So therefore, the Lord Jesus comforts, he does not exclude, he does not reject. And it is with good reason that he chose such disciples who, as faithful interpreters of the will of the Lord, would gather the people of God, instead of pushing them away.
Ambrose of Milan (4th century)
Faith lineage – Family Tree
Through this activity, participants can reflect on the people who have had a significant impact on their faith journey. This activity can be done individually or in small groups.
Here are the steps for creating a spiritual family tree:
- Give each participant a sheet of paper or a printed template of a family tree. Younger participants can be encouraged to be creative in their designs.
- Ask participants to reflect on the people who have had a significant impact on their faith journey. These could be family members, friends, mentors, pastors, or other influential figures. Participants can write down the names of these people on their family tree template.
- For each person listed, participants can reflect on how that person has influenced their faith. They can write down a short description or memory about each person’s impact on their faith journey.
- Along with the names of people who have influenced their faith journey, participants can also be given the option to add other elements that have helped them in their spiritual growth. These could include books, experiences, prayers, reflections, or other resources that have been meaningful to them.
- Encourage participants to write a short description or memory about each element they include. For example, if they list a book that has impacted their faith, they can write a brief summary of the book and explain how it has helped them in their spiritual journey.
- Encourage participants to share their family trees with each other and explain the significance of the people and elements listed.
- As a group, reflect on the idea of “family” and what it means to be part of God’s family. Discuss how the people listed on the family tree have contributed to each person’s spiritual growth and development. Also discuss the different elements that were included and how they have helped each person in their spiritual growth. This can be a great opportunity for participants to learn about new resources or experiences that have helped others in their faith journey.
- Finally, ask participants to consider how they can continue to nurture and grow their spiritual family tree. Encourage them to think about how they can be a positive influence on others and continue to pass on their faith to future generations.
This activity can be a meaningful way for participants to reflect on their faith journey and the people who have played an important role in it. It can also encourage them to think about how they can continue to grow in their faith and pass it on to others.