Liturgy by TLW



Reconciliation within the Community

by the Interim Working Group on Worship
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

This rite addresses the needs of a Christian community in times of disagreement, division or discord. The Gospel speaks poignantly through the ritual action. This rite may be used on a Sunday morning, as a prelude to the celebration of Holy Communion. Because the use of this rite is extraordinary, the proper Prayer of the Day and appointed lessons are replaced as indicated.


This rite was approved by the Interim Working Group on Worship for provisional use in the congregations and communities of the ELCIC. The Working Group values the thoughts and observations of those who use these rites. Comments may be directed to Pastor Andre Lavergne (, Staff Person for Worship at the national offices of the ELCIC in Winnipeg, or at Trinity Lutheran Church, New Hamburg, Ontario.


This rite is copyright (c) 1996 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Congregational use of this rite is permitted with acknowledgment thus:


"Retrieved from Lift Up Your Hearts <>. Copyright 1996 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Used with permission."




The font serves as the point of focus for this rite. It is in Baptism that we are first reconciled to God,

and through Baptism that we hear the call to be reconciled to one another.

The community gathers in the nave. The opening hymn is sung.


Hymn  "In All Our Grief" or  "Once He Came in Blessing," or another suitable hymn is sung.


The presiding minister greets the congregation and offers the Prayer of the Day.


P. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

C. And also with you.


P. Let us pray.   Most gracious God, we pray for your holy catholic church: fill it with all truth and in all truth, with all peace; where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where anything is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen and confirm it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, heal it and unite it in your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

C. Amen


The congregation is seated


Homily with Exhortation

The presiding minister offers a homily in which Isaiah 55:6-13 and John 13:1-10 are read.

The presiding minister addresses the realities of hurt or discord within the community.


The homily is concluded with the following exhortation:

P. We come together to acknowledge that we are all sinners: this is our common truth. We come together to confess and claim responsibility for those things that divide us. We come together to ask forgiveness from God and from one another, confident in the revelation of God's grace in Jesus Christ and in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in this community.




The Prayers are offered, concluding in a prayer of confession.


Prayers and Confession

P. Dear friends, let us pray for ourselves, for the church, and for the needs of all God's people.


A. For the church, that through its many voices, Christ's call to repentance will

always be heard. (silence) Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For the nations, that they will lift their voices to echo creation's voice, yearning for deliverance. (silence) Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For the leaders and members of this assembly, that we will listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through one another. (silence) Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For our community strained by conflict, that, trusting in God's guiding and sustaining love, we will seek reconciliation. (silence) Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


P. God of all mercy, loosen the bonds that entrap us. Release us from every power that seeks to divide us, and hear the soul's cry for forgiveness. In Jesus' name we pray.

C. Amen.


P. Good and gracious God,

C. we have no power to love or to forgive unless you yourself place that power within our hearts. We have no power to respect one another through conflict or to understand and rejoice in the differences that are ours unless your Spirit calls us to a deep and abiding love for one another. Forgive us when we deny our need of you. Forgive us when we hurt one another. And open us to pray with our lives Jesus' prayer: that we might be one in you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Pastoral Conversation and Individual Confession

Following the Prayers and Confession, the community is invited to meditate on Psalm 51. During this time, people may come forward, one at a time, for pastoral conversation and individual confession. In the course of this ministry, the presiding minister may offer these words of assurance together with the laying on of hands.

The presiding minister places both hands on the head of the penitent and says:


P. In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for his sake, God forgives you all your sins.

R. Amen.

The minister may anoint the brow and hands of the penitent with oil, offering these or similar words.


P. In Holy Baptism, you were adopted as God's own and marked (+ brow) with the cross of Christ forever. Receive this oil of gladness (+ hands), assured of God's love for you and mindful of your obligation to love others as you have been loved.

R. Amen.


When as many individuals have come forward as wish to do so, the presiding minister invites the community to stand, and offers the following Assurance of Pardon.


Assurance of Pardon

P. If you are in Christ, you are a new creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new! All this is from God to whom we are reconciled through Christ and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. For our sake, God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Christ we might become the righteousness of God.

C. Thanks be to God. Amen



P. The peace of the Lord be with you always.

C. And also with you.

The peace of Christ is shared in the congregation.

The service continues with the Offering and the celebration of Holy Communion.